Both Penn State’s football and men’s hockey seasons ended in thrilling overtime wins. It looked like the men’s basketball season was headed to a similar conclusion at the Jordan Center, and then Traevon Jackson rewrote the script. Sophomore D.J. Newbill hit a 15 foot jumper with just over 5 seconds remaining to tie the game at 60. After a near steal by Nick Colella, resulting in a jump ball favoring Wisconsin, the Badgers had about 3.5 seconds to drive the length of the floor to avert the extra session. Jackson did just that, hitting a 3 as time expired, shocking Nittany Lion fans and players.
The Badgers got off to a fast start, scoring the first 8 points of the game, and taking a 14-5 lead just over 5 minutes into the game. Penn State would tighten things down on the defensive side, holding the Badgers to just 10 points the rest of the way, while fighting back to take a 25-24 lead into halftime. Newbill and junior Jermaine Marshall each had 10 points for PSU. After the hot start, the Lions held Wisconsin to just 37% from the floor in the half.
The second half saw the lead change multiple times, as Newbill and Marshall again keyed the PSU offense. Marshall would pick up his 4th foul with just under 7 minutes to play, forcing him to the bench, and Newbill to carry the offensive weight. Two Mike Bruesewitz free throws put the Badgers up 60-56 with 33 seconds remaining, but Newbill would quickly drive the length of the floor for an easy layup to cut it to two. Following a timeout, PSU set up a full court press, forcing the Wisconsin in bound pass to be thrown away, giving the ball back to PSU. With Marshall on the bench to avoid picking up his 5th foul on defense, PSU was forced to call their final timeout to get him back into the game, despite replays showing the in bound pass was actually tipped by a Wisconsin player. That would have run the clock, and allowed Marshall to reenter without using the timeout. On the ensuing possession, Newbill’s initial jumper was short, but the rebound found it’s way to Colella, setting up the would be heroics and frantic final seconds. If PSU had not used that timeout, Colella could have potentially used it prior to the jump ball, giving PSU the final shot
Marshall lead all scorers with 23 points, while Newbill added 22, along with 5 assists. After turning the ball over 15 times in Madison earlier this year, PSU committed only 6 today. Wisconsin had 4 players in double figures, lead by Traevon Jackson’s 15.
Penn State will play in the Big 10 Tournament 1st round on Thursday afternoon, facing the 5th seed.