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Basketball Routs Dartmouth For Record 12th Non-Con Win

It was a chilly Monday afternoon in State College, but the Penn State basketball team was red hot.

The Nittany Lions shot 46.9 percent from the field and drilled seven three-pointers en route to a 69-49 victory over Dartmouth. With the win, Penn State notched its 12th victory of the year (and 10th in a row), a Nittany Lion record for most non-conference wins in a single season as the team reached 12-1.

“I thought it was a great non-conference,” said coach Pat Chambers. “It gave us a variety of styles of play that are going to prepare us for the Big Ten.”

A lazy start found Penn State, who received four AP Top 25 votes earlier Monday, tied at seven with the Big Green at the first media timeout. Ross Travis tallied four of those points. He only had five total points in the previous three games.

But Penn State quickly responded with a 13-0 mid-half run, finished with a Donovon Jack dunk, pushing the lead to 24-9 with 7:24 to play in the half. And on the half’s final possession, D.J. Newbill shook a defender and slammed a last-second dunk over another Dartmouth man, a riveting play that gave Penn State a 41-16 halftime advantage.

Penn State shot 15-for-26 from the field in the first 20 minutes, including a 68 percent clip from inside the three-point line. “Our leadership did a tremendous job preparing us for this game today,” Chambers said. “These games are hard — finishing exams, coming home for Christmas.”

Jordan Dickerson was the only Nittany Lion starter not to score in the first half, but an early post move provided Penn State’s first points in the second 20 minutes. Two Geno Thorpe free throws early in the half put him in double figures for the fifth time this year. He only did that once last season during his freshman campaign.

Thorpe’s 12 points, along with 10 from John Johnson, were part of a 31-11 advantage off the bench for Penn State, including 21-0 in the first half. “It’s a new thing for me knowing that the bench can boost you and lift you,” Chambers said.

Devin Foster, the junior college transfer guard, checked in for several minutes for only the second time this year early in the second half, which was a mere formality from its onset. His output was largely unproductive, but he led a fast-break and drew a foul. Kevin Montminy and Alan Wisniewski also saw playing time, which was met by a large cheer from a modest crowd.

“I think [Foster’s] going to be a guy I can rely on,” Chambers said.

Despite the tremendous margin of victory and dominant performance, the final buzzer sounded amidst boos, as fans who stayed until the end wanted the free Big Macs that come when Penn State scores at least 70 points.

“We don’t show up any teams, any coaches,” said Chambers. “That’s not Penn State basketball.”

The Nittany Lions now have a week to rest before conference play begins. Up first is a New Year’s Eve day matchup at Wisconsin. The Badgers, ranked sixth in the country, are 10-1. “We’re extremely confident,” said Newbill, who again led all scorers with 17 points. “We feel that if we continue to play Penn State basketball and defend and rebound we can play with any team in the country.”

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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