Nittany Lions Blitz Northwestern, 79-60
Feb. 28, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Feb. 28, 2010 - The Nittany Lion basketball team came out smoking shooting 68 percent in the first half and never looked back as they lead for more than 37 minutes and by as many as 25 in dispatching Northwestern, 79-60, in the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday. The 19-point victory marked the largest for Penn State in Big Ten play since beating Northwestern by 26 in January of 2007.
Penn State (11-17; 3-13) posted its fourth-straight win over the Wildcats (18-11; 7-10 Big Ten) and eighth victory in the last nine meetings between the teams as coach Ed DeChellis recorded the 200th win in his 14-year coaching career. Penn State got a complete team effort as the Nittany Lion bench scored 25 points, including an 8-of-8 performance for 20 points in the first half, and six Lions scored eight points or more.
Talor Battle led the way scoring 16 points and adding six rebounds and a game-high six assists. Battle became just the sixth Nittany Lion ever and first since Joe Crispin in 2001 to post 1,000 points and 400 assists on their career. He also nailed to threes to move into fourth all-time in that category with 206 career treys.
"It's fun, that's the one thing I can attest to for the last four games," Battle said. "We've really been having fun. Even in the loss to Ohio State, we were right there. I think all the pressure is off and we're just kind of playing basketball. So, hopefully we can keep it rolling and when we hit the Big Ten Tournament, hopefully we can play well and you never know what can happen."
Chris Babb, who had 20 points in the first meeting between the teams, scored 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three for his 11th double-digit scoring game of the year. Jeff Brooks added 11 points and team-high tying seven boards for his second-straight double-digit game against the Wildcats.
Penn State held Wildcat leading scorer John Shurna to just nine points, 10 below his 19.5 average in Big Ten games. Michael Thompson led NU with 21 points on 5-of-11 from three. The Wildcats hit 12-of-28 threes on the day after starting the game hitting six of their first eight from the arc for all of their first 18 points of the game. The Wildcats hit just 25 percent from the floor and 4-of-13 from three in the second half.
The Nittany Lions shot better than 70 percent for much of the first half before finishing at 68 percent and shot 57 percent for the game. Ten Lions played in the first half and four scored eight or more points including sophomore Cammeron Woodyard who came off the bench to match a career high with nine points while hitting 4-of-4 from the floor in the half.
The Lions took a 49-35 halftime lead after freshman Bill Edwards closed the half with a lay-up right before the buzzer. The 49 first half points marked the most for the Lions on the season.
Penn State used an early 9-0 run to overcome a 6-5 Northwestern lead. Babb's three, a bucket from Drew Jones and a pair of baskets from brooks gave the Lions a 14-6 lead.
Northwestern got back within three, 21-18, as Thompson hit three treys and David Curletti got one as the Wildcats scored their first 18 points from behind the arc.
A bucket from Lion freshman Tim Frazier put the Lions back up five, but Northwestern got within two, 23-21, after a pair of Shurna free throws with 9:47 to play in the half. That would be as close as they would get for the game.
Frazier hit a double-pump 12-foot jumper and Babb a pair of free throws to put Penn State back up six. A Shurna three made it 27-24, but Penn State scored the next seven points, the last on a Woodyard three, to take a 35-24 lead.
Penn State built the lead to 14, 45-31, after two more Woodyard jumpers and a Woodyard assist to Brooks for a jumper. Woodyard added an offensive rebound and a put-back with 15 seconds to play before Edwards finished the half with his lay-up at the buzzer.
A pair of Thompson threes to open the second half got Nortwestern within 11, but Penn State scored the next nine points, including threes from Babb and Battle, to push its lead to 20, 61-41, with 14:44 to play.
A pair of Thompson free throws got the margin under 20, but Babb got a steal from Jeremy Nash and Battle converted a lay-up to push the margin back to 20 with 13:44 to play. It would stay above 20 until a Nick Fruendt lay-up with 21 seconds to play.
Penn State pushed its lead to 25 twice, first after a pair of Battle free throws with 8:13 to play and again after a David Jackson lay-up with 2:56 to play. Jackson was playing after the passing of his grandfather, Toby Jackson (90), on Wednesday night. He headed back to Farrell, Pa. following the game and will attend his grandfather's service before rejoining the team on Wednesday.
Penn State will travel No. 14 Michigan State next Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. match-up on ESPN2. Penn State knocked off the then No. 9 ranked Spartans, 72-68, last season for its first-ever victory in East Lansing, Mich. behind 29 points from Battle. Michigan State took a 65-54 victory in State College earlier this year and leads the series 27-5.