Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Outlast Providence In Overtime, 55-52
Jermaine Marshall opened the game with a three, struggled to find his shot for 39 minutes, and made one from long range when it mattered most as Penn State knocked off Providence, 55-52, Friday night in the second game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Challenge.
In a game that saw the Nittany Lions score only 14 first-half points, Tim Frazier and DJ Newbill put Penn State on their backs, scoring 20 second-half points while shooting 7-for-9 from the field.
Providence was crippled from injury. The Friars were limited to five scholarship players but managed to take advantage of the Nittany Lions' shooting woes despite only shooting 26 percent from the field themselves.
Penn State only connected on six shots in the first half and were limited to only two free throws. Heading into Friday night's contest, over 34 percent of the Nittany Lions' offensive production came from the free throw line.
As a result, the Friars took a 16-14 lead into the half despite playing without leading scorer Bryce Cotton, who injured his ankle in the Friars' 77-75 loss to Massachusetts on Thursday night.
To open the second half, Providence began to hit shots as Ladontae Henton hit two straight 3-pointers to help give the Friars a 28-20 lead with 14:07 left in the game. Henton added another basket only moments later to extend the lead to 10, forcing Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers to call a timeout.
The Nittany Lions followed the timeout with a 10-2 run to cut the lead to one with 8:48 remaining in the game. As the teams battled back and forth, the Nittany Lions' pressure defense forced turnovers.
Frazier gave the Nittany Lions a 38-37 lead with 3:17 to go and hit a 3-pointer to give Penn State 40-37 lead with 2:23 to go.
On the following possession, a foul by Sasa Borovnjak led to two free throws that gave the Friars a slim 41-40 lead with 1:08 remaining.
With only 46 seconds remaining, Marshall hit a dagger three to give Penn State a 43-41 lead. Following free throws by Providence's Kadeem Batts that tied the game with just over 18 seconds left, Penn State failed to score to end regulation, as Marshall missed a three with only two seconds left.
Where a lesser team may have folded after struggling from the field, the Nittany Lions didn't look back, opening the overtime period on a 7-2 run that forced the issue on the shorthanded Friars, who never were able to bring the game closer than two in the five-minute extra period. Freshman forward Brandon Taylor added a crucial basket during that run and continued to look composed on the floor with only limited playing time three games into the season.
Despite the offensive struggles, Frazier put together another stellar stat line, scoring 19 points while grabbing nine rebounds to go with seven assists and four steals. Marshall added 13 points and Newbill had a quiet night scoring nine points, but his two free throws sealed the game for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State improves to 2-1 on the season and will play a talented Akron team on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN3. Sunday's game will be the Nittany Lions' third and final game in Puerto Rico.