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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Knock Off Hampton In First Round Of CBI

by on March 19, 2014 10:29 PM

Penn State's basketball season will continue for at least one more week.

The Nittany Lions knocked off Hampton in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational 69-65 on Wednesday.

How It Happened:

Freshman Geno Thorpe drained some key free throws with less than a minute to play to seal the deal. The Nittany Lions were able to get younger players some experience in the win. Penn State opened the game hot with a 10-2 run. They pushed the lead to 10 points at 18-8 with 12:28 to play in the first half. Hampton stayed in the game though with threes, hitting its first five of the game. Brian Darden had the hot hand, scoring 15 of Hampton's 25 first half points.

Penn State took a 33-25 lead into the break with seven different Nittany Lions having played for 10 or more minutes. Forward Brandon Taylor led the team with 10 first half points behind 3-of-5 from the floor.

Hampton wasn't going to give up without a fight and took a two point lead with 11:17 to play in the game. Penn State pushed back, turning the two point deficit into a 10 point lead at 55-45 with just over five minutes to play in regulation. Hampton cut the lead to three with 29 seconds to play but clutch free throws kept Penn State in control until the final buzzer. 

Turning Point: After falling behind by a basket in the second half, Penn State went on a 12-2 run to open up a 10 point lead. The Nittany Lions got some big contributions and playing time from younger players but used a more veteran lineup to take the lead in the game's final stages.

Player of the Game:  DJ Newbill took command when his team needed him the most and shot a strong 5-of-10 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line for an 19 point outing. Geno Thorpe was also key at critical moments adding 10 points and five rebounds while going 6-of-6 from the line.

Stat of the Game: Penn State shot 40 free throws on the night, a high for the season. The Nittany Lions hit 30 of those chances. The Nittany Lions also dominated the battle on the glass 42-18.

What's Next: The Nittany Lions will travel to face Siena in the second round of the CBI tournament.

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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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