Team Effort Key to Lion Victory

Penn State tops No. 22 Ohio State (again) as supporting cast backs up Frazier and Newbill.

There were so many obvious storylines emerging from Penn State's 65-63 defeat of No. 22 Ohio State at the Jordan Center Thursday night.

You had Nittany Lion veteran Tim Frazier overcoming Senior Day emotions to score 16 points and help his team rebound from a double-figure first-half deficit.

You had Penn State junior D.J. Newbill once again stamping himself as one of the better players in the Big Ten, as he scored a game-high 23 points despite taking only nine shots.

You had an upset that really was not an upset at all, seeing how PSU (14-14, 5-10) had beaten the Buckeyes (22-7, 9-7) in Columbus at the end of January. Sure, OSU had won six of seven since then, but Pat Chambers' Lions had already proven they could run with Thad Matta's club.

And you had Penn State keeping alive its hopes of finishing with a .500 record or better, and salvaging a largely disappointing season with a bid to some postseason tournament.

“It would mean everything,” Newbill said of that prospect. “Our goal is to be the best team we can be at the end of the season, and it's coming down to the wire. We want to win as many games as possible.”

Doing that will more than likely depend on a less-obvious storyline from Thursday night.

Namely, the efforts of Penn State's supporting players, the guys who have disappeared far too often this season. Don't look for it in the box score, because Newbill and Frazier were the only Lions to reach doubles in scoring.

But a handful of their teammates finally got it done in clutch situations.

“This was definitely a team effort,” Newbill said. “Everyone contributed.”

Forward Brandon Taylor made one bucket on the night. But it was a 3-pointer with 15:15 left in the second half and gave PSU its first lead, 36-35. The Lions never trailed again.

“I know he didn't shoot the ball well (1 of 4), but he had a big three,” Chambers said.

Less than two minutes later, center Jordan Dickerson made his only basket of the game. But it was on a follow slam of a Frazier miss, and sent the crowd into a tizzy.

“That dunk was great,” Chambers said.

With 6:08 left in the game and PSU nursing a 50-49 lead, freshman guard Geno Thorps stripped Buckeye Shannon Scott and went in for a dunk of his own. Thorpe finished with nine points and three rebounds.

“He made some big-time plays,” Chambers said.

With 1:59 left and Penn State up 57-55, forward Donovan Jack had a conventional three-point play over Buckeye LaQuinton Ross.

“That was a big-time move to get an and-one and (then) make the free throw,” Chambers said.

State held on for the two-point win. Which would not have happened without the help of the supporting cast.

“We win together as a unit and we lose together as a unit,” Chambers said. “Tim and D.J. get the glory, no question. But they understand they need these guys.”


• Walk-on Zach Cooper was the only other senior player honored. Chambers rewarded him with his first career start. He played one minute but did not log any stats.

• Dickerson also made his first career start and finished with four rebounds, two points and two blocks.

• Ross led OSU with 19 points.

• Buckeye star guard Aaron Craft had 10 but only played 19 minutes due to foul issues.

• Penn State closes out its regular-season home slate against Wisconsin at the BJC Sunday. The game tips at noon and will be carried by BTN.

• Sunday is “Team Ream Day,” where funds will be raised in honor of the late Brandon Ream. Ream, the one-time PSU punter who died of cancer in November, was heavily involved with the Penn State chapter of Coaches vs. Cancer.

Fight On State Top Stories