NCAA Penn St Men's Basketball

Penn State guard Jalen Pickett drives up court in the second half of a first-round college basketball game against Texas A&M in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 16, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.

No. 10 Penn State (23-13) will continue its tour of Texas-based competition in the NCAA Tournament when the Nittany Lions and No. 2 Texas (27-8) square off in the second round at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday (CBS) at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Penn State advanced to the Round of 32 with its 76-59 win against No. 7 Texas A&M on Thursday. The Longhorns cruised in their NCAA Tournament opener, dismantling 15-seed Colgate 81-61. Texas won the Big 12 Tournament with a victory over Kansas, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

“We watched Texas a little bit today right before our game,” Penn State’s Jalen Pickett told reporters after the Nittany Lions’ first-round win. “Marcus Carr is a really good guard, and Texas has been good all year. We’re going to watch film on them and we just know they’re a really good team, so it should be fun come Saturday.”

Penn State thrived in Big Ten play, in part, because of its efficiency on shots from behind the arc. The Nittany Lions buried the Aggies behind 13 3-pointers. Andrew Funk, a Bucknell transfer, was responsible for eight.

The Nittany Lions will contend against a Texas squad that stifled the nation’s most-efficient 3-point shooting team. Colgate entered the national tourney shooting 40.8% from behind the arc. The Raiders only made three of their 15 3-point attempts against the Longhorns.

Including Thursday’s effort, Penn State players are shooting 39.0% from three-point range this year.

“Our focus on sharing the ball,” Funk said on Thursday of the team’s three-point success against the Aggies. “With a guy like Pickett, he commands a lot of attention, and the way we were able to play off of him, what we have been doing all year came to fruition tonight.”

Four Longhorn players tallied double-figure scoring efforts against Colgate. Guard Sir’Jabari Rice led the way with 23 points. Carr, a guard, and forward Dylan Disu finished with 17 points apiece. Guard Tyrese Hunter ended with 10. Rice made seven threes, and Longhorn players shot 31 of 58 (53.4%) from the field.

Texas averages 77.9 points per game and has held opponents to 67.2 points per contest. Penn State enters the weekend averaging 72.4 points per matchup.

“This team is battle tested and plays (in the) the toughest conference in the country,” Texas interim head coach Rodney Terry told reporters after the win against Colgate. “We worked the game all season long and we had the utmost respect for our opponent, but we realize what we are capable of doing for 40 minutes, and we worked the game for 40 minutes. Proud of the way these guys did that.”

Saturday’s matchup is the first between Penn State and Texas in both teams’ histories.

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