Penn State won its second conference game in a row with a 71-70 comeback overtime victory over #24 Ohio State on Tuesday night in Columbus, snapping an 18 game losing streak against the Buckeyes. The decisive moment came with just seconds remaining in overtime.
D.J. Newbill had the ball just behind the three-point line on the right side of the court as Penn State trailed 70-69. Ohio State’s Aaron Craft was playing Newbill tight, but the Penn State guard laid down a shifty crossover that tripped up Craft before dribbling to the elbow, elevating, and knocking down a pretty jumper that put the Penn State ahead for good with 1.9 seconds to go.
Before reading on, I highly recommend watching this video of Newbill’s shot at least five times in a row to fully appreciate the great play and Pat Chambers’ electric celebration in the background:
The game opened up with a whole lot of back and forth in the first half. Every time that one team was able to string a few scores together, the other answered with the same, and for the first 17 minutes of the half, neither team led by more than four points.
It wasn’t until late in the half that a team was able to get some separation after Ohio State’s Lenzelle Smith nailed a three, Brandon Taylor missed a jumper, and Craft made a layup to give Ohio State a 33-28 lead. A Shannon Scott layup extended the Buckeye lead to seven before Taylor hit a three with 43 seconds to go that made it 35-31 at the half.
The second half started with more of the same, as both teams went blow-for-blow early on. At the first media timeout, the Buckeyes held a 42-40 lead. Ohio State was able to extend that to 47-40, and led by as many as 11 points with 7:58 remaining in the contest.
However, the Nittany Lions began slowly chipping away at the Buckeye lead. Three Newbill shots from the charity stripe later and that lead was cut to 59-51. A Tim Frazier jumper off of an Ohio State turnover made it 59-53 and prompted a Buckeyes timeout.
Geno Thorpe fouled Aaron Craft on the ensuing play and he hit one of two free throws before Jordan Dickerson threw down a hard dunk on the other end to make it 60-55. Two free throws by LaQuinton Ross were answered with a pair from Newbill with 3:06 to go. Frazier found Dickerson for an easy layup less than a minute later, and with 1:10 to go Newbill knocked down a three to tie things up. Craft made a layup on the other end to make it 64-62 and a Thorpe foul with 28 seconds to go let the Buckeyes pull ahead to 65-62.
Chambers called a timeout to set up a play that ended with Graham Woodward finding a wide open Newbill on the top left corner of the arc for a game-tying three ball. While Ohio State had its chances, some solid defense completed the comeback and forced the decisive overtime period that ended with a Nittany Lion victory.
Newbill was the MVP of the game for Penn State. He finished the night shooting 9-of-20 from the field with 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists. Taylor scored 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting along with 4 boards and a pair of blocks. While Frazier didn’t have his best game, he nearly finished with a triple-double, registering 8 points, 7 assists, and 10 rebounds.
Penn State was efficient on offense all game long, converting on 28 of 58 field goal attempts for a 48.3 percentage compared to just 21 of 55 for 38.2 percent by Ohio State. Smith led the Buckeyes with 16 points and 7 boards, while the Nittany Lions held Craft to just 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists.
After what had been a disastrous 0-5 start to the conference schedule, Penn State has started to turn it around after posting back-to-back wins. The Nittany Lions will play their next game at home when they take on Purdue at the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.