Penn State beats cold-shooting Nebraska 56-43
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Coach Patrick Chambers made it clear he didn't care that Penn State's 56-43 victory over Nebraska on Saturday turned into what he called a ''rock fight.''
Geno Thorpe scored 14 points, Brandon Taylor 11 and Penn State was able to take advantage of Nebraska's cold shooting to saddle the Huskers with their sixth straight Big Ten road-game defeat.
The teams combined for just 35 first-half points before picking up the pace in the final 20 minutes. Nebraska shot 15 of 51 from the field and just 2 of 20 from 3-point range.
''It was ugly, it was a rock fight, and I'm OK with ugly, just so you know,'' Chambers said.
Nebraska (13-10, 5-6 Big Ten) trailed by as many as 11 points late in the game but closed to within 44-41 before Penn State (15-9, 3-8) pulled away with just over 3 minutes to play.
''We haven't been a very good outside-shooting team; our 3-point percentage is really low this season,'' Nebraska coach Tim Miles said.
''Tonight we were 2 for 20. I didn't think we had great sharpness or crispness on our offense.''
Nebraska was led by 13 points from Terran Petteway and 12 from Shavon Shields. That duo has averaged a combined 35 points per game this season.
''It takes a team to stop a player like that who can score at will,'' Penn State's D.J. Newbill said about Petteway. ''We defended and rebounded and helped each other out, that's what that was.''
Newbill added 11 points for Penn State and moved to fourth place on Penn State's career scoring chart with 1,609 points. He is just the second player in the program's history to score 500 points in three consecutive seasons.
Nebraska's pressure defense forced Penn State into seven second-half turnovers - 16 overall - and put the Lions on their heels in the second half.
''I'm not sure how many turnovers we had but we were throwing the ball all over the gym,'' Penn State's Thorpe said. ''We stick to our game plan and try to play solid defense.''
The Lions were 19 of 44 from the floor and 9 of 21 from long range. They outrebounded Nebraska 39-26 as Newbill and Jordan Dickerson each had six.
''We didn't make shots, we turned ball over, but we kept a great attitude; the defense was terrific,'' Chambers said.
Seven early, second-half points from Thorpe and 3-pointers from Garner and Taylor helped Penn State open a 37-17 lead before Tarin Smith and Petteway put up seven straight to cut the gap to 13.
The Huskers' momentum continued when Smith popped a 10-footer along the baseline and Penn State went on a scoring drought of its own for more than 7 minutes. Nebraska closed to 37-29 to force a Penn State timeout.
The Huskers stayed close with two free throws from Walter Pitchford, a layup from Tai Webster and a long 3 from Petteway to make it 44-41.
''It's important for us to go through that and to be able to respond the way we did was good to see,'' Chambers said.
Nebraska was 4 of 23 from the field and 1 of 9 from long range in the opening half. The Huskers were scoreless from 15:43 to the 5:10 mark and after that hit two free throws until David Rivers rebounded Benny Parker's missed 3-pointer and put in layup at the first-half buzzer.
''There was real opportunity lost the first eight or 10 minutes of the game,'' Miles said. ''I thought our defense was really good.''
Nebraska: Terran Petteway became Nebraska's 27th 1,000-point scorer and the second to eclipse that mark this week. Shavon Shields went over 1,000 on Tuesday in a win against Northwestern. . Petteway, if he maintains his current averages of 19 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists, will become one of just four Big Ten players since 2000 to accomplish that.
Penn State: The Lions have not allowed more than 66 points in their last six games. . D.J. Newbill's 1,609 career points ranks ninth among active Division I players.
Nebraska is at home against No. 5 Wisconsin on Tuesday.
Penn State travels to No. 20 Ohio State on Wednesday.
Nebraska recently scored 42 points against Minnesota and 44 against Michigan.
Nebraska coach Tim Miles first faced Penn State's Newbill when Miles coached at Colorado State and Newbill played for Southern Mississippi.