Penn State Knocks Off St. John’s in a Thriller in Brooklyn

What. A. Game.

Penn State (6-1) picked up its most impressive win so far this season, knocking off St. John’s (4-2) in an absolute thriller in the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn.

The Nittany Lions were lifted by herculean efforts from their two star guards. Tim Frazier tied his season high with 29 points against the Red Storm to go along with 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. The senior guard went 5-of-14 from the field, a paltry 35.7 percent, but shot 17-of-20 from the free throw line. D.J. Newbill went off for 25 points — 17 of which came in the first half — and 8 rebounds.

The two teams traded blows during the entire first half, and neither team led by more than five points for most of the frame. As the half was winding down, Penn State went on a 10-1 run to open up an 11 point lead, but the Johnnies were able to cut into the Nittany Lion lead due to two late threes by sophomore guard Max Hooper.

Going into the break, Penn State had a 42-35 against St. John’s, a team that some believed could potentially win the Big East this year.

The two teams continued to go back and fourth at the start of the second half, but a 9-0 Penn State run midway through the half propelled the Lions to a 62-47 lead.

However, Penn State couldn’t put St. John’s away, as the Red Storm continued to fight and claw their way back into the game. Late in the half, St. John’s went on an 18-3 run to bring themselves right back into the game, and the Johnnies took a 74-72 lead with 10 seconds left in the game.

On the next Penn State possession, Frazier drew a foul while taking a three pointer and buried all three from the charity stripe, giving Penn State a 75-74 lead. St. John’s star guard D’Angelo Harrison attacked the rim and drew a foul on its next possession — which fouled out Ross Travis, who left with 10 points and 9 rebounds on the night — and knocked down one of two free throws to tie the game. Frazier missed a near-half court heave as time ran out to force overtime.

St. John’s drew first blood in the extra frame, scoring the first two points on two free throws by sophomore big man Chris Obekpa. After that, Penn State went on a 14-5 run to close out the frame behind 10 huge points from Frazier, all off of free throws. Frazier scored the game’s last eight points to give the Nittany Lions an 89-82 victory, its fifth straight win on the season.

Penn State takes the court on Saturday afternoon against defending SEC Player of the Year Marshall Henderson and Mississippi. The game is scheduled to tip off at the conclusion of the St. John’s/Georgia Tech consolation game at approximately 4:30 p.m.

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