Newbill Scored, Nittany Lions Were Floored

Senior standout went off for 37 but received little help as Penn State fell in OT to remain winless in the Big Ten.

D.J. Newbill had a record-setting day when Penn State took on Purdue at the Jordan Center Saturday afternoon.

His 37 points were the most ever by a Nittany Lion in a Big Ten game, eclipsing the 35 Joe Crispin put up against Iowa 14 years ago. The 37 points were also the most by any Penn State player since Bob Weis tallied 38 at Duke half a century ago.

Newbill scored 29 points after halftime, tallied PSU's final 14 points of the game, had as many field goals (13) as all his teammates combined, and attempted (11 to 10) and made (10 to 7) more free throws than the rest of the Lions.

All of which prompted Boilermaker guard Jon Octeus to say, “He's an NBA guard.”

Added Boilermaker coach Matt Painter: “You have to give him credit. He was great.”

Added PSU coach Pat Chambers: “He did some great things today.”

So what did Newbill have to say about his huge afternoon?

Nothing. Despite Newbill's assault on the record book, the fact that he got no help from his teammates when the game was on the line proved to be Penn State's undoing in an 84-77 overtime loss to a Boilermaker outfit that had not won a road game in more than a year.

The Lions are now 0-5 in the Big Ten and the only conference team without a victory against a league foe.

It's such a sad state of affairs that no player -- not even the team captain who went off for 37 -- wanted to discuss it afterward. So it fell to Chambers to handle all of the explaining.

“He needs help,” Chambers said of his star, who boosted his Big Ten-best scoring average from 20.8 points to 21.7 Saturday. “If we don't get him help, it's gonna be tough for us to battle through.”

As it stands, they are in the steepest of uphill battles, once again mired in sole possession of last place in the league. The Lions, who went 12-1 in non-conference play, are now 12-6 overall.

Purdue improved to 11-7 and 3-2.

“We were very fortunate,” Boilermaker coach Matt Painter said.

And he was correct. But to their credit, the Boilers made the most of their breaks, something PSU has failed to do during its slide.

Even though the Lions went the final 3:25 of regulation scoring only six points (all by Newbill), they still found themselves up 67-64 after a pair of Newbill free throws with 12 seconds showing.

In a timeout, Chambers ordered his team to foul a Purdue player, as to that point the Boilers were 8 of 14 on 3-pointers in the half. PSU's Geno Thorpe hacked Octeus with more than nine seconds remaining, and with the Lions over the double-bonus limit Octeus had two shots.

He missed the first. Good news for Penn State. Then he missed the second. More good news for the Lions. All they had to do was snare the rebound.

But as has been the case in so many clutch situations in the Big Ten, Penn State could not secure a defensive rebound when it mattered most. Center Jordan Dickerson's case of butterfingers allowed Boiler Kendall Stephens to grab the board.

“We get the rebound there, the game's over,” Chambers said.

Or they simply could have fouled again, sending Stephens to the line for a pair with his team down three.

“We've got to foul and we didn't,” Chambers said. “And he hits a big three.”

Yep, Stephens calmly dribbled out beyond the arc, and popped a triple to tie it with five seconds left.

“I was able to get my feet behind the line and knock it down,” Stephens said. “It was probably the biggest shot of my career.”

It tied the score, but might as well have been the game-winner. Though five seconds remained, PSU didn't even get a shot off before the buzzer. In overtime, the Lions were emotionally finished. Purdue scored the first eight points to effectively end it.

“When you're in position to win the game and the other team makes a special play, it takes a little bit out of you,” Painter said.

“Completely deflated,” Chambers said. “We can't let that bother us. We can't get down. We talk about being men and acting like men. That's what we've got to do.”


Flavor Flav

THE STARS CAME OUT

Speaking of deflated, Saturday's pratfall came in front of a noisy season-best crowd of 8,949 that included a variety of kinds of famous people.

A few, like former Lion and NFL linebacker Tim Shaw, former Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and X-Games star Jamie Bestwick, were there as part of the Team Ream charity event to raise money for the fight against cancer.

Rapper Flavor Flav was in the house to support his relative, Lion rookie guard Shep Garner.

Penn State football coach James Franklin was also on hand (with his family), as were current Nittany Lions Anthony Zettel and Brian Gaia, former PSU assistant football coach Jay Paterno, and Lion football great Bruce Clark.

Franklin was by far the most sought after selfie subject, followed by … uh … Mr. Flav.

“Everything was amazing, it really set us up for success,” Chambers said of the atmosphere. “It's a shame we didn't live up to our side of it.”


BALANCING ACT

The only other Lion close to doubles in scoring was forward Brandon Taylor, who pumped in all nine of his points (on a trio of treys) in the first half. This after PSU put a season-high six men into double figures in a loss at Indiana Tuesday.

The Boilermakers were much more balanced. Stephens had 22, and center A.J. Hammons came off the bench for 21 and 12 rebounds. Octeus had 13 and forward Vince Edwards 11.


SHORT SHOTS

Lion forward Ross Travis had 12 rebounds to give him 731 for his career. That ranks eighth all-time at Penn State. … Garner was 1 of 9 from the floor and 1 of 6 from the arc. He might have been a bit amped that Flav was in the house. … Dickerson played 24 minutes and had no points, no shots, one rebound, three turnovers and five fouls. He did block two shots, though. ... See the box score here.


UP NEXT…

Penn State is at Michigan State Wednesday. The game tips at 7 p.m. and will be carried by BTN.


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