Men's Hoops Game Blog - FINAL: Nebraska 68, Penn State 64

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live in-game coverage of the Nittany Lion basketball team.

Take a look back at Penn State's 68-64 setback to Nebraska on Saturday afternoon in the Bryce Jordan Center.


Starting Lineups:
Penn State - G - Marshall, G - Newbill, F - Travis, F - Taylor, F - Borovnjak
Nebraska - G - Shields, G - Rivers, G - Gallegos, G - Talley, C - Almeida
    

15:50 1st Half - Penn State 5, Nebraska 0
The Nittany Lions got two good signs in the early minutes with a pair of baskets from Brandon Taylor and Sasa Borovnjak, two guys who the Lions need production from.  On the defensive end of the floor, Penn State has been active early, and it has done a nice job contesting shots around the basket.  Nebraska is 0-for-7 to start the game.

11:50 1st Half - Nebraska 10, Penn State 7
The Nittany Lions opened the game with seven unanswered points, but the well has gone dry since the 15:47 mark.  Since then, Nebraska has reeled of 10-straight points to make it 10-7 at the second media timeout.  Coach Chambers used a timeout to demand his team to start playing with some urgency on the floor.  The Lions are just 3-for-11 from the field and 1-for-5 from beyond the arc.

6:16 1st Half - Nebraska 17, Penn State 14
The Nittany Lions snapped a 14-2 scoring run from Nebraska with a 5-0 spurt.  D.J. Newbill drove hard to the basket for a lay-in before Nick Colella earned three free throws.  Nebraska guard Ray Gallegos broke the 14-14 tie with a 3-pointer at the 8:05 mark.  The Nittany Lions are approaching their second three-minute scoring drought of the first half.  Penn State needs to find some offensive flow heading into the final stretch of the first half.  Newbill picked up his second personal foul at the 8:59 mark and headed to the bench.

0:00 1st Half - Nebraska 33, Penn State 28
Kevin Montminy sent the Lions into the locker room with a shot in the arm after knocking down an off-balance, buzzer beater 3-pointer to set the halftime deficit at five.  The Lions got off to a very good start on the defensive end of the floor, but did not finish the half to Coach Chambers' liking.  Nebraska opened the game 0-for-9 from the field, but finished the half 14-for-21 (47 percent).  The Lions shot 36 percent from the field.  Taylor paced Penn State offensively with nine points on 4-for-6 shooting.  Borovnjak and Newbill, who was limited with two fouls for much of the first half, finished with six tallies.  The Nittany Lions will need to play better on both ends of the floor, but the defensive effort is essential.  Coach Chambers stressed the importance of playing hard on defense for three days leading up to Saturday's game, but the Lions did not execute at a high level after the 0-for-9 start.  Nevertheless, there is a lot of basketball yet to be played, but the Lions will be looking for a quick start to the second half.

15:27 2nd Half - Nebraska 39, Penn State 31
Newbill opened the second half with a free throw before Jermaine Marshall knocked down a jumper for his first basket of the game, which pulled the Lions to within four.  However, the Lions are just 1-for-5 from the field in the second half.  Back-to-back scores from the Huskers has the margin at eight.  Nebraska is clogging the lane to make things very difficult for Marshall and Newbill to get into the paint.  With that being said, the Lions are just 2-for-10 from beyond the 3-point arc.

11:27 2nd Half - Nebraska 44, Penn State 43
The Nittany Lions trailed 41-31 with 15:06 to go, but mounted a furious charge to grab their first lead since the game was 7-6 in the early minutes.  A pair for threes from Colella and Marshall ignited the 12-0 scoring spurt.  Penn State played with much better energy during the scoring run. Shavon Shields halted the spurt with an old-fashioned 3-point play, but the Nittany Lions clawed back into the game with some much-needed energy on both ends of the floor.

7:54 2nd Half - Penn State 52, Nebraska 48
Credit the Nittany Lions' offensive surge to much better spacing and flow in the second half.  Nebraska scored five-straight points after Penn State's 12-0 run to claim a 46-43 lead at the 11:04 mark, but the Lions came right back with baskets from Travis and Borovnjak and three free throws from Marshall.  Travis is much more active this afternoon than he was on Wednesday night (8 pts, 5 reb).  The Lions are 9-of-13 from the floor in the second half, but Penn State needs a strong finish on the defensive end of the floor to pick up its first Big Ten victory.

3:14 2nd Half - Nebraska 59, Penn State 54
Just when it looked like the Nittany Lions were starting to play with more consistency on the offensive end of the floor, they went cold during a run from Nebraska.  The Huskers used an 11-0 run to erase the four-point Penn State lead and build a 59-52 edge with 4:16 to go.  A Ross Travis jumper from the elbow cut the Nebraska lead down to five.  The Lions have had no answer for Husker guard Shavon Shields, who is 10-for-11 from the floor and 6-for-6 at the foul line for 27 points.

FINAL - Nebraska 68, Penn State 64
The Nittany Lions let a golden opportunity slip away on their home floor on Saturday afternoon.  Penn State battled back from a seven-point deficit in the final three minutes to pull within three with 32.1 seconds to play after Marshall drained a 3-pointer to make it 66-63.  On the ensuing Nebraska possession, the Nittany Lions forced a turnover before Newbill slashed to the basket for a lay-up attempt.  Newbill was fouled on the play, but before he notched a steal, the Huskers were whistled for a flagrant foul, which gave the Lions four free throws and the ball.  Newbill made the first free throw, but missed the second before Travis came up short on both of his attempts.  Now trailing 66-64, the Nittany Lions in-bounded the ball and Marshall was fouled with 15.9 seconds to play.  Marshall missed both free throws.  Nebraska's Brandon Ubel drained two foul shots to clinch the four-point victory.  Penn State missed five-straight free throws while trailing by just two points in the final 25 seconds to drop their sixth-straight game to open Big Ten play.

Marshall led the Lions with 18 points, all coming in the second half.  Newbill added 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.  Taylor scored nine points in the setback.  Penn State shot 39 percent from the floor, but just 63 percent at the foul line (15-24).

Coach Chambers said after the game that the Lions practiced very well for two days leading up to Saturday's game.  He said that the Lions did not deserve to win on Saturday because they did not play as hard as they needed to for 40 minutes.

Credit Nebraska for going 16-for-16 at the foul line during the game, including connecting on four big ones in the final two minutes.  Additionally, freshman Shavon Shields finished with 29 points on 10-for-11 shooting.  Shields came into the game averaging just 6.2 tallies per game.

Nonetheless, Penn State well enough in spurts during the second half to win, but the Lions must do a better job at the foul line and play with more consistency defensively moving forward in Big Ten play.  Next up is a trip to Bloomington on Wednesday against Indiana.


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Keys to the Game:
- Offensive Balance
- Get to the foul line
- Defend for 40 minutes
- Offensive rebounding

Final Pregame Word
The guard tandem of Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill were tremendous against Michigan State.  Both players eclipsed career-highs with Marshall pouring in 29 tallies and Newbill adding 27 markers.  The duo combined for 56 of Penn State's 72 points and shot 60 percent from the field.  While head coach Patrick Chambers was thrilled to see the offensive production from Marshall and Newbill, the Nittany Lions need more scorers to step up.  Keep an eye on Ross Travis and Brandon Taylor this afternoon as they look to be more assertive on offense.  Penn State needs a strong outing to build some momentum heading into a very tough stretch on the schedule.  Look for a sense of urgency from the Nittany Lions in a crucial game for the rest of the Big Ten season.


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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