The Penn State Nittany Lions had not played a basketball game in Rec Hall since 1996. Penn State now calls the modern Bryce Jordan Center home, but returned to the historic Rec Hall building for Saturday afternoon’s tilt with the Princeton Tigers. Apparently, since it had been so long, everyone wanted to stay as long as possible. The Nittany Lions were in control for much of the game, but gave away a 20-point second-half lead, as the Tigers ended the game on 30-10 run to force overtime. Princeton took over in the extra period and sent the crowd home disappointed with the 81-79 victory.
Rec Hall made a great atmosphere for college basketball, as the noise from the capacity crowd was amplified by the intimate setting.
Penn State started quick, taking a 35-23 lead into halftime. Guard D.J. Newbill paced the Nittany Lions in the first half, putting up 14 points. He finished the game with 24 total points. Newbill is half of one of the Big Ten’s top backcourts, which also features senior guard Tim Frazier. Frazier poured in 24 and added six assists. The star guard missed a layup at the end that would have sent to game to a second overtime.
Princeton struggled for much of the game, finding it difficult to run its backdoor offense. The Tigers also found tough-sledding from behind the arc, something that they’ve been good at all season. Princeton, one of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation, shot just 10 of 32 from outside, but made the big shots when needed down the stretch.
Down by 20 with just over 14 minutes remaining in the game, the outside shot started falling, and the Tigers stunned the crowd by forcing overtime.
With the loss, the Nittany Lions dropped to 8-4 on the season. Penn State next takes the court back at the Jordan Center on December 22 to take on Mount Saint Mary’s. Tipoff is set for 2:00 pm ET.
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