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Dec. 5, 2009
PHILADELPHIA, PA., Dec. 5, 2009 - The Nittany Lion basketball team (5-3) could never find its rhythm offensively and lost a defensive struggle, 45-42, at Temple Saturday.
Penn State posted its lowest scoring half of the season managing just 20 points in the second half on 30 percent shooting and shot just 34 percent for the game and 5-of-19 from three. Temple was worse, hitting 30 percent from the floor and 3-of-17 from three, but grabbed 17 offensive rebounds which helped them get of 17 more shots than the Lions (60-43) and stave off a last minute comeback and improve to 6-2.
Penn State was led by 11 points from Chris Babb (Arlington, Texas) who hit 3-of-6 from three, all in the first half. Freshman Bill Edwards (Middletown, Ohio) contributed a career best 11 rebounds and eight points, but leading scorer Talor Battle (Albany, N.Y.), who entered the game averaging 20.1 ppg, was held to eight points on 3-of-15 from the floor.
The Owls were paced by 19 points from Ryan Brooks, the only Temple player in double-figures. Lavoy Allen grabbed 12 rebounds (seven offensive) and added eight points as Temple won its sixth-straight over the Nittany Lions and Penn State wrapped up a stretch of five of six games away from the Jordan Center.
The teams went to halftime tied at 22 after struggling through tough shooting halves in which the Lions hit 9-of-23 (39%) and 4-of-12 from three and Temple was 10-of-30 (33%) and 2-of-11 from the arc. They didn't get any warmer in the second half as they combined for 10 points through the first eight minutes to stand tied at 27 with 11:51 to play. Temple would go on to shoot just 26 percent in the final 20 minutes.
Penn State took the lead following a nice Edwards spin move and finish, but Temple posted a 7-1 run, the last on a Brooks break-out and three-point play, to lead 34-30.
A pair of Andrew Jones free throws and a 12-foot jumper from Edwards had the Lions within two, 36-34, but Temple scored the next four to build its biggest lead of the half, 40-34, after Allen grabbed an offensive board, was fouled and hit both charities.
Penn State climbed back within two with four straight points from Battle who converted a pair of free throws and a driving lay-up. Penn State sent Louis Guzman to the line after another Allen offensive board and he made one of two. Edwards then cut the lead to one, 43-40, with a jumper with 1:47 to play.
Brooks hit a jumper for Temple, but Edwards drew a foul on the other end for Penn State and calmly drained a pair of free throws to again get the lead to one, 43-42, with 57 seconds to play.
Penn State stopped Temple on its next possession as Edwards got a steal on a Brooks drive attempt and Penn State called a timeout to set up a play. The Lions didn't get the look they wanted, and Edwards tried to create something but was called for an offensive foul with 14 seconds to play. Jackson sent Brooks to the line after the ensuing in-bound and the Owl hit both charities to push the lead back to three, 45-42, with 11 seconds left.
Penn State pushed the ball up the floor looking for a tying shot, but Battle stumbled at the top of the key, then slipped and then appeared to be tripped as time ran out and the Lions never got off a shot.
Penn State got an early spark from a big David Jackson block and played good defense throughout the half. The Lions built a 13-7 lead on the first of three first half threes from Babb who finished with nine points to lead Penn State in the first 20 minutes.
Jackson extended that lead to seven, 16-9, when he rattled in a three of his own from the top of the key. The teams played cleanly with just five foul calls in the half, one on Penn State, but the lack of dead balls caused the game to blow through two media timeouts and both teams looked tired and a bit ragged after nine consecutive minutes of action without a stoppage.
When a stoppage did finally come Juan Fernandez hit a three after the timeout to tie the game at 16 and cap a 7-0 Temple run. Babb answered with a three to give the Lions back the lead and his third three of the half put Penn State up 22-18 with 3:43 to play, but the Owls closed the half on a 4-0 run getting a pair of jumpers from Lavoy Allen and Ryan Brooks.
Brooks led Temple with eight points in the half as he hit 4-of-8 from the floor. Babb was 3-of-4 from three to lead the Lions who managed just one offensive rebound and trailed the rebounding battle 16-14 at the half.
Penn State will return to the Bryce Jordan Center on Tuesday when they begin a four-game home stand to close out the non-conference schedule. The Nittany Lions will take on UMBC in a 6:30 p.m. tip live on the Big Ten Network on Tuesday. The Lions will close out the non-conference schedule taking on Virginia Tech (Dec. 12), Gardner Webb (Dec. 19) and American (Dec. 21) on the Jordan Center floor.
Penn State and UMBC will be meeting for the first time as Penn State looks to extend a 21-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Jordan Center the last three seasons.