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November 17, 2012

Lions down Providence, 55-52

BAYAMON, PUERTO RICO; NOV. 16, 2012 - Penn State (2-1) found a way to win posting a 55-52 overtime victory over Providence (2-2) Friday in its second game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

The Lions struggled all night against an active Friars 2-3 zone, but rallied from a 10-point second half deficit behind nine-straight points from senior guard Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) who led Penn State with 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Jermaine Marshall (Etters, Pa.) hit some big threes late andfinished with 13 points and five rebounds.

The Nittany Lions will take Saturday off before returning to the floor on Sunday to face Akron (2-2), which downed UNC Asheville, 82-63, in its second game of the Tip-Off Friday. That game will tip at 1:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday and will be shown on the ESPN3 on-line platform. The Zips fell to Oklahoma State, 69-65, on Thursday in their first game. Penn State holds a 4-1 lead in the series with the Zips with the last meeting coming in 1994.

Providence led for most of the game and pushed its lead to 10, 30-20, with 12:28 to play after five straight points from LaDontae Henton. A Frazier three and a Marshall bucket sparked Penn State, which cut the lead to one, 32-31, after an 8-0 run.

Providence rebuilt its margin to four, 35-31, after a free throw from Kadeem Batts. Batts led the Friars with 17 points and 11 rebounds and hit 13-of-15 at the foul line.

Frazier then took command scoring nine straight points as Penn State took a 40-37 lead with 2:23 to play. Providence answered with three free throws from Batts to tie the game at 40. Marshall hit a baseline three to give Penn State a 43-41 edge with 46 seconds to play, but Batts again drew a foul and hit two at the line to knot the game at 43. Penn State set up a play with 13 seconds remaining, but Marshall's baseline three was off and the teams went to overtime.

Providence took the early lead after a Josh Fortune jumper, but Penn State responded with a jumper from D.J. Newbill, a three from Marshall and a lay-up from freshman Brandon Taylor to take a 50-45 lead with 3:05 left. Providence would get nocloser than three the rest of the way as a Ross Travis tip-in and free throws from Frazier and Newbill held them at bay.

Penn State shot 26 percent in the first half, but warmed up to 41 percent in thesecond half and was clutch when it counted going 4-of-6 to score 12 points in overtime and finished at 37 percent shooting for the game. Penn State grabbed 11 steals and forced 21 turnovers from a Providence team that hit 27 percent in the first half and 34 percent for the game. The Lions outscored the Friars 24-14 in the paint, but hit just 11-of-19 at the foul line.

Both teams slogged through a tough shooting first half as Providence took a 16-14 lead to the locker room despite a stretch of more than seven minutes without scoring. Penn State hit just 6-of-23 from the field and 1-of-10 from three vs. the Friar's 2-3 zone. Providence fared worse shooting 5-of-20 from the field vs. the Lions' man-to-man.

Frazier was held to just one point, on a free throw with 5:04 to play in the half, in the first 20 minutes as he went 0-of-6 from the floor. Ross Travis and SasaBorovnjak led the Lions with four points each.

Penn State got off to a 1-of-8 shooting start and trailed for nearly the entire half. The Lions briefly took a 7-6 lead after a Borovnjak bucket and had the game tied at 9-9 after another from the 6-9 junior. Providence built as a much as a six-point lead, 15-9, following a Josh Fortune three with 7:47 to play in the half.

Penn State cut into the lead by holding the Friars scoreless for the next seven minutes. Brandon Taylor got a jumper and Travis a put-back to get the Lionswithin one, 15-14, but a Taylor foul sent Lee Goldsbrough to the line where he hit one for with 27 seconds remaining in the half for the final two-point margin at the break.

In earlier action on Friday in Puerto Rico, North Carolina State downed Massachusetts, 94-76, and Oklahoma State dispatched Tennessee, 62-45, to advance to the championship game of the Tip-Off.

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