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Northwestern Downs Penn State in Final Seconds, 67-66

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Ross Travis

Feb. 25, 2012

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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.; FEB. 25, 2012 - Penn State (12-17; 4-12 Big Ten) held a one-point lead over Northwestern (17-11; 7-9 Big Ten) for the final 2:48, but failed to convert on their final four possessions and a pair of free throw attempts and were whistled for a foul on the Wildcat's John Shurna with three seconds remaining. The Big Ten's leading scorer converted both free throws and Tim Frazier's last second attempt came up short as Northwestern escaped with a 67-66 victory in the Bryce Jordan Center Saturday night.

Frazier logged his Big Ten leading 15th 20-point game of the season leading the Lions with 23 points and eight assists. The junior guard now has 183 assists on the season, the second highest total in Penn State history just behind Talor Battle's record of 189 set in 2009. His 541 points on the year are good for the eighth-best season total. Freshman Ross Travis notched a career high with nine rebounds to go with 10 points and red-shirt freshman Jon Graham added a career-high tying 10 points and three rebounds.

"I'm proud of the way the team fought and competed," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We knew that Northwestern was a team that competed and they had a lot at stake. We are playing for something too. We are playing for Penn State pride, trying to finish the year out strong and roll the dice in the tournament."

Shurna posted 23 points and six assists to lead a Northwestern team that hit 15-of-29 from three for a season-high 51.7 percent from the arc. Six Wildcats made a three on the night, including Shurna who had three. Drew Crawford hit 4-of-5 for 13 points and Alex Marcotullio knocked down 4-of-6 for 12 as Northwestern out-scored Penn State 45-9 from behind the arc.

"This was a must win game for them and I know they are very skilled and they have good shooters who made their shots," Chambers said.

Trailing by six, 34-28, at the half, Penn State shot 60.7 percent in the second half and 51 percent for the game to retake the lead in the closing minutes. The Lions figured out the Wildcats 1-3-1 defense in the second half with Travis and Graham doing damage on the interior as Penn State owned a 40-10 advantage in scoring in the paint and a 37-22 advantage in rebounding.

Trailing 43-34 with 14:38 to play, Frazier sparked the Lions hitting a jumper and then driving the lane and dunking on Marcotullio who fouled the 6-1 guard. Frazier converted the free throw to pull the Lions within five, 43-38.

The Wildcats had pushed their lead back to seven when Jermaine Marshall fed Travis for a baseline dunk that sparked a 13-3 run that gave the Lions a 52-49 lead. Travis scored six-straight points, all at close range, to start the spurt as Penn State penetrated the 1-3-1. Cammeron Woodyard, who finished with eight points and a career-high tying seven rebounds, finished the streak with a three with 8:39 remaining.

Shurna tied the game at 52 with a three and Marcotullio followed with another three that put the Wildcats back on top, part of a run of 18-straight points for the Northwestern from behind the arc.

Frazier answered with a three to tie the game at 55, but Crawford hit from behind the arc just 14 seconds later and Northwestern again had the lead.

Marshall hit a jumper. Shurna drove and fed Crawford for yet another baseline three and the Wildcats led, 61-57, with 6:00 to play.

Penn State got back-to-back baskets from Marshall and Sasa Borovnjak to tie the game at 63. Shurna hit a short jumper to regain the lead. Frazier drove the lane and hit an eight-foot jumper and was fouled by Dave Sobolewski. He hit the free throw and the Lions led, 66-65, with 2:48 left.

Penn State had four chances to extend the lead as Crawford, Shurna and Marcotullio missed on Northwestern possessions. But, the Lions couldn't convert. Marshall's three was wide. Woodyard had a jumper in the lane come up short and Travis charged driving the baseline with 1:06 to play. Marshall had a jumper blocked by Shurna on the next possession, but rebounded the ball. Frazier drove and fed Graham who was fouled by Crawford. He missed both free throws leaving Northwestern down one, 66-65, with 14 seconds to play.

They fed the ball to Shurna 12 feet from the basket. He turned and shot a fade-away with three seconds remaining. Graham was called for contact and the Wildcat senior hit both at the line to deliver a Wildcat victory.

In the first half, the Nittany Lions jumped out to a 13-6 lead in the first five minutes of action, holding Northwestern to a pair of back-to-back treys from junior Drew Crawford.

An early 9-0 run, capped by a jumper from Marshall, was shortly answered as the Wildcats worked their way onto the scoreboard basket by basket.

Borovnjak's three-point play at 12:09 gave the Lions an eight-point lead, marking the largest for Penn State in the game.

The Wildcats fought back using their 1-3-1 to cause turnovers and create an 12-0 run that gave then a 25-20 lead following a three-point play from Sobolewski. Reggie Hearn hit a three with just over six minutes left to build a six-point lead, 28-22, part of three treys that closed the Wildcats scoring in the half. Northwestern would shoot 8-of-16 from three in the half.

Tim Frazier helped to close the gap, contributing six of the final eight Lion points to close out the first half as Penn State trailed 34-28 at the break.

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With their 67-66 loss to Northwestern, the Nittany Lions fall to Northwestern in the BJC for the first time since 2002, a span of 8 games.

Penn State gave up 15 3-point field goals, two shy of their record against a Big Ten School. Northwestern was 15-27 (57.1%) from beyond the arc in the game.

With 8 assists tonight, Tim Frazier now ranks second on Penn State's seasons assists list with 183, passing Freddie Barnes (177) and Joe Crispin (178) and Dan Earl (181). He needs 6 more to tie Talor Battle's record 189 from 2009.

With his 23 points, Tim Frazier moved into the 8th spot on Penn State's season scoring list with 541, passing Ed Fogell (520), and Titus Ivory (520), Gyasi Cline-Heard (529) and Jamelle Cornley (531).

Frazier is the first ever Nittany Lion player to post a top 10 season in scoring, assists and steals in the same season.

Tim Frazier notched his Big Ten-leading, 15th 20-point game this season, tying him with J'Covan Brown of Texas for 3rd most in the nation's major conferences.

Jon Graham tied his career-high in points with 10 versus the Wildcats.

Ross Travis posted a career-high 9 rebounds against Northwestern.

Ross Travis fell short of his first career double-double by 1 rebound, and was 2 points shy of tying his career high 12 points.

Cam Woodyard matched his career-high with 7 rebounds.




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