Donning Alternate Uniforms, Penn State Defeats Bucknell, 88-80
Penn State (6-1) continues to ride the wave of momentum it has been on of late, defeating Bucknell (2-5) in the Sojka Pavilion, 88-80. The Nittany Lions won the game in style, taking the floor donning brand new pink and black alternates, and earning some serious style points along the way.
Now, enough about the team’s fashion sense. The Nittany Lions got hot early, jumping to a 7-0 lead in the game’s opening minutes. Ross Travis and Shep Garner accounted for the team’s first 12 points, as both players got into an early groove. A slam by D.J. Newbill put Penn State ahead 14-5, and despite a quick pair of layups by the Bison, Penn State was able to lead comfortably for a majority of the first half.
It wasn’t until around the three minute mark that things got tight. Bucknell’s J.C. Show drained a big three pointer, followed up with a jumper thanks to a Ross Travis turnover. Newbill helped give the Nittany Lions a bit of a cushion going into halftime thanks to a quick jump shot, answered by a free throw soon after, and making the score 39-33. Both teams played with intensity all night long, but things escalated slightly at the end of the first half, as both teams had to be separated underneath the hoop as the buzzer sounded.
Bucknell opened up the second half with a pair of baskets, cutting the deficit to just two points. Penn State was able to keep its lead, however, thanks to solid rebounding and capitalizing on scoring opportunities, but two crucial turnovers by both Newbill and Travis at around the nine-minute mark opened the door for Bucknell to creep right back into the game. A three ball by Chris Hass made it a two-point ball game, and a pair of free throws by Cory Starkey tied things up at 66 apiece.
Fouls doomed the Bison down the stretch, as the Nittany Lions were able to regain the lead thanks to a bevy of trips to the charity stripe as time ticked away. Two big jumpers by Geno Thorpe and Brandon Taylor seemed to seal the deal for Penn State, and a pair of free throws by Newbill made it official. Despite valiant comeback efforts, Bucknell just couldn’t get it done towards the end.
This was a game circled on calendars around the area, and the game definitely exceeded expectations. Both teams laid it on the line, and the crowd definitely made its presence felt. Newbill put on a show, as usual, leading all scorers with 28 points while adding six rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Brandon Taylor finished two rebounds shy of a double-double, finishing with 12 points, eight rebounds, one assist, two steals, and three blocks. Three Nittany Lions finished in double figures, which is a promising stat for a young team that has flashed some early offensive prowess.
Next up for Penn State will be Virginia Tech at the Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 7:15 p.m.