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[Photo Story] Penn State Basketball Returns To Rec Hall

For the first time in seven years, Penn State basketball made its return to Rec Hall on Wednesday and Thursday. Men’s basketball took down No. 12 Illinois in a season-defining upset, causing a second court storming of the season. Women’s basketball wasn’t as successful lost to No. 2 Ohio State.

Men’s basketball kicked off the festivities on Wednesday night, and despite some empty seats, the Rec Hall student section was plenty full as players warmed up.

In a White Out environment, the Nittany Lions got off to a hot start against the Fighting Illini. Qudus Wahab led his team to an early lead, along with help from D’Marco Dunn, Zach Hicks, and Ace Baldwin Jr.

The Nittany Lions’ lead didn’t survive the first half, and the Illini went into the locker room leading 48-41. The deficit wasn’t insurmountable, but the hope that flooded Rec Hall was slowly draining away.

Illinois’ lead continued for most of the second half, though Penn State kept the game close. When no one else seemed to want to score, Nick Kern Jr. put together the best game of his Penn State career, scoring 18 points in the second half.

Down by seven points with just over 30 seconds left, victory seemed hopeless for the Nittany Lions, but Jameel Brown hit a crucial three-pointer, Puff Johnson took advantage of a steal in the opposition’s half and scored two points, and Hicks got fouled at the three-point arc and had the chance to win the game from the charity stripe.

When Hicks hit all three of his free throws and Illinois couldn’t score on the ensuing possession, mayhem ensued within Rec Hall as fans rushed the court, dancing with Hicks and Kern.

After the men took down Illinois, the women hit the court one night later to face Ohio State.

The Lady Lions crowd was smaller than that of the men’s game, and the student section was moved courtside for Wednesday night’s showing.

The Lady Lions got off to a rough start, letting Ohio State score the first 13 points of the game. While Penn State eventually started to hang with the Buckeyes, plenty of damage had already been done.

The Lady Lions had solid attendance from other varsity sports, including some men’s basketball and football players who showed up during the first half.

Even the Nittany Lion threw on a new fit for the occasion.

The game didn’t go the Lady Lions’ way, as they eventually fell 82-69 to Ohio State for their sixth loss in as many games.

Both teams are facing the conclusion of their seasons and are in need of quick turnarounds to have postseason success. The men have games against Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, and Maryland left on their schedule, and the women are set to face Purdue and Minnesota before the Big Ten Tournament starts on Wednesday, March 6.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and an associate editor at Onward State. He covers Penn State football and enjoys yelling on Twitter about Philadelphia/Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Please send all positive affirmations and/or hate mail toward him on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email ([email protected]).

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