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Penn State upends No. 22 Ohio State

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Lions sweep season series against No. 22 Buckeyes

Penn State is in sole possession of last place no more.

The Nittany Lions (14-14, 5-10 Big Ten) completed a nearly miraculous season-sweep against No. 22 Ohio State (22-7, 9-7 Big Ten) Thursday night with a 65-63 win at the Bryce Jordan Center, avoiding their third-straight loss.  

Penn State guard DJ Newbill had a game-high 23 points for Penn State, and Ross Travis chipped in with eight rebounds and four points. Newbill scored 25 points in Penn State’s overtime win in Columbus on Jan. 29, which included the game-tying and game-winning shots.

Newbill stressed before the game that Penn State must not let offense affect defense in order to pull off the upset.

Penn State coach Pat Chambers expounded.

“[We’ve] hit that three-to-four minute period of turnover, missed shot, turnover, missed shot, bam, down ten,” Chambers said. “We’re getting shots, they’re just not falling.”

The Lions adhered to Newbill’s suggested mode of attack in Thursday’s back-and-forth contest, but they made shots and limited turnovers while denying Ohio State easy buckets in the closing minutes.

Penn State took a lead it would not give back with 6:38 to go. Freshman guard and Shaler High School-graduate Geno Thorpe made a free throw and, on the ensuing possession, converted an Ohio State turnover into a dunk, putting the Nittany Lions up 50-49.

Newbill scored seven points in the final nine minutes, while teammate Tim Frazier, who was the lone scholarship-player recognized during senior night festivities Thursday, scored five of the Lions’ final eight points.

In addition to Senior Night, Penn State also declared it “Tim Frazier Bobblehead Night” to honor Penn State’s all-time assists leader who scored 16 points on the night.

But with six seconds left, Frazier was sent to the foul line to shoot two with Penn State up 64-63. His first attempt rimmed out, but the second caught nylon, putting the Lions up two.

Out of timeouts, Ohio State inbounded the ball to Shannon Scott, who penetrated past halfcourt to the top of the key. Scott dished the ball off to a wide-open Lenzelle Smith for a 3-pointer.

The ball clanged off the iron, and as the buzzer sounded, some of the 8,736 in attendance stormed the court to celebrate.

With the win, Penn State moved to 2-4 against ranked opponents this season, and the Lions will feel some weight off their shoulders in the coming days, as a span of playing three out of four games vs. Top 25-ranked foes has finally come to a close.

Penn State moved to .500 for the first time this late in the season since 2010-2011, when the team finished with a 19-15 record. The Lions also have the most wins under a Patrick Chambers-led team at Penn State.

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