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Dec. 29, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's basketball team (8-4) won its fourth straight game Saturday evening with an 84-74 win against Duquesne (7-7). The Nittany Lions posted their highest point total of the season so far to close out the non-conference season.
The Nittany Lions shot 42.4 percent (25-59) to mark their sixth straight outing shooting more than 40 percent. Penn State also shot 40 percent (8-20) from beyond the arc and was 26-of-36 (.722) at the foul line. The Lions out-rebounded the Dukes 50-28, as well as out-scoring Duquesne 28-16 in the paint and 23-7 in second chance opportunities.
Sophomore D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.) led the Lions with a career-high 23 points, while senior Nick Colella (New Castle, Pa.) had a personal-best 15 after hitting 5-of-7 from outside the three-point line. Senior Sasa Borovnjak (Belgrade, Serbia) was third on the team with 14 points. Newbill led the squad in rebounds with 12 and assists with five.
After a close start to the game with neither team developing a strong leading during the first 10 minutes of the game, the Nittany Lions embarked on an 11-0 run starting at the 9:08 mark to take a 10-point lead, 25-15. Colella had two threes during the run for six points, while Newbill added five. Jerry Jones cut off the run with a trey, but a Borovnjak basket had the Lions holding a nine-point lead, 27-18, with 4:31 left in the half.
Despite a Duquesne basket, Martins Abele fouled Newbill who went 2-for-2 at the foul line to make it 29-20 in favor of Penn State. Borovnjak put the Lion lead back into double-digits, 31-20, with a layup. However, six straight Duke points had Duquense within five, 31-26, with 1:24 on the clock.
Colella sank a trifecta at the 1:08 mark and Marshall hit 3-of-4 in two visits to the foul line to give Penn State its largest lead of the half, 39-26. The Dukes added two points at the free throw line before time ran out, but Penn State headed into halftime with an 11-point lead, 39-28.
The Nittany Lion lead grew to 15, 45-30, shortly after the second half started thanks to layups from Borovnjak and Newbill. Duquesne fought to within eight, 47-39, with a 6-0 run, but a three-pointer from Colella and a bucket from sophomore Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) had Penn State leading by 13, 59-39, at 16:02.
Penn State's double-digit lead continued to grow with two free throws from sophomore Jon Graham (Baltimore, Md.) and another Colella trey giving Penn State's its largest lead of the game thus far, 63-42. The Nittany Lions held on to at least a 19-point lead for the next three minutes until a 12-2 Duke run closed the gap to 11, 69-58, with 6:21 left in the game.
Baskets from Graham and Newbill increased Penn State's cushion to 15, 73-58, but two Penn State fouls allowed the Dukes to come within 11, 73-62, thanks to four successful free throw attempts.
During the final three and a half minutes, the squads combined to make 10 trips to the foul line. Duquesne cut Penn State's lead to five, 79-74, thanks to a 12 4 run running the clock down to 56 seconds. Newbill went on to hit 3-of-4 at the line, while freshman Akosa Maduegbunam (Boston, Mass) went 2-for-2 to push Penn State's lead back to 10, 84-74, before the clock ran out securing the win.
The men's basketball team opens Big Ten play on Thursday, Jan. 3 at Wisconsin. Action is set for 8:30 p.m. and will air live on the Big Ten Network. The Nittany Lions return home on Monday, Jan. 7 to take on Indiana before hosting Northwestern on Thursday, Jan. 10.
The Nittany Lions are on Twitter. Follow sports information contact Brian Siegrist (@PSUStretch) and the Nittany Lions (@pennstatembb) to get the inside scoop. The Nittany Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstatebasketball.