STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy, but Penn State finally managed its first Big Ten Conference win of the season.
D.J. Newbill scored 16 points to lead the Nittany Lions past Nebraska 58-54 Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
After several near misses, including a loss to Purdue Saturday in which the Nittany Lions led by three with 16 seconds to go but lost at the buzzer, Penn State was able to finally close out a game.
“I think it’s great for us,” Penn State player Tim Frazier said. “In our last couple games we’ve been right there. Finally we were able to finish out a game. The ball bounced our way.”
Terran Petteway paced the Cornhuskers (9-9, 1-5) with 15, and Ray Gallegos added 10.
Nebraska coach Tim Miles sounded like a coach that knew his team let one slip away.
“I thought our kids kept fighting. We had basically given the game up with some silly turnovers earlier than that. You’ve just got to keep fighting,” he said.
With the breakthrough Big-Ten win finally in hand, Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said he had thoughts of affirmation instead of relief.
“That’s Penn State basketball. That’s it,” he said. “We work hard and that’s what I want to see. I want to see my guys make winning plays.”
Nebraska led 29-22 at halftime, but Penn State grabbed a 47-45 lead with 4:19 left in the second when Newbill scored on a driving layup.
The Huskers replied with a trey by Shavon Shields, but Taylor made a free throw and Donovan Jack made a putback to pull Penn State within 51-50.
Penn State’s full-court press forced a turnover, with Frazier diving for the loose ball, then passing it from the sitting position to Newbill, who threw down a thunderous dunk and was fouled. He made the free throw and Penn State never trailed again.
“It was just instinct. I dove, I got the ball, I saw him up there, I threw it and he made a tremendous play,” Frazier said.