Nittany Lions Fall to Temple on Buzzer Beater In NCAA Tournament
March 17, 2011
Lions rally without second-leading scorer Jeff Brooks who left game with an injury
TUCSON , Ariz.; March 17, 2011 - In a thrilling NCAA Tournament game full of guts and guile, No. 10 seed Penn State (19-15) took No. 7 seed Temple (26-7) to the wire before Juan Fernandez's 17-foot leaning jumper at the buzzer elevated the Owls to a 66-64 victory in Tucson, AZ, Thursday in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Playing without second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Jeff Brooks, who played just nine minutes in the first half with foul trouble and left the game just over a minute into the second after dislocating his right shoulder on a block attempt, Penn State refused to go quietly in the program's first NCAA Tournament game in 10 years. Seniors Talor Battle and David Jackson stepped up with two big buckets down the stretch and when Battle rained in a 26-footer with 16 seconds to play, Penn State had the game tied at 64.
Temple took a timeout to set up its offense. Penn State stayed man-to-man and the Owls moved the ball around to Fernandez who drove, had his momentum stopped by Tim Frazier, picked up the ball, pivoted, stepped between two defenders and hit a leaning game winner as time expired. The basket created the final margin in a second half that saw five ties and 12 lead changes and neither team lead by more than four points.
Penn State seniors Battle, Jackson, Brooks, Andrew Jones and Steve Kirkpatrick left the floor of their final game in a Nittany Lion uniform dejected but having left everything on the floor in one of the best games of the first full day of NCAA Tournament action.
Battle finished the game with 23 points on 5-of-11 from three while playing all 40 minutes for the ninth time in his last 10 games. Frazier added 15 points, a game-high seven assists, five rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes. Jackson netted 14 points and four boards in 39 minutes and Jones pulled down eight rebounds and scored for points while holding the Owls Lavoy Allen to just three-points while the pair battled for the whole 40 minutes.
Battle finishes his career at Penn State as the schools all-time leading scorer with 2,213 points, good for 10th all-time in Big Ten history. Jackson came up just 16 points shy of becoming the school's 30th 1,000-point scorer logging 984 career points and 526 rebounds. Frazier ends the season with 173 assists, the fifth-best season total in Lion history.
Fernandez netted 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and Ramone Moore had 23 of his own on 10-of-16, which included several big shots down the stretch. It was a very even game statistically with Temple shooting 49 percent to the Lions 48, Temple winning the rebound battle 28-26 and neither team committing more than 10 turnovers. Temple found an edge at the foul line hitting 13-of-15, well above it's season average, to the Lions 4-of-6, both season lows.
Penn State trailed by two after a first half in which Brooks sat for 11 minutes with foul trouble. Temple led 36-33, after one Allen free throw, when Brooks came from the weak side to attempt to block an Allen shot. He caught his right hand in the backboard cushioning as he came through for the block and fell to the floor clutching a right shoulder he had previously dislocated early in the second half of a 68-51 loss at Illinois on Feb. 1. It felt like déjà vu for Penn State as Brooks went to the locker room to reemerge 10 minutes later with his arm in a sling and an ice pack on the re-dislocated shooting arm.
The Lions rallied. Jackson hit a three and Cammeron Woodyard, on for Brooks, got a baseline drive and lay-up to retake the lead, 38-36. Moore tied the game with a jumper, but Frazier answered with a three. Moore hit again and Khalif Wyatt added a lay-up as Temple retook the lead, 42-41.
Penn State battled back as Jones took an assist from Battle for a lay-up. Wyatt nailed a three and Temple led again, 45-43, with 12:00 to play. A pair of Moore free throws extended the margin to four, but Frazier answered with a lay-up and Jackson buried another three as the Lions retook a 48-47 lead with 9:30 to go.
Fernandez and Moore both hit jumpers and Temple regained the lead. Battle, who had struggled for the first 10 minutes of the half cut to the whole. Frazier saw him and whipped a pass between Fernandez's legs to Battle for lay-up. The play sparked Battle, who hit a three second later to tie the game at 53. Frazier followed with a lay-up off a Battle assist and the Lions led 55-53 with 4:54 to go.
Moore tied the game with a jumper. Jackson answered with a lay-up. Moore buried a three. Battle drove for a lay-up. Allen pulled on offensive rebound and got the put-back to make it 60-59 Temple with 2:14 left.
Frazier hit Jackson who nailed a 16-footer and the Lions led by one. Moore drove baseline, shot and the ball bounced three times before tilting in for a 62-61 Temple lead.
Penn State went to Jackson in the lane, but his 8-footer lipped out. Penn State fouled Fernandez sending him to the line where he hit two to make it 64-61 Temple. Battle, smothered by Owls all evening, took a pass from Frazier, stepped back and drained a 26-foot bomb that had the McKale Center roaring and tied the game at 64 with 16 seconds to play. Temple called a timeout before going to Fernandez for the game winner.
After Temple scored first a Jones put back tied the game at 2-2 and Brooks gave the Lions a 4-2 lead. Temple used a 7-2 run capped by a Rahlir Jefferson dunk and a pair of free throws to take a 9-6 lead. Brooks hit a baseline jumper and Battle drained a pair of threes as Penn State used a 9-0 run to take 15-9 lead with 14:34 to go in the half.
A Brooks' put-back dunk gave him six quick points and Battle hit his third trey in the first 8:00 as Penn State built a 20-11 lead with 11:57 left in the half, forcing a Temple timeout. Nittany Lions had built a 14-2 run after Temple had taken a 9-6 lead. Brooks committed his second foul of the half with 10:44 to play and went to the bench.
Jackson followed his own miss with a short baseline jumper and Frazier used an acrobatic driving lay-up and free throw to give Penn State a 27-19 lead with 7:58 left.
Temple scored the next six points as Penn State struggled offensively with Brooks sitting for the last 10 minutes of the half. Fernandez got a jumper, Moore a lay-up and Battle sent Fernandez to the line for two free throws that cut the Lion lead to two, 27-25, with 5:21 left.
A Fernandez three made it an 11-2 Tempe run and gave the Owl's a 30-29 lead, but a Frazier drive got the lead back quickly. Rahlir Jefferson made a layup and was fouled by Frazier with 28 seconds left. His free throw gave the Owls a 35-33 lead. Jermaine Marshall's three just before the buzzer bounced twice off the rim before falling away, giving the Owls a two-point halftime lead. Battle tallied 13 points and Frazier had eight and three rebounds in the first half, while Fernandez led Temple with 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting.
Penn State shot 52 percent in the first half (13 of 25) and led the rebounding battle, 15-13. The Owls shot 44.4 percent (12 of 27) in the first half. Penn State ends the season with a 19-15 record and falls to 9-11 all-time in nine NCAA Tournament appearances.
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