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Penn State Friday Five

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's basketball stunned the crowd at Value City Arena Thursday night, topping No. 13 Ohio State 82-79 with a game-winner from Tony Carr at the buzzer. With less 48 hours until the Nittany Lions return to the court, Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers noted it only took about an hour until he was moving on to Rutgers.

From last night to what's ahead, take a closer look at few storylines in the Friday hoops five before starting another packed Penn State sports weekend.

Channeling the Mental Conditioning
Mental conditioning is of course a familiar phrase for Chambers this year, but coming off a thrilling win with a tight turnaround on deck is just the type of scenario for it to really shine through - or punch through as he might say.

"We've been here before, so let's look back at those experiences and see what we did right and what we did wrong and learn from those experiences," Chambers said.

Penn State will go short today, with Chambers listing scout review and film on the schedule, not changing up the routine too much though.

Carr's Best Game Yet
Chambers called Carr's defensive performance against the Buckeyes his best all year.

"I thought he was in stances, I thought his energy was great, I thought his body language was fantastic," Chambers said. "That goes into leadership. I don't think it was because he was making shots. I saw that in walk through. I saw that in practice the prior three days."

Carr was certainly making shots though, at 10-for-14 from the field and 4-for-5 from behind the arc totaling 28 points in addition to five assists and five rebounds. When asked if he'd go further to say it was Carr's best game since he arrived, Chambers confirmed. 

"I think everybody maybe wants to think Texas A&M but I would say no, we lost," Chambers said. "I think across the board, 10 out of 14, five rebounds, five assists and a win, I think we would all say - I think he would say, I'd rather not score 30, I'd rather score 28 and win but be efficient."

Reaves Returns
Chambers noted he and director of basketball operations Ross Condon met the day prior to the team's trip to Columbus, where Condon opted to remain home in Happy Valley should Josh Reaves finish addressing an academic matter. By mid-afternoon, it was Condon who hopped in the car with Reaves to embark on the nearly 330-mile drive. They arrived around 6:45 p.m. ahead of the 8 p.m. tipoff.

"The beauty of it was the entire team was on the floor," Chambers said. "He [Reaves] came in, saw me, we went over some things, scouting report, things of that nature basketball wise. I told him to have some fun because you know he was going to be shot out of a cannon just going crazy. I thought he kept his emotions in check. When he walked out on to that court, the team erupted. It was a big mosh pit in the middle of the court, which was pretty amazing. Pretty fantastic to have that kind of energy and love for each other." 

For Chambers, the energy was palpable form the moment Reaves rejoined his teammates, only adding a whole different level of confidence and belief for the Nittany Lions, who went 1-3 in the four games he missed.

"They played very loose, played with great confidence and let's give Josh a little credit," Chambers said. 

Zemgulis into the Starting Lineup
Penn State saw junior Deivis Zemgulis enter the starting lineup for his first career start against the Buckeyes. Averaging just six minutes per game in conference play, Zemgulis went 5-for-5 from the field with one triple and a key rebound in a Big Ten season-high 14 minutes on the court.

"Davis has been bought in," Chambers said. "I know he's had a crazy career, up and down and everybody wants to critique his shooting. Davis, as you can see, his body has changed, he has gotten stronger, he has gotten tougher. The buy in factor for me was huge. When he's in practice, he's a junior, he knows the rotations, he knows the slides, he communicates. We were struggling rebounding, he's going to find a body." 

THON Hoops
Saturday's game also marks Penn State's THON hoops game, featuring $5 proceeds from student ticket sales directed toward the organization. Penn State will also have free t-shirts available to the first 3,000 Penn State students with special activities located throughout the Bryce Jordan Center concourse ahead of the tipoff. Doors will open early Saturday, with fans allowed to enter at 2:30 p.m.

"Anytime I'm with Four Diamonds or working with THON, there's something that touches your heart that you want to help these families," Chambers said. "The kids are so resilient. Sometimes it's about the parents really, supporting them and helping them. Anytime we help lock arms or chain up with THON the organization and just be a little bit a part of them, is a win for Penn State basketball."

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