UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Despite holding a slim lead heading into halftime, a second half turnaround by Purdue (12-11, 5-5 Big Ten) sent the Penn State men’s basketball team (8-14, 0-10 Big Ten) to a 58-49 loss Tuesday (Feb. 5) evening at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State held Purdue to 58 points, the lowest scored by a Penn State opponent in conference play this season, and did not allow an opponent a three for the first time since 2006, but couldn’t overcome a poor shooting night and an 18-9 Boilermaker scoring advantage at the foul line.
Sophomore D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.) led the Nittany Lions with 17 points and added a career high tying seven assists in 40 minutes of action. Sophomore Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) logged eight points and eight rebounds for one of his best all-around games in Big Ten play. Travis was Penn State’s leading rebounder while sophomore Jon Graham (Baltimore, Md.) pulled down six and junior Jermaine Marshall (Etters, Pa.) and freshman Brandon Taylor (Tabernacle, N.J.) posted five boards apiece. Marshall, the Lions second leading scorer at 15.0 ppg, struggled from the floor going 2-of-14 on the night for seven points breaking a string of five straight double-figure scoring games for the 6-4 guard who has 17 on the year.
Penn State shot 30 percent (19-of-62) from the floor and 2-of-20 from three while making 69 percent (9-of-13) of its free throw attempts. Purdue shot 41 percent (20-of-49), but was 18-of-29 at the foul line. Freshman Ronnie Johson led the Boilers with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting while fellow freshman A.J. Hammons logged 15 points and 12 boards while going 10-of-11 at the foul line.
"Look, I’m going to tell you where we lost the game; the last four minutes of the first half and first four minutes of the second half. That’s it," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We played great for 32 minutes and did a lot of great things. We had a couple great looks, but they just didn’t fall. All we can do is keep a great attitude now because that’s all we can control."
An early 8-0 Lion run and a scoring drought of 5:40 for Purdue gave Penn State a 12-8 lead.
With a two-point lead, 12-10, at the 9:11 mark of the first half, Penn State got buckets from four different players, including a three from Taylor, to build a 9-2 run push the Nittany Lions lead to nine, 21-12 with 5:46 remaining in the half. A jumper by Johnson sparked a six-point run moving the Boilermakers within three, 21-18.
A jumper from senior Sasa Borovnjak (Belgrade, Serbia) cut off the run, but Purdue’s Hammons went 2-for-2 at the foul line to keep Purdue within striking distance. Graham scored two for Penn State to give the Lions a five-point lead, 25-20, but two Purdue layups in the final 1:24 of the half had the Boilermakers trailing by one, 25-24, after closing the half on a 12-4 run.
Purdue continued its moment in the second half outscoring Penn State 7-1 in the opening minutes. A Hammons layup tied the game at 26-26 and Purdue took a 31-26 lead by the 16:26 mark. Penn State kept fighting and baskets from Newbill, Marshall and Travis knotted the score at 31-31, after a 5-0 Lion run.
Johnson scored to move Purdue back into the lead, but Newbill tied it up one final time, 33-33, with a fastbreak layup. Terone Johnson answered with a jumper to put Purdue into the lead and a 16-4 Boilers run kept them in the lead for the remainder of the game. Back-to-back baskets and a free throw had Purdue with a 12-point advantage with 7:57 on the clock.
Penn State narrowed the gap to six, 49-43, with a six straight points by Newbill. The Purdue lead increased to nine, 52-43, after three foul shots, but a layup by Travis and two free throws from Newbill had Penn State within five, 52-47, when a Nick Colella three that could have slice the lead to two wen in and out with 2:47 to play. The Nittany Lions were unable to continue their momentum as a Terone Johnson jumper and four Purdue free throws gave the Boilermakers another 11-point lead, 58-47. Newbill closed out the game with a layup before time ran out to make it 58-49.
The Nittany Lions hit the road on Saturday, Feb. 9 when they visit Nebraska. The game will air live on ESPNU at 9 p.m. Penn State returns to the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday, Feb. 14 to host Iowa at 9 p.m.
For all the latest information, notes, pictures and related links on Penn State basketball follow Associate Athletic Communications Director Brian Siegrist (@PSUSTRETCH) and the official Penn State men’s basketball handle (@PennStateMBB) on Twitter and check GoPSUsports.com. The Nittany Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstatebasketball.