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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Hold Off Duquesne To Improve To 9-1

by on December 11, 2014 6:00 AM

Penn State's men's basketball players may have a thing for making their games dramatic but so far it hasn't mattered.

The Nittany Lions knocked off Duquesne on Wednesday night 64-62 at the Bryce Jordan Center. For the first time all season DJ Newbill did not lead the Nittany Lions in scoring as Geno Thorpe took over the scoring load with 19 points with help from Shep Garner's 13 and Donovon Jack's 11.

The Nittany Lions improved to 9-1 on the year with the victory, the best start for the program since 2000-01.

How It Happened:

It was back and forth action in the first half and a comeback rally in the second as Penn State held on to win 64-62 and improve to 9-1 on the year. 

Penn State and Duquesne both opened up making shots early before cooling off to the tune of a 20-20 tie with just under eight minutes to play in the first half. Neither team led by more than 4 in the final 10 minutes of the first half and a three pointer at the buzzer cut into Penn State's lead for a 29-28 halftime margin.

The opening four minutes of the second half was all Penn State as the Nittany Lions took 10 point lead with 15:59 to play. Penn State continued to trade baskets with Duquesne before the lead was eventually cut to four with 10:21 to go in regulation. 

With DJ Newbill struggling from the field, Penn State relied on the guard combo of Geno Thorpe and Shep Garner to carry the majority of the scoring load. Thorpe led Penn State with 19 points, key defensive plays and free throw shooting to keep the Nittany Lions out in front. 

It wasn't quite enough. Duquesne continued to push for the comeback and cut Penn State's lead to a single point with 7:59 to play. Penn State would not lead by more than 5 for the remainder of the game and a three pointer from deep cut it down to a two point game with 1:36 to play in favor of the Nittany Lions. 

Free throws by Donovon Jack and defense down the stretch kept Penn State in front for the eventual victory. Despite the back and forth nature of the game Penn State would never trail in the second half.

It Was Over When:

A Duquesne three at the buzzer for the win fell short and Penn State escaped with another close victory to improve to 9-1 on the year. Two made free throws by Donovon Jack with 1:14 to play and a Duquesne basket on the next possession would be the only points scored in the final minute of play.

Player Of The Game:

With DJ Newbill struggling to find his shot, Geno Thorpe stepped up on defense and around the basket en route to a 19 point night with 11 points coming from the free throw line out of 14 attempts. Thorpe registered 4 rebounds, 1 steal and only 1 turnover in his 28 minutes of play.

Shep Garner also gets an honorable mention for a 13 point, 4 rebound, 4 assist night. Donovon Jack was also fairly productive with 3-of-4 from the floor and 11 points in only 12 minutes of play.

Stats Of The Game:

Seven different Nittany Lions scored a basket on Wednesday night with four scoring in double figures.

DJ Newbill's 5-of-17 shooting and 11 points was the first time this season he has not led the Nittany Lions in scoring.

Penn State's guards scored 45 of Penn State's 64 points.

Penn State didn't make a field goal for the final 5:30 of regulation.

What's Next:

Penn State returns to the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday for a noon tip against George Washington for the biggest home non-conference game of the season for the Nittany Lions.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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