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January 29, 2014

Newbill, Taylor lift Lions past Buckeyes

* Quotes courtesy Kevin Noon at BuckeyeGrove.com

Brandon Taylor knocked home 4 of 7 shots beyond the arc and D.J. Newbill lifted the Nittany Lions in overtime with a team-high 25 points for their first win against Ohio State since 2004, 71-70.

Dropping three of six Big Ten games by a combined eight points, head coach Patrick Chambers finally saw his Nittany Lions (11-10 overall; 2-6 Big Ten) come up big in the clutch.

"I'm excited for the kids, for our players. It's so hard losing by a possession and the ball doesn't bounce your way, foul trouble, sometimes it happens," he said. "It's the game of basketball. Stuff happens. Sometimes you make shots, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you make the right rotation, sometimes you don't. Obviously tonight we did, but I think we learned from those close games, and I learned as a coach as well.

"I feel like - even Nebraska and even tonight - I think we're making the right moves and these guys have a really clear understanding of what we're doing now. We simplified and they're really executing with great confidence. I'm happy for them. They deserved to get one back, so to speak."

Newbill was a big reason why.

Trailing by as many as 11 points with less than 8 minutes left to play at Value City Arena in Columbus, the Nittany Lions clawed back during the "four minute games" Chambers constantly preaches.

Cutting the Buckeyes' lead from 7 points in a 2 minute, 11 second span, a Newbill 3-pointer off a Tim Frazier assist first tied the game at the 1:08 mark, 62-62. Then, coming off a questionable out of bounds call by referees that padded the Buckeyes' lead, Newbill's 3-pointer in front of the Nittany Lions' bench tied the game at 65-65 with just 27 seconds left to play.

"It felt good coming off my hand, but coach drew up some great plays, and we executed," Newbill said. "I think the first one Tim delivered a perfect pinpoint pass. It was an incredible pass. He threw a hook from the other side of the floor. The second one, Graham did a good job pitching the ball right where I needed it and I just shot it with confidence."

With the Buckeyes coming up empty on the other end on a missed Lenzelle Smith 3-ball and Shannon Scott put-back, the Nittany Lions breathed new life in overtime.

A Taylor layup (19 points) opened the scoring to give Penn State a 67-65 lead in the opening moments of the overtime period, but Ohio State build up a 70-67 lead during the course of the next two minutes on a series of free throws and a Smith jumper.

Trailing by 3 points with just 1:06 left to play, Newbill once again took control with the shot clock winding down, splitting two defenders from the top of the key and sending home a layup to cut the Buckeyes' lead to 1 point with just 45 seconds left to play. Ohio State, squandering its opportunity to build the lead back following an Amir Williams turnover beneath the basket, gave the Nittany Lions one final opportunity to win the game.

Sensing the moment, Newbill wouldn't disappoint.

"There was I think 11 seconds left, we were down by 1, I just cleared out one side of the floor," Newbill said. "I knew that they were going to try to stop me from going right because they'd been shading me left all game, so I just made a quick right-to-left crossover, just pulled up with confidence, and fortunately it went down."

The shot left 2.3 seconds on the clock for Ohio State, but Aaron Craft's last-ditch efforts to get up a 3-pointer were stifled as the buzzer sounded before the shot went up.

The end result was Penn State's first win against the Buckeyes dating back to a January 2004 win at the Bryce Jordan Center.

"Ohio State is one of the hardest playing teams in this league, if not the hardest playing team in this league. I just challenged them to play harder and to execute better. Make them make tough shots or make difficult plays," Chambers said. "I thought we did a really good job of doing that. So, in the huddles, very upbeat, very positive, don't worry about the score, keep digging, keep a great attitude, don't put your head down.

"I thought tonight we didn't compound the problem, and we normally do that. We have a freshman out there, sophomores out there and when they make a mistake, their head goes down. I thought we did a really good job of that tonight."

Penn State returns to action Sunday morning

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