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Dec. 23, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.; DEC. 23, 2012 - Penn State (7-4) will go to the holiday break happy after jumping out quickly on New Hampshire (4-7) Sunday morning and cruising home to a 72-45 victory in the Bryce Jordan Center. The 27-point win marked the team's largest margin of victory in two seasons under coach Patrick Chambers as the Lions broke 70 points for the third straight game and won their third straight as they continued to shoot the ball at a solid clip. The Nittany Lions will get a couple of days of for Christmas before returning to action on Dec. 29 in a Saturday home tip against Duquesne.
Penn State, which had four players reach double-figures for the second time on the season, was led by redshirt junior Jermaine Marshall (Etters, Pa.) who tallied 15 points, three assists and a career high five steals. Senior Sasa Borovnjak (Belgrade, Serbia) added 11 points, while freshman Brandon Taylor (Tabernacle, N.J.) and redshirt sophomore D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.) had 10 points apiece. Newbill and sophomore Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) led the Lions in rebounds with six each. Senior Nick Colella (New Castle, Pa.) had career bests with three steals and three assists as he and Marshall collected all eight of the Lions steals and helped Penn State to a 23-2 scoring advantage off turnovers.
"We went out today and were ready to go," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We need to create turnovers. Nobody in the Big Ten turns it over - we all know that. So, we need to somehow get deflections, get some steals, get some quick run-outs and get easy baskets. Baskets in the Big Ten, they're tough to come by. So it was nice to see us get some steals."
Penn State was a hot 16-for-29 (.552) in the first half and shot 46 percent for the game as the Lions have recorded their best four shooting performances of the year in their last four games. Penn State outscored the Wildcats 22-14 in the paint and out-rebounded UNH 40-34 while holding the Wildcats to season lows in scoring and shooting as UNH managed to hit just 17 percent in the first half and 22.6 percent for the game. No Wildcat player reached double-digit scoring as UNH was led by nine points each from Ferg Myrick and Scott Morris.
The Wildcats 22.6 percent shooting marked the lowest for a Penn State opponent in at least the last 15 years and neared the Penn State opponent record low of 20.51 percent shot by Syracuse in 1957. UNH's 14-point first half was the lowest scoring half by a Penn State opponent since Denver scored 10 points in the first half in a 60-39 Penn State victory on Dec. 15, 2007.
"We wanted to go out and play harder than them, and I felt like we did that," Chambers said. "The last two weeks, we have been working on our habits, our foundation and our defense, and I think that you saw that today. [New Hampshire] is a very good team, and regardless of the end score, I just hope that we just played that much better."
The Nittany Lions opened the game with a 12-3 run with four points from Borovnjak and three each from Taylor and Marshall. A jumper from UNH's Ferg Myrick and a free throw ended the early PSU run and had the Wildcats within six, 12-6. Penn State responded with a 12-0 run, including two consecutive three-pointers from Taylor and Colella to build a 24-6 lead with 8:50 on the clock.
Myrick again ended the run with a basket, but the Nittany Lions continued their strong offensive showing with 10 straight points with buckets from Borovnjak, freshman Donovon Jack (Reading, Pa.), redshirt sophomore Jon Graham (Baltimore, Ma.) and Newbill. After a scoreless two and a half minutes, the Wildcats scored on a layup, but a Taylor jumper kept Penn State comfortably ahead, 36-10.
The Nittany Lions allowed the Wildcats four more points before the clock ran out on the first half. A bucket by Taylor and a Newbill free throw had Penn State with a 39-14 lead heading into halftime.
The Wildcats scored the first five points in the second half to close the gap to 20, 39-19, but a 7-2 PSU run had Penn State leading by 25, 46-21. The Nittany Lions maintained at least a 22 point lead for the next four minutes before free throws from Newbill and Borovnjak had Penn State's lead at 30, 58-28, with 11:15 remaining in the game.
Penn State reached its largest lead of the game with five straight points to build a strong 34-point advantage, 69-35. Sophomore Kevin Montminy (Centre Hall, Pa.) nailed a trifecta with 42 seconds on the clock to push Penn State past the 70-point mark, 72-43, and send the crowd cheering as they all received free Big Macs for the third straight game.
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UNH's 45 points tied for the second lowest recorded by a Penn State opponent in the Chambers' era. Mount St. Mary's scored 43 last year and Purdue had 45.
UNH's 22.6 percent shooting, marked the lowest Penn State has a held an opponent to in the last 15 years and just shy of the opponent record low of 20.51 percent posted by Syracuse in 1957.
UNH's 14-point first half was the lowest scoring half by a Penn State opponent since Denver scored 10 points in the first half in a 60-39 Penn State victory on Dec. 15, 2007.
Penn State scored more than 70 points for the third time this season and for the third straight game.
Four Penn State players reached double-figure scoring for the second time on the season.
Penn State won its third straight game and fourth straight at home, improving to 6-1 at home on the year.
The Lions held a 34-point lead in the second half, their largest of the season, and posted a season high victory margin of 27 points. It also marked the largest margin of victory in two seasons under coach Patrick Chambers better Penn State's 20-point victory (65-45) over Purdue last season.
The Lions shot 46 percent from the floor, bettering 44 percent shooting for the fourth straight game after not shooting better than 40 percent in the first six games of the season.
Penn State made a season tying seven three-pointers for the third straight game and for the fifth time on the season.
Penn State committed a season low seven turnovers.
The Lions held UNH to an opponent season low 22.6 percent shooting from the floor and 45 points, those also marked season lows for UNH on the year.
Penn State held a 23-2 scoring advantage off of turnovers grabbing eight steals on the day and forcing 15 UNH turnovers.
Jermaine Marshall had four steals in the first half and finished with a career high five steals in the game. He entered the contest ranked fourth in the Big Ten with 2.0 steals per game. He has 25 steals on the year. He finished second on the team with 32 steals last season.
Marshall led the Lions in scoring for the fifth time on the season posting 15 points.
Nick Colella posted career bests of three steals and three assists.