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Lions blow 20-point lead to lose Return to Rec in OT

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Penn State junior D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.) and graduate student Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) combined for 48 points on Saturday afternoon but their efforts proved not enough as the mens basketball team fell to Princeton, 81-79, in overtime at Rec Hall in the Return to Rec, presented by AAA, event. Saturdays contest marked the first time that the Lions have played at Rec Hall since 1996.

Frazier had  the team within one, 80-79, but missed his second free throw and Brandon Taylor (Tabernacle, N.J.) was whistled for a foul on the rebound to send the Tigers back to the line. T.J. Bray hit 1-2 from the free-throw line to give Princeton a two-point lead with 2.9 seconds on the clock for the PSU in-bounds play. Frazier missed his shot at the buzzard and was unable to force a second extra period.For the game, Newbill went 11-of-19 from the field, pulled down six rebounds and tallied three assists in his 27th-consecutive double figure scoring effort while Frazier knocked down 7-of-16 from the floor, two-of-four from three-point range and 8-of-11 from the free throw line and posted six assists to lead the Blue and White. Fraziers 24 points moves him past Monroe Brown (1989-92) and into a tie with Dan Earl (1993-99) in Penn States career-scoring ledger with 1,256 career tallies.

Junior forward Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) also gave a powerful performance, turning in his eighth-career double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Penn State falls to 8-4 this season with just one contest remaining before the start of the conference schedule while Princeton improves to 8-1 on the year. The Nittany Lions shot 50 percent (29-of-58) from the field, 28.6 percent (4-of-14) from beyond the arc and 73.9 percent (17-of-23) from the charity stripe. PSU outrebounded the Tigers 43-22 but could not overcome a season-high 20 turnovers as the Tigers notched 25 points off of the Lion errors.

Senior Will Barrett led the charge for Princeton, recording 24 points on six treys, two jumpers and two free throws. The Tigers had four other players in double figures as Hans Brase posted 14, Spencer Weisz registered 13 and Ben Hazel and Clay Wilson notched 11 points apiece. PU shot 41.9 percent (26-of-62) from the floor, 31.3 percent (10-of-32) from three-point range and 73.1 percent (19-of-26) from the free throw line.

The Tigers opened the scoring early as Brase notched a layup just 15 seconds into the action. Frazier responded with a layup and a free throw to give the Lions their first lead of the contest. A layup by Princetons Denton Koon put the Tigers back in front momentarily until a pair of free throws by Brandon Taylor (Tabernacle, N.J.) moved the Lions ahead at the 5-4 mark. Princeton would not regain the lead until overtime.

The Tigers stayed within striking distance until a Newbill jumper at the 6:26 mark sparked a 12-1 run for PSU, giving the Blue and White a 33-18 advantage. PU added five more points and Penn State tacked on two to put the count at 35-23 at the intermission.

The Lions came out hot in the second half, registering an 8-0 run out of the break. Travis opened up the run with a layup, Taylor followed with a jumper in the paint, Frazier added a three and Newbill laid the ball in to give PSU its largest lead of the contest at 46-26 with just under 15 minutes left in regulation.

The Blue and White maintained a double digit lead until a three-pointer by Barrett brought the Tigers within nine at the 3:45 mark. Princeton capitalized on the late swing in momentum, knocking down two additional treys and five free throws to tie the game at 66 and force the Lions into overtime.

PU continued to control the momentum at the start of overtime as Brase put in a layup and Barrett drained another three. Frazier knocked down three free throws to put the Blue and White within two but the Tigers quickly responded with four more points. Frazier dropped a layup in and freshman Geno Thorpe (Pittsburgh, Pa.) went one-of-two from the line, bringing the Lions back within three.

Frazier and Newbill added two more layups but could not regain the lead as the Tigers drained six more free throws. Down by two with five seconds remaining, Allen Roberts (Middletown, Ohio) inbounded the ball to Frazier and the guard attempted to lay the ball in but fell just short as Penn State fell 81-79.

The Blue and White will close out the non-conference schedule on Sunday, Dec. 22, hosting Mount St. Marys. Tip is set for 2 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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