Men's Hoops Game Blog - FINAL: Penn State 84, No. 4 Michigan 78

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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 84-78 victory over No. 4 Michigan on Wednesday night in the Bryce Jordan Center.  The win marked Penn State's first over a top five team since beating No. 5 North Carolina on March 18, 2001 in the NCAA Tournament.

Starting Lineups:
Penn State -
G - Newbill, G - Colella, G - Marshall, F - Travis, F - Borovnjak
Michigan - G - Burke, G - Hardaway Jr., G - Stauskas, F - Robinson III, F - Morgan

15:43 1st Half - Penn State 8, Michigan 8
Head coach Patrick Chambers could not ask for much more in the way of effort during the first four minutes of action.  The Nittany Lions pulled down five offensive rebounds, including three on one possession before an old-fashioned three-point play from Ross Travis put the Lions up, 8-6.  Michigan freshman guard Nik Stauskas answered with a layup, but Penn State has competed well in the opening minutes.

11:46 1st Half - Michigan 17, Penn State 13
After the Travis three-point play, the Wolverines mounted an 11-2 scoring run, which included a 3-pointer from point guard Trey Burke.  Senior Nick Colella snapped the scoring spurt with a corner 3-pointer to pull the Lions back within four at 17-13.  Michigan has shot 60 percent in the opening eight minutes, but the Lions are well within striking distance thanks to the effort on the offensive glass.

7:36 1st Half - Michigan 24, Penn State 20
Despite shooting 36 percent, the Nittany Lions have played well during the first half.  Following a Jermaine Marshall 3-pointer set the score at 20-18, Michigan, the Wolverines notched basket from Tim Hardaway Jr. and Stauskas to make it a six-point game.  But Brandon Taylor came right back with a jumper to trim the lead back down to four.  Michigan has found too many easy baskets around the hoop, but the Lions continue to battle on the glass, which has the margin at two possessions.

3:49 1st Half - Michigan 30, Penn State 27
Michigan led by five (28-23) after a dunk from Hardaway, but the Nittany Lions answered in the form of a 1-2-2 three-quarters court press.  The trap changed the tempo with back-to-back turnovers, and it ultimately led to a transition jumper from Newbill and a layup from Colella, which set the score at 28-27 with 4:59 to paly.  Michigan forward Jordan Morgan pushed the Wolverine lead back up to three.  Penn State is 4-for-8 from beyond the arc in the first half.

Halftime - Michigan 39, Penn State 36
The Nittany Lions got contributions from a wide range of players during an entertaining first half of play in the Bryce Jordan Center.  The Wolverines led by as much as seven in the first half, but the scoring margin was never more than six in the final 13 minutes.  The Nittany Lions used four foul shots, two from Travis and two from Newbill to put the Lions up 34-32 with 2:00 to play in the first half.  Michigan then closed the half with a 7-2 scoring spurt to make it 39-36 at the break.

Taylor, Travis and Newbill each finished with seven tallies.  Marshall added six points.  Colella scored five points and Borovnjak added four.  Stauskas paced Michigan with nine points.  The Wolverines shot 54 percent, while the Lions shot 42 percent from the field.  Penn State finished the first half 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.  Penn State played a very good half of basketball, but the Lions need to limit Michigan's easy baskets.  Nonetheless, the Nittany Lions are well within striking distance with 20 minutes to play.

15:45 2nd Half - Michigan 49, Penn State 43
Michigan stormed out of the locker room, scoring eight-straight points to push the lead to double digits for the first time.  A Hardaway transition dunk prompted a Penn State timeout with the score at 47-36.  But the Nittany Lions had an answer with six of the next eight tallies, including five from Marshall.  His 3-pointer at 16:13 trimmed the Michigan lead down to six to set the score at 49-43.  The Nittany Lions did a nice job weathering the Wolverine run, but stops on the defensive end of the floor are crucial moving ahead.

11:33 2nd Half - Michigan 64, Penn State 51
A foul line jumper from Travis cut Michigan's lead down to just four at 49-45 with 15:32 on the clock.  However, back-to-back Michigan 3-pointers in a span of 18 seconds triggered an 11-2 scoring spurt from the Wolverines, which put the maize and blue back up by double digits at 60-47.  The teams exchanged baskets before Jordan Morgan added a dunk to put Michigan back up by 13.  The story on the defensive end has been the same for most of the night.  Michigan has taken advantage of 38 points in the paint.

