Basketball Flames Out In Final Five, Falls To Purdue 84-77 In Overtime

After seemingly having this game in the bag, a corner three pointer from Purdue’s Kendall Stephens forced overtime, where the Nittany Lions scored only four points. Despite 37 points from leading scorer D.J. Newbill, the team’s issues showed down the stretch, and ultimately sent Penn State to its proverbial grave.

Watching the team lose its fifth consecutive Big Ten contest was both slow and excruciatingly painful, and a sad reminder that Pat Chambers’ team, as talented as it can be, still has some work to do if it wants to make some noise later in the year. But hey, free Big Macs right?

How It Happened

This one started out ugly for the Nittany Lions, as four turnovers in the game’s first three minutes allowed Purdue to set the tone early. The Lions struggled in the paint early on, getting out-muscled by the Boilermakers and giving up easy second chance points. Things settled down a bit after the first TV timeout, and shots began to fall with both teams trading jumpers, keeping things all squared until the six minute mark.

Brandon Taylor, who has been struggling lately from the floor, found his stroke after draining back to back threes, injecting life into the offense. After yet another three by Taylor, who scored all nine of his points in the first half, the Lions took a 34-25 lead into halftime.

The nine point lead–and any subsequent hopes of a statement blowout– were immediately erased after the Boilermakers stormed back, taking a 40-39 lead just five minutes into the second half. The Lions regained the lead after a pair of threes from Garner and Banks, which got the packed Bryce Jordan Center energized. Newbill was nothing short of spectacular, hitting a positively balmy 13-of-23 from the field.

Although Newbill played lights out, he was Penn State’s only source of offense in the second half, exposing the team’s supporting cast in the later stages of the game. Missed layups in the paint and the inability to secure offensive rebounds allowed Purdue to cut the lead to four with about three minutes left, and a big three by Kendall Stevens brought the Boilermakers to within one.

Two free throws by Newbill made it 67-64, but with time winding down, Stevens grabbed his own rebound and hit the tying three with 5.7 to go, forcing the game into overtime.

You may want to stop reading at this point, because there is no happy ending. Penn State opened up the extra period going 0-of-4 from the floor, failing to score a point until the halfway mark. Purdue was unstoppable, sinking 11-of-13 free throws as they sent Penn State crashing down to Earth, winning 84-77.

Player of the Game 

After dropping 37 points, grabbing three rebounds, dishing four assists and snatching a steal, D.J. Newbill is your unquestioned game MVP. Today’s game was a prime example of how good Newbill really is, and showed how heavily the Nittany Lions rely on him to put up big numbers. Newbill was the team’s lone constant, keeping things close with heads up plays and big time shots. If Penn State is to recover from its recent slump, somebody other than Newbill will have to step up.

Tweet of the Game

No matter what the final score may read, this actually happened. Hip-hop icon Flava Flav made an appearance to cheer on his cousin Shep Garner, and stopped to take a picture with another Penn State celebrity.

Game Notes

The loss drops Penn State to 12-6 on the season, and 0-5 in the Big Ten, where the Lions rank dead last. With Minnesota’s win over Rutgers earlier today, Penn State is the only team left without a conference win. Purdue improves to 11-7, and halts its recent two game losing skid. The Boilermakers’ 3-2 Big Ten record puts them at No. 6 in the conference standings.

What’s Next?

Things get much, much tougher for Pat Chambers and company, as the Nittany Lions travel to East Lansing on Jan. 21 to take on Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans at 7 p.m.

Photo: Matthew O’Haren/ USA Today Sports

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About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected].

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