Courtesy of GoPSU Athletics
Funk’s eight threes propel Penn State to 76-59 win over the Aggies
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Penn State men’s basketball team (23-13) shot nearly 60 percent from 3-point range and turned in a strong defensive effort to take down No. 17 Texas A&M (25-10) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night in the Wells Fargo Arena by a final score of 76-59.
The Nittany Lions advance to take on fifth-ranked and No. 2 seed Texas Saturday for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16. Tipoff is slated for approximately 7:45 p.m. ET/6:45 p.m. CT on CBS.
The Nittany Lions earned their first win in the NCAA Tournament since 2001 thanks to a historic shooting performance from senior Andrew Funk. Funk drained eight triples in the game, shattering the Penn State program record in the NCAA tournament, leading the team to a 13-for-22 effort (59.1%) from downtown as a group. Funk finished with 27 points in the game, the most by a Nittany Lion in an NCAA tournament game.
Jalen Pickett finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists in his first NCAA Tournament action. The All-American had zero turnovers and played all 40 minutes. Senior Seth Lundy followed with 10 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Kebba Njie got the Nittany Lions on the board first, but the Aggies were able to go up four before Penn State scored five in a row to take back a 10-9 advantage.
- After falling behind 12-10, Penn State roared back with eight in a row to take an 18-12 lead. The Nittany Lions held the Aggies without a bucket for 5:30 during the stretch.
- Penn State went up by 11 points and extended a 17-3 run through the 5:14mark of the opening frame, yielding a lone three-pointer to the Aggies over the 7:32scoring stretch. Six points by Andrew Funk fueled the run. Penn State led 27-15, with Funk scoring 12 of the Nittany Lions’ 27 all by himself.
- The Nittany Lions expanded their lead to a game-high 18 points with under a minute to play on Funk’s fourth triple of the first half, a slam dunk by Evan Mahaffey and a pair of free throws from Jalen Pickett.
- Penn State entered the halftime break up 38-22, surrendering just one field goal from the Aggies over the final 4:30.
- A dunk from Njie and Funk’s fifth triple of the game kickstarted a 10-6 run out of the half that put the Nittany Lions up by 20 points in the early going.
- Funk’s incredible night continued as he knocked down his seventh three of the ball game to put the Nittany Lions up 59-36 with 11:57 remaining in the second half. Penn State held the Aggies without a field goal for a three-minute stretch before Texas A&M found an answer.
- Every basket the Aggies scored, the Nittany Lions responded, as the team went up by 24 points with 8:46 left to play.
- Penn State cruised through the final minutes of play, earning a dominant 76-59 victory.
- The Nittany Lions earned their first NCAA Tournament victory since 2001, an 82-74 win over North Carolina (3/18).
- The Nittany Lions improve to 10-11 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 5-5 mark in first round games.
- Penn State is now 2-3 all-time against the SEC in the NCAA Tournament.
- The Nittany Lions earned their first every victory over Texas A&M, who previously held a 4-0 mark against PSU.
- Penn State’s 17-point win is its largest margin of victory in an NCAA Tournament game, besting the previous high of 12 against Toledo in 1954 (62-50).
- After starting the game 4-for-4 from the field, the Nittany Lions held the Aggies to 4-of-21 shooting to finish the half.
- With a 3-pointer from Funk at the 15:10mark in the first half, it marked Penn State’s 366th 3-pointer this season, breaking the Big Ten record, set previously by Purdue in 2018-19 (365). The Nittany Lions finished the game with 13 threes, to bring its school and Big Ten record number up to 377.
- Penn State’s 13 three-pointers marked the 21st time the Nittany Lions have made double-digit threes this season.
- The 13 makes from downtown are the most in school history for an NCAA Tournament game, besting the previous mark of eight in 2011 against Temple.
- Funk paced Penn State with a Penn State NCAA Tournament record 27 points.
- With his eight makes from long distance, Funk broke the Penn State record for most threes in an NCAA tournament game. He bests the previous mark of five, which was held by Talor Battle (2011 vs. Temple) and Pete Lisicky (1996 vs. Arkansas).
- Funk now has 300 career three-point field goals.
- Funk’s 27 points and eight threes for him are Penn State career-bests for him.