Penn State headed into Friday night’s match up with the St. John’s Red Storm at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn riding a 4 game winning streak. Despite the 5-1 record, Pat Chambers figured to learn a lot about his club over the next 3 games. Consider test #1 passed, as the Lions rallied at the end of regulation to force overtime, then pulled away for a big 7 point victory against a solid St. John’s club.
Penn State controlled much of the game, but was never able to put away Steve Lavin’s squad until the very end of the extra session. D.J. Newbill paced the Lions offense in the first half, scoring 17 of his 25 points in the game during the first 20 minutes, leading PSU to a 42-35 halftime lead. The Lions were an even 50% from the field (14-28), as well as from behind the 3-point line (7-14).
PSU expanded that lead to as much as 62-47 about halfway through the second half, but the Storm would slowly rally from that point, ultimately retaking the lead 73-72 with less than a minute left. What followed as a wild ending. Tim Frazier would miss a with 11 seconds left, and the shot clock winding down. PSU would foul, and JaKarr Sampson made 1 of 2 free throws. Needing a basket to at least force OT, Frazier was instead fouled shooting a three, and drained all 3 shots, giving PSU a 75-74 lead. Ross Travis committed a questionable foul with 2 seconds left, but D’Angelo Harrison was only able to make the 2nd free throw, sending the game to OT.
In the extra session, St. John’s scored the first two points, before PSU rolled off 6 unanswered to open up an 81-77 lead. Phil Greene IV countered with a 3 to cut the lead to just 1, but that was as close as the game would get down the stretch, as Tim Frazier was able to hit plenty of clutch free throws to ice the game.
Frazier finished with a game high 29 points, to go along with 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Ross Travis and Brandon Taylor finished with 10 each.
Penn State will face Ole Miss, and Marshall Henderson, in the title game Saturday afternoon at 4:30. That game will air on NBCSN.
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