Nittany Lions Stun Buckeyes
By Rob Ogden
COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Ohio State couldn't get a shot off, D.J. Newbill couldn't miss.
The Penn State junior drained a jumper with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime, and the Nittany Lions defeated Ohio State 71-70 for their first win in Columbus since 1998.
Newbill finished with 25 points on 9-of-20 shooting, including a 3-point dagger to tie the game at 65 with 11 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Buckeyes (16-5, 3-5 Big Ten), meanwhile, couldn't get a shot off on either of their final two possessions, and had just two field goals in the final 13:29 of the game.
The loss was coach Thad Matta's first to Penn State in 18 career games, and Ohio State's fifth loss in six Big Ten contests.
"This hurts the most out of every game since I've been to Ohio State," said senior Lenzelle Smith Jr., so infuriated by the loss that he struggled to get the words out.
"We've just got to back to being a team, wanting to win. As a team, I don't think we care enough. These losses don't hurt enough.
"This is embarrassing. Every other team in our conference is laughing at us."
The Penn State bench erupted onto the floor as the final buzzer sounded with the ball still firmly in Aaron Craft's hands.
Seconds earlier, Craft threw a hand in Newbill's face as the game-winner floated towards the basket.
"I take credit for it," Craft said. "Obviously he's a great player. I tried to put a hand up, he knocked it down.
"We weren't the tougher basketball team. They've got guys that can make plays and they did it. He hit a big shot and we didn't."
It was one of many big shots for Newbill.
Aside from the game-winner and the 3-pointer that tied the game with seconds remaining in regulation, Newbill also drained a 3 to tie the score at 62 with just more than a minute remaining.
On the final shot, Newbill said he knew the Buckeyes would take away the right side. So he cut back, pulled up, and knocked it down.
“I just did a right-to-left crossover and pulled up with confidence," he said. "Luckily, it went down.”
Ohio State led by 11 points with fewer than 8 minutes to play, but the Nittany Lions (11-10, 2-6) slowly chipped away. Newbill had 17 points after halftime.
"Eleven-point lead with 8 minutes to go. We made some key mistakes defensively down the stretch," Matta said. "We didn't execute."
The Buckeyes had just seven field goal attempts in the final 25 minutes of the game, including just two in overtime, compared to 9 overtime attempts for Penn State.
Craft scored the Buckeyes' penultimate field goal with 36 seconds remaining in regulation: a layup that gave Ohio State a 64-62 lead.
Penn State's Tim Frazier, a first-team all-Big Ten preseason selection, went to the line with the chance to tie the game on the other end. But Frazier, who came into the game as an 80 percent free-throw shooter, missed both attempts.
Smith made one of two attempts from the line on the other end, setting up Newbill's game-tying shot.
Up three points with the shot clock off, Matta said he considered fouling the Nittany Lions in order to avert a 3-point attempt, but he decided otherwise.
"I felt as good as our defense is, at home, I thought we could get the stop," he said.
Instead, Newbill drained the shot from the corner and eventually led Penn State to their first win over the Buckeyes in 19 tries.
The loss left the Buckeyes searching for what they're lacking.
"Toughness, character, camaraderie, leadership," Smith said.
"I''ll never give up on my team. When we figure it out, I'll take us against anybody in the country, but right now, we've got to find what were' missing."
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