Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Knock Off Undefeated Bucknell, 60-57
Only three days after learning that All-Big Ten senior guard Tim Frazier would miss the remainder of the season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon, Penn State took down 5-0 Bucknell, 60-57 Friday night in the 100th meeting between the two programs.
“People all around us wanted to mail it in,” Chambers said, reflecting on the past week and the loss of Frazier. “But we didn’t feel that way, we felt like we could compete, we could play.
“I was really proud of their approach to practice the past three days. They didn’t let the distractions of the outside distract them. They said, you know what coach, we’re going to play Penn State basketball, play hard, and we’ll see what happens.”
Penn State began the game struggling to hit open shots as the Bison raced out to a 10-2 lead with 13:34 to go in the half. The Nittany Lions were able to force 12 first-half turnovers, keeping them in the game, and only found themselves down 22-16 at the break despite a 5-for-31 performance from the field.
But no cold streak lasts forever.
Freshman Brandon Taylor, who scored eight points in the first half, drained a 3-pointer to open a second half that saw the Nittany Lions shoot 65 percent from the field, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Taylor played exceptional in his first start for the Nittany Lions, scoring 16 crucial points.
“Coach says shoot the ball,” Taylor said following the game. “So I didn’t have any second thoughts. We work in practice every day on shooting and coach wants us to be confident and shoot the ball with confidence.”
With the offense back on track, Penn State battled back and forth with Bucknell until the Nittany Lions were able to take a one point, 37-36 lead with just under 12 minutes to go in the game.
The Nittany Lions controlled the game from there, opening up a seven-point lead on three separate occasions until a Cameron Ayers jumper with 2:18 to go saw Penn State’s margin cut to only three points.
Both teams were unable to score again until Sasa Borovnjak rebounded and scored a DJ Newbill miss with 35 seconds to go, giving Penn State a five point, 57-52 advantage.
A Cameron Ayers’ deep 3-point shot cut the Nittany Lions' lead to only two with nine seconds remaining. Jermaine Marshall missed the second of two free throws, giving the Bison one last shot to tie the game in the final three seconds. Ayers was unable to find the magic one last time, and the Bryce Jordan Center crowd erupted as the Nittany Lions picked up their third win of the season.
Taylor scored 16 points for the Nittany Lions in his first start, trailing only Marshall’s 17. Newbill added 10 points while dishing out seven assists and collecting seven rebounds.
“We’ve been practicing without Tim for a couple days now,” Newbill said. “Other guys are just stepping up. I felt good running the point, I’m working on it. It’s what we’ve got and I feel good.”
Penn State now leads the all-time series with Bucknell, 76-24. The Nittany Lions will face Boston College on Wednesday at 9:15 p.m. as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Wednesday’s matchup will be the second consecutive as part of the challenge. Penn State knocked off the Eagles, 62-54 last year in Chestnut Hill, Mass.