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Penn State picks up first Big Ten over Nebraska

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The Penn State Nittany Lions overcame an eight-point second half deficit to end their six game losing-streak and earn their first conference win of the season, defeating the Nebraska Cornhuskers 58-54 in a hard-fought contest at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park.

“That is Penn State basketball,” said Nittany Lion head coach Pat Chambers while describing one of the many plays where the team had to hit the floor and scramble for the ball. “We work hard, and that’s what I want to see”.

And the Lions did have to work very hard to beat the Cornhuskers (9-9/1-5 Big Ten). After remaining neck-and-neck throughout the first half, Nebraska looked to have gained some momentum at the end of the half when Walter Pitchford nailed a 3-pointer to give the Huskers a seven-point lead going into the half.

Despite constantly edging closer and closer, the Nittany Lions failed to even up the score early in the second half, and fell behind 41-33 with 11:06 remaining in the game. However, a 14-4 run by Penn State gave them their first lead since early in the first half, as a D.J. Newbill jump-shot gave the Lions a 47-45 lead with 4:19 remaining.

Nebraska’s Shavon Shields responded immediately, knocking down a three less than 30 seconds later to give the Huskers a one-point lead with 3:52 to go.
After extending their lead to three with under 2 minutes left, Nebraska surrendered a second-chance bucket by Penn State sophomore forward Donovan Jack to close the gap to 51-50.

Following the score, Penn State senior Tim Frazier recorded one of his two steals on the night off of a Deverell Biggs inbound pass, immediately passing it to Newbill, who completed a dunk while being fouled. He made the free throw, giving the Nittany Lions a 53-51 lead with 1:05 to go, an advantage they would not relinquish en route to a four point victory.

Both teams struggled to make baskets throughout the game, as Penn State and Nebraska shot 35.1 percent and 35.8 percent from the field, respectively. The Huskers actually out-rebounded the Lions by 5, but had 14 turnovers to the Penn State’s 5.

The junior Newbill led the team with 16 points, while Frazier nearly had a triple double, totaling 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Nebraska was paced by sophomore forward Terran Petteway, who tallied 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists in the loss.

For the fifth-year senior point guard Frazier, it was nice to finally come out on top after a couple of close losses.

“We’ve been right there,” said Frazier. “The ball bounced our way.”

The win improves the Lions’ record to 10-10, with a 1-6 record in Big Ten play. The team doesn’t play again until Wednesday, when they head to Columbus to take on the 17th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

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