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Michigan upends Penn State despite 31 from Battle

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Michigan battled from nine points down with less than eight minutes left to upset Penn State 65-62 at the Jordan Center Sunday afternoon. Talor Battle scored 31 points but it wasn't enough as Cameron Woodyard was the only other Nittany Lion to reach double-figures.

Despite a 40 minute, 31 point iron man effort from Talor Battle, Penn State suffered a crushing loss to Michigan Sunday afternoon at Bryce Jordan Center in a contest between two Big Ten teams on the fringe of the NCAA Tournament picture. An already-thin Nittany Lion rotation playing without Jeff Brooks let a second-half lead slip away as Darius Morris, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Stu Douglass caught fire, leading the Wolverines to a 65-62 victory.

Penn State (12-10, 5-6) enjoyed a 46-36 lead after Billy Oliver layup off a Tim Frazier pass with 8:15 remaining in the game. But a torrid stretch of shooting pulled the Wolverines even at 53-53, as Douglass hit a pair of 3-pointers and  Hardaway Jr., who had missed his first five shots, exploded for two layups, a foul shout and two 3-pointers. Hardaway Jr.'s second swish from beyond the arc tied the game with 4:41 left to play.

In the game's final minutes, the Big Ten's reigning Co-Players of the Week took center stage. A Morris jumper and layup put Michigan up 57-53, and Nittany Lions coach DeChellis called a time out at the 3:02 mark. Battle then drove toward the hoop and drew a Hardaway Jr. foul on a layup, converting his try from the charity stripe for a hard-fought three-point play. The Wolverines (14-10, 4-7) responded, however, as a wide open Jordan Morgan dunked on a Hardaway Jr. pass and the son of the five-time NBA All-Star added a layup to make it 61-56 with 1:39 left.

Battle and Morris both converted from the line down the stretch, with each making four foul shots. Morris' fourth make gave Michigan a 65-60 lead with 31 seconds remaining. Cammeron Woodyard missed on a 3-point try with 20 seconds left, and Douglass snatched the rebound.

Morris got the ball and was fouled by Battle with eight seconds to go. Morris missed his fifth free throw attempt within a minute, David Jackson got the rebound for PSU and Battle hit a layup with four seconds left. The Wolverines held on, though, as Hardaway Jr. got a pass and dribbled the clock out.

Battle, the Big Ten's leader in minutes per game, never subbed out while matching his point total during PSU's loss to Michigan on January 2. The senior guard hit five of 12 three-pointers and made all eight of his free throws, adding seven rebounds to boot. On a day when fans received a basketball with his likeness on it, Battle passed Joe Crispin to become the Nittany Lions' all-time leading scorer in Big Ten games.

PSU had to play without their second scoring option. Jeff Brooks, who dislocated his right shoulder Tuesday's loss at Illinois, didn't suit up. Woodyard stepped into the lineup in Brooks' place, scoring 10 points and getting seven rebounds while logging 37 minutes. Jackson added nine points and six boards for PSU, and Tim Frazier scored seven and had eight helpers in 35 minutes during the losing effort.

Morris led the way for the Wolverines, scoring 23 points while making nine of his 17 field goals. Douglass was deadly from deep, making four of five 3-pointers as he finished with 14 points. Hardaway Jr. scored all 13 of his points in the second half, going five-of-six from the field after his 0-for-5 start. Morgan was a monster on the boards, getting a game-high 11 rebounds.

BATTLE CLOSING IN
With 10 points at Michigan State this upcoming Thursday, Battle will pass Joe Crispin (1,986) for second place on PSU's all-time scoring list. Two-sport star Jesse Arnelle, who led PSU to the 1954 NCAA Final Four, ranks first all-time with 2,138 points. With seven contests remaining, Battle would need to average slightly more than 23 points per game to move into first place by the end of the regular season.

TEAM STATS
FG%: PSU 40.4, MICH 49.0
FT%: PSU 82.4, MICH 66.7
3-PT: PSU 35.7, MICH 47.4
RBS: PSU 28, MICH 27

LEADERS
Scoring: PSU- Battle 31; MICH Morris 23
Rebounds: PSU- Battle, Woodyard 7; MICH Morgan 11
Assists: PSU- Frazier 8; MICH Douglass, Morris 3
Blocks: PSU- Frazier 1; MICH Morgan, Vogrich 1
Steals: PSU- Jackson, Jones, Oliver 1; MICH Hardaway Jr., Novak 1

NEXT UP
The Nittany Lions look to snap a two-game skid and begin a last-gasp NCAA Tournament push against struggling Michigan State Thursday at 7 p.m. PSU bested then- No. 18 MSU at home on January 8 by a score of 66-62, with Jeff Brooks and Andrew Jones stepping up during a rare off game by Talor Battle. Michigan plays host to Northwestern Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

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