After sitting out PSU's previous game (a home win over Rhode Island last Thursday) with a left shoulder injury, Cornley returned with a vengeance against the Gators. He finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds as the Nittany Lions improved to 25-11, matching their season record for wins.
I can honestly say I wasn't 100 percent, Cornley said. But as a senior, you have to put your best foot forward.
We thought we could get the ball to [Cornley] and play inside-out, Lion coach Ed DeChellis added. I thought it was an advantage for us.
Florida, which entered the game 18-1 at O'Connell Center this year, fell to 25-11.
Penn State gained control midway through the second half, grabbing a 52-43 lead on a Stanley Pringle 3-pointer. The Gators used a 9-1 run to make things interesting late, drawing within 61-59.
We went sideways a couple of times, and they feed off the energy in the building, DeChellis said of the Gators' full-court press and the O-Center, where Florida had lost only for non-conference games in the last nine years.
But the Lions responded by working the ball inside to Cornley, who muscled in a shot jumper. He dominated the paint all night. It sparked a 6-0 run that iced it.
Said Gator coach Bill Donavan: I thought this was going to be one of the best teams we played all year. Cornley is a nasty competitor, and I mean that with all respect. He is the best player in the Big Ten.
Pringle finished with 15 points and was 5 of 9 on triples. Leading scorer Talor Battle was only 4 of 13 from the floor and 1 of 8 from the arc, but came through with five assists and was 4 of 4 from the stripe down the stretch. Forward D.J. Jackson had one of his better games of the year, with 14 points and four boards.