Battle Goes Off vs. Virginia

Penn State guard scores a career-high 32 as Lions win third straight in Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Talor Battle scored 28 of his career-high 32 points in the second half and Penn State held off a late Virginia charge in winning 69-66 in Charlottesville Monday night.

In doing so, the Nittany Lions became the first Big Ten team to win three straight games in the 11 years of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Penn State improved to 5-2 with the win while the Cavaliers dropped to 4-3 with their first home loss of the year.

The Nittany Lions trailed 27-21 at the half but seized control of the game as Battle led a 15-4 run to start the second period. State led 36-31 when Battle fed center Andrew Jones for a dunk with 14:21 remaining and kept Virginia at arm's length until the final minute.

Battle had another pick and roll dish to Jones for a dunk a few minutes later. And the Virginia big men, who had been cheating out on Battle, were suddenly forced to play him more honestly. Getting mostly one-on-one coverage, he went off.

The lead reached 57-46 when Chris Babb made a pair of free throws with 2:45 left before mental errors and poor free-throw shooting allowed the Cavaliers to claw back in.

In the final 2:30, PSU committed two turnovers and four fouls while missing seven free throws.

A series of 3-pointers and free throws by guard Sammy Zeglinski (16 points on the night) allowed Virginia to capitalize on State's mistakes, and his final triple cut the lead to 67-66 with eight seconds left. But Battle was quickly fouled and made two shots with five seconds left.

Up 69-66, the Lions attempted to hack Zeglinski before he could get off a 3-point try, but Battle missed him. Zeglinski's desperation shot at the buzzer was well left and PSU escaped with the victory.

Rookie guard Tim Frazier was the only other Lion in doubles with 11 points and five assists. While the PSU big men did not do much scoring damage, they controlled the glass, as Jeff Brooks (9), David Jackson (7) and Andrew Jones (7) helped State forge a 34-28 rebounding edge.

Penn State beat Virginia Tech at the Jordan Center in 2007 and won at Georgia Tech last year. This was the only game in the Challenge Monday night, as the Big Ten will try to win the event for the first time in the remaining games Tuesday and Wednesday.

Penn State is off until Saturday, when it travels to Philadelphia to face Temple.


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