Nittany Lions Down #14 Purdue, 67-64, To Improve to 13-3
Jan. 7, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA., Jan. 6, 2009 - The Nittany Lion basketball team came out energized, jumped to a 15-point first half lead and then locked down on defense in the second half to post a 67-64 victory over No. 14 ranked Purdue Tuesday night in the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Nittany Lions logged their second straight victory over a ranked foe, having downed No. 17 Indiana late last season, and improved to 3-3 in their last six meetings with ranked opponents as they out worked and out hustled Purdue logging a 14 rebound advantage and an 18-7 edge in second chance points on a season-high 22 offensive boards. The victory improved Penn State to 13-3 on the year and 2-1 in the Big Ten as they prepare to head to No. 19/22 Minnesota on Sunday. Purdue fell to 11-4 on the year and 0-2 in the Big Ten.
"I thought we set the tempo and the tone from the beginning," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "We just played with a lot of energy and hustle and I'm really proud of the effort."
Sophomore Talor Battle (Albany, N.Y) posted his eighth 20-point game of the year logging 21 points and a career-high tying nine assists, the last of which came on a drive through the lane and feed to Andrew Jones (Philadelphia, Pa.) for a crucial bucket in the closing seconds. Jones added 11 boards, eight offensive, and six points. Stanley Pringle (Virginia Beach, Va.) had 18, Jamelle Cornley (Columbus, Ohio) 10 and Danny Morrissey (Cleveland, Ohio) 10 as four Lions scored in double-figures.
"I've got a good bunch (of kids)," DeChellis said. "They are not going to be denied."
Purdue was led by 21 points from E'Twaun Moore, 11 from Namanja Calasan and 10 from Lewis Jackson. The Boilermakers out-shot Penn State 45.8 percent to 38.7 percent, but were trounced 41-27 on the glass (22-6 offensive) and forced into 16 turnovers.
Penn State scored the first 14 points in the game and dominated the glass, 10-2, early as they charged out of the gate. Purdue was scoreless until JaJuan Johnson hit a lay-up with 14:47 to play. The Lions built their lead to 15, 17-2, on a three from Pringle and again, 19-4, following a bucket from Cornley. Penn State's big three of Battle, Pringle and Cornley, all ranked in the Top 10 in scoring in the conference, all had eight points in the early going as the Lions maintained a double-digit edge most of the first half.
Purdue would rally though, scoring five straight late in the half to cut an 11-point margin to six, 37-31, with 3:15 to play. A bucket and two late free throws from Battle sent Penn State to the locker room up 41-33.
The Boilers outscored Penn State 12-5 in the beginning of the second half and trailed by just one, 46-45, following a jumper from Moore with 15:12 to play. Pringle answered with a three, but Moore hit one of his own on the other end and the lead was back to one, 49-48.
Moore then buried another jumper to give Purdue its first lead of the game, 50-49, with 11:54 to play. The team's traded buckets before Moore hit a three and Purdue had its biggest lead of the game, 55-51, with 10:02 left.
"We've been down before, and we know how to win now," Morrissey said. "That's something we didn't know how to do last year. We just stayed the course and knew we could get it done against a difficult opponent."
Penn State clamped down on defense forcing five Boiler turnovers and eight missed shots as Purdue went scoreless over the next eight minutes. Meanwhile, Morrissey hit a three and Jones had a big offensive board and put-back to regain the lead, 57-55, with 8:43 to play.
Neither team scored over the next three minutes until Pringle was fouled and sank both free throws for a 59-55 advantage. Battle hit a jumper and Morrissey another three and Penn State found itself back up nine, 64-55, and back in the driver's seat with 3:01 to play.
Jackson finally ended the slump for Purdue hitting a three with 2:17 remaining and followed with another three after a pair of Penn State misses and a turnover and the Boilers were back within three, 64-61, with 59 seconds remaining.
Penn State worked the shot clock down under 10 and then Battle drove the lane, drew three defenders and made a nice underhand dish to Jones waiting under the rim. The 6-9 forward scored the ball and the Lions led 66-61 with 26 seconds to play. Battle then stole the ball from Keaton Grant on the other end and was fouled. He went to the line and made one with 17 seconds to play, all but sealing the deal for the Lions.
Penn State will hit the road this weekend to face No. 19/22 Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. That game is scheduled for a 3:30 (ET) tip on the Big Ten Network.