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Penn State routs Northwestern 59-32

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Penn State rolled over Northwestern 59-32 to move out of last place in the Big 10 and get back to .500 overall with one game left in the regular season.

Before Penn State completed its season-sweep of Ohio State last week, Nittany Lions coach Pat Chambers insisted that his team was on an uphill climb.

“We’re close,” he said.

Since, Penn State beat No. 22 Ohio State 65-63, lost a nail-biter to No. 14 Wisconsin 71-66 and Thursday, Chambers’ Lions demolished Northwestern 59-32 before at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.

DJ Newbill had a big night for the Lions with 12 points, going 5-of-8 from the floor, while senior point guard Tim Frazier had 11 points and seven assists. Frazier was recently named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award.

Forward Brandon Taylor pitched in with 11 points of his own, and Ross Travis added 10 rebounds.

Penn State shot 50 percent from the floor, which was an improvement from last week’s game against Wisconsin, when the Lions made just 1-of-13 3-point attempts.

Before the game, Chambers questioned his team’s shot selection against the Badgers.

“We definitely took some ill-advised shots,” Chambers said. “I give them freedom on the offensive end, but they also need to be a little smarter.”

Chambers’ 2-3 zone baffled Northwestern’s offense for the majority of the night, as the Wildcats shot a mere 23 percent from the floor, making just 3-of-22 from 3-point land.

Northwestern set season-lows in point totals and 3-point percentage on the night, and senior guard Drew Crawford, who leads the team in points per game (15.5), was held to a mere six points on a 2-of-9 shooting night.

The Lions' five road wins to date are the most since 2008-09 when they won six, and they have won three of their last five away games

They have also been involved in six one-possession games in Big Ten play, the most of any conference team, a statistic that should be factored in their hopes for an NIT appearance.

The convincing win keeps Penn State’s NIT hopes alive. Chambers and his squad play Sunday at Minnesota (18-12, 7-10 Big Ten).

The Lions must win the game, a 5:15 tipoff, to increase their chances to play in the NIT.

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