7:15 2nd half - Michigan 72, Penn State 63
After Michigan's lead grew to 15 (66-51), the Nittany Lions answered by taking the ball to the basket.  The end result was a 9-2 scoring run, all of which coming at the foul line, which made it a 68-60 game before Burke drained a jumper.  Marshall countered with a 3-pointer to make it 70-63, but the superbly talented Burke added another jumper to extend the margin to nine heading into the media timeout at 72-63.

3:55 2nd Half - Penn State 74, Michigan 74
Thanks to red-hot shooting from Marshall, the Nittany Lions erased what was once a 15-point deficit to tie the game at 74-74.  The junior guard has a career-high six 3-pointers (6-10) and 21 points.  In all, the Penn State run has been 23-8 covering 6:20 of game time.  The Bryce Jordan Center roared with approval when Marshall's 3-pointer from the top of the arc sailed through the net to square things at 74.

FINAL - Penn State 84, Michigan 78
Penn State's tireless work ethic on the practice floor and night-in and night-out in games paid off on Wednesday night with a tremendous performance in a thrilling 84-78 upset of No. 4 Michigan.  It was a complete team effort down the stretch, but you have to give the game ball to Jermaine Marshall, who poured in 25 points on 6-for-10 from 3-point range.  D.J. Newbill scored 17 in the win, while Ross Travis added 15 points and 12 rebounds.

The Nittany Lions trailed 66-51 with 10:39 to play, but the Lions stormed to a 9-2 run to pull within eight.  In all, the scoring run ballooned to 26-8 after Borovnjak knocked down two free throws for the injured Travis to put Penn State on top by a 77-74 margin.  The Wolverines pulled within one at 79-78 with 1:21 to play before Marshall drove into the paint for a swooping lay-in to put the Lions up 81-78 at the 1:06 mark.  Michigan did not score again, and the senior duo of Colella and Borovnjak iced the game at the foul line with three-straight free throws.  It's only fitting that the seniors had the opportunity to finish things off on Senior Night.

"Our hard work, we feel like, finally paid off," Newbill said.  "We wanted to make our friends (who have supported us all season in the crowd) feel proud."

"Our foundation is based upon attitude," Newbill said. "We can easily get down on ourselves...Or we can work hard and make a change, play with confidence."

"Words can't express how I feel right now for these kids," Chambers said.

"It's great to feel victory again.  It has been so long. It's great to win," Chambers said.
    

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Pregame Thoughts:
The Nittany Lions will honor their two seniors - Nick Colella and Sasa Borovnjak - prior to tonight's tip with the Wolverines. 
Colella's path to the Nittany Lion starting lineup is nothing short of remarkable.  The New Castle, Pa., native spent the first two seasons of his career at Penn State-Behrend (NCAA Div. III) before transferring to the University Park campus in 2010.  Colella was then a practice player for the Lady Lion basketball team during his first month on campus before impressing the men's coaching staff at an open walk-on tryout.

Borovnjak has stamped his place as the team's third scoring option in recent games.  Things have begun to click for the Belgrade, Serbia native, who is averaging 16.0 points per game in his last three outings.
  Borovnjak's surge in recent weeks is a direct by-product of his hard work on and off the floor.  A regular in the gym working on getting extra shots and extra lifting sessions, Borovnjak is putting in the time necessary to take his game to the next level.  He is never satisfied with his play, and the 6-foot-9 forward has made it a habit to even review practice film to critique his play.

As for the matchup with Michigan, the Nittany Lions pushed the Wolverines for 40 minutes in the first meeting between the two teams in Ann Arbor 10 days ago before falling, 79-71.  Offensively, the Nittany Lions will again need to make shots to keep pace with high-powered Wolverines.  While the Lions need to make shots, Coach Chambers stressed on Monday that getting stops at key points will be critical moving forward.  The Wolverines are in the thick of the Big Ten title race, so the Nittany Lions will need to match their intensity for 40 minutes and play a complete game on both ends of the floor.


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