Penn State's unreal run at the Big Ten Tournament came to an end Friday afternoon in Chicago, as the reality of playing three games in three days came crashing down on the No. 13 seed Nittany Lions in the second half against No. 4 seed Purdue.
After leading by as many as 11 in the first half and five at the break, Pat Chambers' dead-legged team couldn't buy a basket for most of the second half in losing 64-59.
The Nittany Lions sit at 18-16 and now must wait to see if they earn a non-NCAA postseason tournament bid.
Penn State led 50-44 when Brandon Taylor made a 3-pointer with 9:10 left in the game. But then the Nittany Lions went more than eight minutes without scoring.
D.J. Newbill finally broke the dry spell when he hit a triple with 40 seconds left, but by that time the Boilermakers led 57-53. They hit their free throws down the stretch to solidify their standing as an NCAA team.
Newbill finished with 19, but the Big Ten's leading scorer struggled from the field for most of the game. Nine of his points came in the final minute, as Purdue was holding the Lions at arm's length.
As a team, PSU was ice cold in the final 20 minutes. It made only 7 of 26 shots from the floor and 2 of 7 from the arc. After seeing six players score five or more points in the first half, only Newbill and fellow senior Ross Travis (10 points) reached double figures for the game.
Travis also had nine rebounds in the game.
Purdue (21-11), which was playing for the first time in the tournament after receiving a double bye, got 23 points, nine rebounds and four blocks out of center A.J. Hammons. Guard Rapheal Davis added 13 and did a solid job defensively on Newbill.
Despite the loss, Newbill became only the second PSU player to eclipse 700 points in a season, joining 1950s star Jesse Arnelle in that department. Newbill now has 705 points this year.