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Penn State defeats Duquesne 84-74

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D.J. Newbill had 23 points and 12 rebounds and Nick Colella added a career-high 15 points off the bench as Penn State held off hard-charging Duquesne to post an 84-74 win at Bryce Jordan Center.

The Nittany Lions posted their highest point total of the season to close out the non-conference campaign be equaling their non-conference win total from last year (8-5) despite the loss of leading scorer Tim Frazier five minutes into the fourth game of the season.

“I think Pat’s doing a fantastic, fantastic job, maybe one of the best jobs in the country,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said after falling to a Penn State team that eclipsed 70 points in four straight games for the first time since 2008. “I played against his team when they had Frazier, and for them to be doing what they’re doing without him, that’s a major, major credit to Pat and those kids.”

The Dukes, who trailed by 22 with under 10 minutes left, cut it to five in the last minute before Penn State hit 5-of-8 free throws in the last 39 seconds to pull away.

Sean Johnson scored all of his team-high 19 points in the second half for DU. Quevyn Winters had 14 and Derrick Colter added 13 for the Dukes who dropped to 1-5 on the road.

Duquesne, which trailed 39-28 at the half, cut it to eight on a pair of Jerry Jones free throws with 16:38 left, before managing just one field goal - a Johnson three-point play - and four free throws over the next 7:13 as PSU built its lead to as many as 22.

The Dukes chipped away behind Johnson and Colter, who scored 10 in the second half, to cut it to seven with just over a minute remaining.

Winters hit a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left to cut the lead to 79-74, before Newbill one of two free throws,

Colter, who went 3-of-7 from the arc, missed a 3-point attempt and Newbill was fouled and missed both, but PSU’s Akosa Maduegbunam grabbed the long rebound and converted a pair of free throws to make it an eight-point game. Newbill added a pair of free throws with six seconds left for the final margin.

Penn State senior Sasa Borovnjak posted his third straight double-figure outing with 14 points and shot 7-of-9 from the floor to continue a torrid shooting pace that has him hitting at a 70 percent clip over his last five games.

“They know what people say about them,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said.

“They hear it, they read it and they see it on Facebook and Twitter. They’re a resilient bunch and they’re going to keep pressing on and keep competing and getting better. Our young guys play with great confidence.”

There were a total of 54 fouls called in the game that lasted nearly two hours and twenty minutes. Four Dukes and two Nittany Lions fouled out as the two teams combined for 65 free throw attempts, 53 of which came in the second half.

“Penn State got up 11 more because of our offense - or lack thereof - than it was our defense,” said Duquesne coach Jim Ferry. “They only shot 40 percent in the first half. You just can’t keep guarding and guarding and guarding in transition. You need the ball to go through the net every once in a while. We didn’t make shots, but you’ve got to keep playing. The kids saw that the game is 40 minutes long. You’ve got to just grind and focus on what you can control and I thought we did a decent job of that.”

Penn State led by 11 with under three minutes left in the first half before the Dukes cut it to five on a Jerry Jones jumper at the 1:24 mark. Nick Colella - a 25 percent career 3-point shooter, who hit a career high five 3-pointers on seven attempts, drilled a three from the right corner to make it 34-26.

Jerry Jones was then called for an offensive foul and head coach Jim Ferry was assessed a technical foul. Newbill hit one free throw before the DU bench was tagged with another technical 10 seconds later. Newbill hit both free throws and

Sasa Borovnjak scored on a driving layup to make it a 13-point game with 25 seconds left in the half. On DU’s next possession, a double technicals were called on Duquesne’s Jeremiah Jones and Borovnjak before Winters hit a pair of free throws to make it 39-28 at the half.

Penn State, which shot 42.4 percent, controlled the glass outrebounding the Dukes 50-28. PSU outscored DU 23-7 in second chance points.

Duquesne, which shot 37.3 percent, went 21-of-29 from the foul line. Penn State converted 26-of-36 free throw attempts.

Duquesne will be idle until the Atlantic 10 opener on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at Fordham. The game, scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start, will be televised nationally on the YES Network.

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