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Penn State, Riding a Big Ten Roll, Primed for No. 3 Purdue

Coach Micah Shrewsberry meets his former team for the first time. 'I think we'll have a pretty good scout on them,' he said.

Penn State men's basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry still has the dry-erase board in his office that he used to run the Purdue offense last year. And when the Lions' schedule was released, Shrewsberry took note of Jan. 8.

Penn State hosts No. 3 Purdue on Saturday, marking the first time Shrewsberry will take on his former team as a head coach. Shrewsberry spent the past two seasons at Purdue, where he coordinated the team's offense, and couldn't help but look forward to the game.

"I think we'll have a pretty good scout on them," Shrewsberry said this week.

Penn State enters Saturday on a two-game Big Ten winning streak and should have a good crowd as classes resume Monday. Here's a look at the game.

No. 3 Purdue (12-2) vs. Penn State (7-5)

  • When: Noon Saturday EST
  • Where: Bryce Jordan Center
  • TV: Big Ten Network
  • Streaming: fuboTV
  • Series history: Purdue leads 41-13
  • Last meeting: Purdue 73-52 in 2021

About the Lions: Shrewsberry and the Lions have sprung back from their unexpected three-week break, winning two impressive Big Ten games back-to-back. On Wednesday, the Lions overcame a 10-point second-half deficit to top Northwestern 74-70. Seth Lundy was exceptional, scoring 23 points and making a pair of 3-pointers to lead a charge over the final 2:25. Penn State's inconsistent offense came alive over the last nine minutes, making 9 of 13 from the field and going 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Jalen Pickett (18 points) scored in double figures for the fifth consecutive game.

The win, coupled with Sunday's victory over Indiana, underscored what Shrewsberry learned during the hiatus, when three non-conference games were canceled because of COVID protocols (two of those cancellations were related to Penn State). Shrewsberry said he re-watched all 10 of the team's games, compiling an "accountability sheet" for every point an opponent scored. He called the time off "a blessing and a curse," of which the Lions (2-2 Big Ten) seem to have taken advantage.

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Now comes the reunion. Shrewsberry stays in touch with the Purdue staff and said his program operates similarly to Matt Painter's. "How we play offense and defense are actually pretty different, but the philosophy's there," Shrewsberry said. "I'd be dumb not to take something from coach Painter."

The Lions historically have not fared well against Purdue and even worse against top-three teams. Purdue has won 11 of the last 12 meetings, including both last season. But the Lions did get Painter and Shrewsberry in 2020 (88-76).

Further, the Lions are 1-25 against teams ranked third or higher in the AP Top 25. Their only win was against No. 2 Michigan State in the 2001 Big Ten tournament.

Seth Lundy scored 23 points to lead Penn State to a Big Ten win over Northwestern on Jan. 5. (David Banks/USA Today Sports)

Seth Lundy scored 23 points to lead Penn State to a Big Ten win over Northwestern on Jan. 5. (David Banks/USA Today Sports)

About the Boilermakers: Purdue features a talented trio in Jayden Ivey, Zach Edey and Trevion Williams, all of whom are midseason nominees to the John Wooden Award watch list. Williams (13 points, 8.8 rebounds) is Purdue's lightning rod, while the 7-4 Edey will be particularly difficult for Penn State to defend. Still, Painter questioned his team's toughness after Monday's 74-69 loss to Wisconsin, in which the Badgers' Johnny Davis went for 37 points and 14 rebounds. The Boilermakers actually are behind Penn State in the Big Ten standings at 1-2, having lost to Rutgers in December.

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