It has seldom been pretty, and there are concerns with many areas of their game, but the Nittany Lions have won 4 straight games, and sit at 8-4 with Big 10 play looming next week, after an 84-74 win today over
Duqane Duquense in the Jordan Center. After Tim Frazier was lost for the season in November, there is plenty to be pleased with for PSU basketball fans.
The Lions got off to a fast start in the first half, and always felt in control, even when falling behind 15-14. PSU responded with an 11-0 run, keyed by three consecutive 3-pointers (1 for D.J. Newbill, 2 for Nick Colella) to open up a 25-15 lead. Those three pointers were part of a run where 5 straight Penn State field goals came from beyond the arc. Brandon Taylor had the other 2 for the Lions. PSU would lead 39-28 at the break, with Newbill leading Penn State with 11 points. Colella had 9, all on three pointers, of course, and Sasa Borovnjak continued his strong play with 8. PSU dominated the glass with 20 rebounds to just 10 for the Dukes.
PSU were flying out of the half, pulling away to lead by as many as 22, at 66-44 with 10 minutes to play, but trouble soon found the Lions. Much like they did with Delaware State a couple weeks ago, the Lions were unable to hold the big lead, and allowed the Dukes to slowly chip away, aided in part by officiating that let very little go down the stretch, and ultimately cost the Lions Colella and Jermaine Marshall to foul outs.
Duqane Duquense pulled to within 5 on a Quevyn Winters 3-pointer with just under a minute left, but would get no closer.
Newbill would lead Penn State with 23 points, and also grabbed 12 of the Lions 46 rebounds for his first double-double at Penn State. He had 6 as a freshman at Southern Miss before transferring. Borovnjak continued his strong play since entering the starting lineup with 14 points, but did not score in the final 15 minutes of the game. Senior Nick Colella had 15 points on 5 three-pointers, both of which are career high for the former walk-on. Senior guard Sean Johnson lead the Dukes with 19 points before fouling out. The teams combined for 65 free throws, many of which came in the 2nd half.
Penn State heads off to Madison and the Kohl Center for a date with the Badgers on Thursday night at 8:30 on BTN.
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