Against No. 24 Ohio State in Columbus Wednesday, junior guard D.J. Newbill proved to be that man. After coming through with a game-changing dunk in a win over Nebraska at the Jordan Center last week, Newbill drilled two monster shots against the Buckeyes in a 71-70 overtime win.
The first was a 3-pointer that tied the game at 65-65 with 13 seconds to go in regulation, and the game went to overtime. The second was a 15-footer over OSU defensive ace Aaron Craft with 1.9 seconds left in OT that proved to be the game-winner.
"I just did a right-to-left crossover and pulled up with confidence," Newbill said. "Luckily, it went down."
With the victory, Penn State improved to 11-10 on the season and 2-6 in the conference, and broke an 18-game losing streak to the Buckeyes.
"We weren't the tougher basketball team tonight," Craft said. "That's what it comes down to."
Newbill finished with 25 to lead the Nittany Lions, and his performance offset a crazy up-and-down game by backcourt mate Tim Frazier. Guarded by Craft most of the night, Frazier was limited to eight points, but also had 10 rebounds and seven assists.
However, he committed seven turnovers, too. And he seemed to be out of sorts when the game was on the line. Frazier missed two free throws with 29 seconds left in regulation, when the Lions were trailing 64-62. In overtime, with PSU trailing 68-67, he crashed into OSU's Lenzelle Smith Jr. as he was shooting a 3-pointer.
Smith made two of three, giving the Buckeyes a 70-67 lead and setting up Newbill's late-game heroics.
First, Newbill beat the shot clock with a drive to the hoop to cut the advantage to 70-69 with 45 seconds left. Ohio State had a chance to pad the lead but an Amir Williams turnover in the lane with 14 seconds left gave the ball back to PSU.
Newbill ended up with the ball on the right wing, and since he obviously had the hot hand Craft switched over from Frazier to guard him. Newbill powered toward the lane then pulled up -- leaving Craft backpedaling -- and hit the game-winner.
The Buckeyes, who fell to 16-5 and 3-5, did not get a shot off before the buzzer.
It marked Penn State's first road win over a ranked team since the infamous 38-33 taffy-pull at No. 16 Illinois in 2009. But Chambers was not concerned about ending streaks.
"We came in here just trying to get better and we came out with a win," he said. "We hit some good shots and made some good stops. We're a new team. This is 2013-14. We're worried about this year and we can't be worried about the past."
There were other key players for Penn State. Forward Brandon Taylor shook off a recent cold spell and was an offensive machine in the first half. He finished with 19 points.
And SMU transfer Jordan Dickerson came off the bench to log a season-high 22 minutes. He blocked five shots and appeared to alter just as many. He also had a key dunk off an offensive rebound late in the game.
Finally, freshman guard Graham Woodward made his second straight start. He went 4 of 6 from the field and 3 of 5 from the arc for a career-high 11 points. He made triples to start each half for Penn State, and only had one turnover in the game.
LaQuinton Ross had 16 to lead Ohio State. Smith had 15 and Williams 12. The Buckeyes had won 80 straight home games over unranked opponents.
After losing six in a row to begin league play, Penn State has now won two straight. The Lions play host to Purdue at the Jordan Center Sunday in an 11:30 a.m. tip.
Penn State lost a controversial 65-64 decision to the Boilermakers in West Lafayette Jan. 18.
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