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Purdue stuns Penn State with last second comeback

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Penn State was seconds away from their first Big 10 win of the season, but Purdue hit a 3-pointer, stole an inbounds pass and sank a free throw—all in the final 7 seconds—to beat the Nittany Lions 65-64.

Heading into Penn State’s 65-64 loss to Purdue on Saturday night, third-year Penn State coach Pat Chambers insisted that his team has been inching towards success, saying the Nittany Lions never stop improving.

“We’re close,” said Chambers. "We're about to see some positive results. I really believe it."

Penn State was, indeed, close in front of 14,124 at Mackey Arena: just 16 seconds away from collecting its first Big Ten victory of the season, but things went south.

After two free throws from DJ Newbill extended Penn State’s lead to 64-61, the Boilermakers showed visible refusal: they hit a 3-pointer, created a turnover, sent a player to the free throw line on a Penn State foul and made a free throw, finding an ultimate escape route.

Chambers and his squad were able to provide some positive signs for Nittany Nation, though.

This season, the Nittany Lions have played some brilliant first halves basketball, only to collapse often in the final 20 minutes of games.

They defeated that notion Saturday night, putting together 40 minutes of competitive play. Penn State trailed by just two points, 35-33, at the half. The Tim Frazier-DJ Newbill combo added 36 of Penn State’s points –Frazier had 19 to Newbill’s 17 – while sophomore Donovan Jack chipped in with 8 points, 5 blocks and 3 steals.

Jack has been a pleasant surprise for Penn State this season, and will assume a larger role as the season continues. After averaging just 1.7 points in 6.6 minutes per game last season, the Reading, Pa., native’s production has increased this season, as he’s averaged 7.5 ppg, 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 20.2 minutes per game.

Basil Smotherman had a double-double for Purdue, scoring 12 points and pulling in 10 rebounds. His teammate, AJ Hammons, who was fourth in conference field goal percentage before the game (.581), pieced together a tremendous second half effort of 8 points, 2 blocks and 4 rebounds to help secure the win.

Penn State now hasn’t won a game at Mackey Arena in eight years. The Lions will have a chance for redemption on Feb. 2 when the teams are scheduled to clash again at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa.

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