Nittany Lions Edged By Virginia Tech, 66-64
Dec. 12, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Dec. 12, 2009 - Despite a career-high tying 32-point effort by Talor Battle (Albany, N.Y.), the Nittany Lion basketball team was clipped by the Virginia Tech Hokies, 66-64, in a non-conference showdown in front of 11,237 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center Saturday night, the largest non-conference home crowd in five years at the BJC.
With 7.4 seconds remaining in the game, Virginia Tech's Erick Green made the front end of his two free throws to give the Hokies a 66-64 lead. After missing the second one, Battle grabbed the defensive board and drove the ball down the floor, cut inside three Hokie defenders and got to the rim, but his left-handed lay-up in traffic fell off the time expired.
"He had a good crack at it." Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "The ball just didn't go in the basket, but I thought he was tremendous tonight. He kept us in it the whole time and made basketball plays for 40 minutes. The last one just didn't go in, or we're all singing and dancing."
Battle netted 19 points in the first half, including 14 of Penn State's final 20 points of the stanza, as the Nittany Lions (6-4) went into the locker room tied at 36 with the Hokies. Battle fell one rebound shy of a double-double, as he grabbed a team-high nine boards and added a team-high three assists in 36 minutes of action despite having to leave the floor with a twisted ankle mid-way through the first half. Battle, who hit 12-of-26 from the floor, equaled his career-high 32-point effort posted in a victory at Virginia for his second 30-point game of the season.
Junior David Jackson (Farrell, Pa.) added 12 points and seven rebounds, including two three pointers. Battle hit five three-pointers but went just 3-of-10 from the foul line, part of a 13-of-22 (59%) effort by the Lions at the charity stripe. The Nittany Lions shot just 33.8 percent for the game and 28.6 percent in the second half as Battle and Jackson were the only Lions with more than one field goal.
Virginia Tech was led by 27 points from guard Malcolm Delaney, who was 9-of-20 from the floor, and got 12 points and 10 boards from forward Jeff Allen. The Hokies hit 43.6 percent from the floor but just 5-of-15 from three. Penn State won the rebounding battle, 41-38, including 17 offensive boards and committed just six turnovers in the game.
"I think it's really hard to win games when you shoot 28 percent in the second half," DeChellis said. "We didn't shoot the ball well from the free throw line tonight either. We rebounded, we defended, and we kind of got ourselves going, but we just made some poor decisions the last couple minutes of the game. Just stupid fouls. I don't know if they had a basket the last few minutes of the game."
Virginia Tech (8-1) opened up the second half scoring seven of the first 10 points to take a 43-39 lead. A Jackson three pointer and a free throw by Battle tied it back up at 43. Delaney scored the next five points to give the Hokies a 48-47 lead. A Bill Edwards (Middletown, Ohio) jumper and a Jackson tip-in cut the score to 48-47 heading into a media timeout with 11:43 remaining.
Delaney continued his dominating play, scoring the next five points of the game. With Virginia Tech leading 53-47, Jackson had another nice rebound tip-in. Fourteen seconds later, Battle grabbed a defensive rebound and took it the length of the floor for a layup, cutting the score to 53-51 in favor of the Hokies. Delaney answered back with a three- pointer. The 6-3 guard and accounted for the last 13 Virginia Tech points heading into the 7:04 media timeout.
Battle and freshman Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) scored on lay-ups on back-to-back possessions to make it a 56-55 lead for the Hokies with 6:15 to play. The Nittany Lions connected on four consecutive free throws, two by Chris Babb and two by Andrew Jones, to regain the lead, 59-58, with 4:20 remaining. It was Penn State's first lead since the 19:05 mark of the second half. However, Virginia Tech quickly grabbed the lead again with two free throws by Delaney after Babb was whistled for an intentional foul on the Hokie's break-away lay-up with 3:30 left. Tech did not convert with the extra possession, but Penn State failed to cut the lead on its next possession as it turned the ball over on an illegal screen call that fouled Andrew Jones out with 2:47 to play.
Virginia Tech again failed to score and the Battle drew a foul from Delaney, but the junior failed to connect on either free throw leaving the Hokies up one, 60-59, with 1:52 to play. Andrew Ott sent Dorenzo Hudson to the line where he hit two to extend the lead to three. The Hokies would score their last 10 points of the game at the foul line.
Battle missed a three and Babb missed a driving jumper on Penn State next possession and the Lion again sent Delaney to the line where he hit one of two.
Battle cut the lead to 63-61 with a driving lay-up down the lane with 18 seconds to play, and Babb quickly fouled Delaney on the inbounds. The Hokie hit both to rebuild the lead to four. Battle banged home his fifth three-pointer to make it a one-point game, 65-64, with seven seconds to play. Babb sent Erick Green to the line where he hit one of two to leave the door open for the Lions, but Battle's late game heroics came up just short.
Virginia Tech jumped out to an early 6-0 lead within the first three minutes of the game. The Lions strung together back-to-back three pointers by Battle and Jackson and went on a 12-3 run to take a 12-9 lead heading into the first media timeout at the 14:20 mark.
Virginia Tech answered back with a 7-1 run following the timeout to take a 16-13 lead. With Penn State trailing 18-15, Battle returned to the floor to the relief of Nittany Lion fans after suffering right ankle sprain when he landed on a Hokie's foot following a three-point attempt. He quickly cashed in on back-to-back baskets to tie the game up at 20. Virginia Tech took a 25-23 lead on a lay-up by Victory Davilla, but Battle answered back with a lay-up and then a three on consecutive possessions, giving Penn State a 28-25 lead and forcing the Hokies into a timeout. Penn State capped off the 7-0 run with a pair of free throws from Jones to take its largest lead of the game, 30-25, with 5:15 to play in the half. Jones finished with seven points, including going 5-6 from the charity stripe.
The Hokies cut the lead to one when JT Thompson scored on back-to-back baskets making the score 30-29 in favor of Penn State. Battle answered back with a three pointer and a made free throw to give the Lions a 34-31 lead. Penn State scored its final points of the half when Ott grabbed a defensive rebound in traffic, outlet the ball to Cameron Woodyard at half court who then threw an alley-hoop to a soaring Jeff Brooks who cashed in to the roar of the Bryce Jordan Center fans.
Penn State will take a week off for finals before returning to the Bryce Jordan Center next Saturday to face Gardner Webb in a 9:00 p.m. tip on ESPNU.