Winning on the road in the Big 10 has long been a challenge. Penn State has given new meaning to that, however, having gone over 2 years without a win away from the Jordan Center. That all ended tonight, as PSU snapped a 17 game Big 10 road losing streak (19 overall), with a hard fought, albeit ugly, 66-59 win over Northwestern.
The Lions got off to another hot start, scoring the first 12 points of the game, before the Wildcats finally got on the board with a Kale Abrahamson three more than 5 minutes into the game. PSU would actually shoot the ball rather well throughout the opening half, and the game for that matter, but turnovers kept them from pulling away. All told, PSU would turn the ball over 10 times, but that solid shooting (47% from the floor, 5/10 from three) along with 10 Northwestern turnovers had the visitors up 34-30 at halftime.
The second 20 started much like the first, with PSU scoring the first 7 points of the half, opening up an 11 point lead. That lead would actually grow to 12 shortly after a Bill Carmody timeout, but the Wildcats would take advantage of an inconsistent 2-3 zone from Penn State, eventually taking the lead 54-53 with just over 6 minutes left in the game. But the Lions would do just enough on both ends, and eventually the free throw line, to pull away for Pat Chambers’ first win away from home.
D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall would finish with 18 points each, and 10 combined turnovers. Sasa Borovnjak continued his fine form of late, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. For the game, the Lions shot 49%, including 7 of 17 from behind the arc. Northwestern senior Alex Marotullio lead all scorers with 22 points, going 6 of 9 from three, but his team was not able to overcome 15 turnovers, and 34.7% shooting.
Penn State returns to the Jordan Center Sunday afternoon against Wisconsin in the regular season finale. The Lions have the 12th seed in the Big 10 Tournament wrapped up, but the Badgers could potentially be playing for a share of the Big 10 title, pending the outcome of their game against Michigan State.
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