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Jan. 29, 2011
14,292 witness third ranked foe go down on Nittany Lions home court
Fans "Band Together" to help raise an estimated $30,000 to fight cancer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Jan. 29, 2011 - The largest crowd in two years turned out in force on "Band Together" day at the Bryce Jordan Center and they left happy as Penn State (12-8; 5-4 Big Ten) knocked off its third ranked foe at home on the year dropping No. 15 Wisconsin (15-5; 5-3 Big Ten), 56-52, in front of 14,292.
The victory, led by 22 points from Talor Battle, marked the first time the Nittany Lions have ever defeated three ranked foes on their home court in one season in program history and improved their Big Ten home win streak to four games, the programs longest since going 9-0 in the first season of the Bryce Jordan Center in 1996.
A huge Penn State crowd helped raise an estimated $30,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society as Penn State donated $3 for every ticket sold and fans donated $2 to don "Band Together" headbands in a united effort to defeat cancer.
"It was a lot easier tonight when the place was filled you know - you make a play and the place erupts," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "I really appreciate everyone coming today to support our team and support Coaches vs. Cancer. I thought it was a great Saturday afternoon for college basketball. It was great to get a win and hopefully everyone will be back for our game against Michigan."
Battle got 20 of his 41st career 20-point game in the second half and was joined by a herculean effort by Drew Jones on the boards as the 6-10 senior pulled down 10 of his career-high tying 14 boards in the second half effectively eliminating any Badger second chances as Penn State held Wisconsin to 32 percent shooting and 23 points in the second half. Jeff Brooks added 12 points, three steals and two blocks and David Jackson had 10 points as Penn State's senior starters continued their stellar play.
Penn State shot a blistering 63 percent in the second half to overcome a 29-20 halftime deficit. Wisconsin led by as many as 13 in the first half, but got out-rebounded 29-25 in the game, 19-11 in the second half, and was held to 42 percent shooting for the game. Jon Leuer led the Badgers with 18 points. Jordan Taylor had 16 and Keaton Nankivil added 11.
"We played some more man in the second half and threw in some 1-3-1 to try to keep them honest," DeChellis said. "They're a very good team, a very good rhythm team. We tried to break their rhythm as best we could with some zone. We played well in the second half. We held them to 23 points in the half. We challenged some shots and played with better energy. I thought we were better defensively."
Penn State used a 15-6 surge to start the second half to tie the game at 35 on Tim Frazier's double-clutch lay-up at the rim with 11:45 to play. Penn State surged on the play of Battle who struggled hitting 1-of-5 for two points in the first half but was 6-of-11 with three treys in the second. Battle scored 12 of the Lions first 18 points in the second half and seven-straight at one point.
A Battle jumper and a Frazier feed to Jones for a dunk got Penn State within five, 31-26, and the crowd roaring. After a pair of Leuer free throws Battle got back-to-back lay-ups and then a long three to draw the Lions within two, 35-33, with 13:18 to play. After Frazier tied the game, Battle then buried a 24-foot three to give Penn State it's first lead of the game, 38-35, with 10:51 left.
"Tim got that big basket to tie the game and that kind of just got the crowd into the game," Battle said. "I think once we tied it, the crowd really exploded and we just kind of took off and made some big plays. They really helped us tremendously. I was telling the radio guys that I was spent. I'm trying to guard Jordan Taylor and the crowd energy gave me fight."
Wisconsin used a 7-2 run to retake a 42-40 lead as Nankivil nailed a three and Leuer got a lay-up.
Battle would drain another long three to put Penn State back on top, 43-42, and Penn State would not trail again. Brooks followed Battle's three with one of his own and Jackson buried to free throws as Penn State used eight straight points to build a six-point lead, 48-42, with 3:56 left.
Taylor got a jumper to go to cut the lead to four. Battle drove, drew a hoard of Badgers and dished to Jones for a lay-up that gave Penn State a 50-44 lead with 1:16 left.
The Badgers began to foul and sent a parade of Lions to the line. Battle hit 5-of-6 down the stretch and Jones 1-of-2 as the Badgers got no closer than three in the final minute. Nankivil hit a pair of treys, one getting the Badgers within four and the other within three, 55-52, with seven seconds to play. But, Battle iced the game hitting one at the line with four seconds left and the Jordan Center celebrated.
Wisconsin led the entire first half as Penn State hit just 2-of-9 to start the game. A three from Josh Gasser made in 9-3 Badgers. Wisconsin ran off eight-straight points to take a 17-5 lead on a Leuer lay-up with 10:42 left in the half.
Penn State got four straight points from Jones and Battle to start to come to life, but when Taylor hit a leaning three at the end of the shot clock Wisconsin led 22-9 with 7:39 left.
Penn State mounted a run. Brooks buried a jumper and Jackson back-to-back threes in the space of 40 seconds to bring Penn State within seven, 24-17, and give life to the home crowd. A drive and and-on lay-up from freshman Jermaine Marshall made it a 9-2 Lion run and got Penn State within four, 24-20, with 2:12 left. Wisconsin closed the half with a jumper from Leuer and another Taylor three to take a 29-20 lead to the locker room.
Penn State will hit the road Tuesday and look for a fourth victory over a ranked opponent when it takes on No. 20 Illinois in Champaign. That game tips at 9:00 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.
The Nittany Lions have four home games remaining and will return to the Jordan Center on Sunday, Feb. 6 when they take on Michigan in a noon tip on Super Bowl Sunday.
Nittany Lion Basketball single-game tickets can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 814-865-5555, visiting GoPSUsports.com or through Ticketmaster. Single-game tickets are $18 for the lower bowl and $15 for upper level tickets for adults. Youth tickets (18 and under) are $7 for the lower bowl and $5 for upper level seating, while Penn State student tickets (University Park or branch campus) are $5 for each of the 19 home contests.
For all the latest information, notes, pictures and related links on Penn State basketball follow Assistant Athletic Communications Director Brian Siegrist on Twitter (@PSUSTRETCH) and check GoPSUsports.com. The Nittany Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstatebasketball.