Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Crush Wildcats 59-32 Thursday
Penn State was the better team on paper, and the Nittany Lions proved it on Thursday night, smothering Northwestern 59-32 on the road.
The Nittany Lions opened the game 0-of-3 from the field, but after a slow opening in the first four minutes, quickly found their stroke en route to an easy victory. Penn State led by 15-9 with 10:04 to play in the first half but would explode as the Wildcats struggled to score the ball.
Penn State rebounded the ball well with Northwestern stuck in a scoring drought that lasted over five minutes. The Wildcats failed to reach the 10-point mark until 6:26 remained in the opening half. A 22-3 run by the Nittany Lions opened up the game and turned the Wildcats' senior night festivities sour.
Penn State took a 32-15 lead into the break and never looked back. The Nittany Lions outscored the Wildcats 27-17 in the second half. Northwestern finally broke the 20 point barrier with 15 minutes remaining in the game. They would shoot 23.3 percent from the field scoring 9 of 32 points from the free throw line.
The Nittany Lions were led by DJ Newbill's 12 points. Tim Frazier and Brandon Taylor each scored 11 points. In total, eight different Nittany Lions scored on Thursday night with Penn State shooting 50 percent from the field. Frazier also pulled down 5 rebounds while dishing out 7 assists and grabbing two steals.
On the flip side, Penn State held Northwestern's Drew Crawford and Tre Demps to a combined 3-of-19 for 11 points. Northwestern's 32 points were the lowest total by a Penn State opponent since Juniata scored 26 on Nov. 25, 1989.
The 27-point win also marks the largest margin of victory in a Big Ten game since a 82-49 win at Northwestern in 2000. Penn State has now beaten Northwestern 12 out of the last 15 games, including 5 out of the last 6 in Evanston.
With the victory Penn State improves to 15-15 on the year with six Big Ten conference wins. The Nittany Lions will close out the regular season with a meeting against Minnesota on the road. The contest should be an interesting one as it will have strong implications for both team's postseason hopes.