Nebraska Crushes Penn State in Foul-Ridden Affair

Story posted February 21, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Maddie Brightman

Big Ten basketball fans were in for a treat Thursday night, as two teams playing some of their best basketball all season were set to meet at brand-new Pinnacle Bank Arena. Prior to tipoff, the Cornhuskers had won five of their last six, and Penn State had claimed four of their last seven.

Both teams struggled in conference play early, but have recently sparked some momentum and picked up some wins against Big Ten opponents. The final two teams to score Big Ten victories now hold a combined ten wins against their in conference rivals.

The Cornhuskers hosted the Nittany Lions in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,000 Thursday night. Thursday’s game marked the first meeting between the two teams in the Cornhusker’s new home.

What was expected to be a competitive matchup, quickly changed to an aggressive game filled with fouls and broken school records by a hot a Nebraska team.

With the 80-67 win over Penn Sate, Nebraska is now over .500 (7-6) in the conference for the first time since joining the Big Ten last. Thursday’s win was the Cornhuskers’ fourth straight victory and their first four game conference win streak since 1999.

In the two team’s previous matchup, the Cornhuskers surrendered 30 points in the paint to the Nittany Lions in a 58-54 loss in State College, however this time around, Nebraska was able to hold Penn State scoreless inside the paint in the first half.

In the game’s early minutes, Nebraska knocked down their first eight shots from the foul line, a theme that would continue over the course of the next 40 minutes.

Similar to a majority of Penn State’s season, Newbill and Frazier led the offense and were the team’s leading scorers. The superstar guards each finished the game with 15 points.

But after picking up two fouls apiece in the first half, Par Chambers was forced to turn to freshmen guards Graham Woodward and Geno Thorpe to close out the final five minutes before break. The two demonstrated poise on the road, and gave a glimpse into what the Nittany Lions will look like in the coming years.

Reviews by the officials played a substantial role throughout the entire game along with an excess of fouls recorded by both teams.

Nebraska forward, Shavon Shields recorded three fouls in the first half, and teammate Terran Petteway followed behind with two.

Geno Thorpe, Brandon Taylor and D.J. Newbill all tallied two fouls in the game’s first 15 minutes and both teams finished the first half with a combined 19 fouls. In total, 51 fouls were awarded to both teams.

Chambers received a technical foul himself early in the second half for arguing with an official. Brandon Taylor was ejected in the second half after picking up two technical fouls of his own. Ross Travis’ technical foul late in the game gave Penn State a total of four technicals Thursday night.

The excess of fouls resulted in impressive numbers from the free throw line. In the first half, Nebraska made 17 of 23 free throws, and Penn State scored eight of ten. By the end of the game, the Cornhuskers connected on a season-high 37 of 46 shots from the line. Penn State finished with an impressive 17-23 mark from the charity stripe.

Shields finished the game with 13 points before fouling out and the Big Ten’s leading scorer Terran Petteway led the team with 26 points. The Cornhuskers had five players score in double figures as they picked up their seventh win in the last nine games.

The game’s aggressive style continued when Donovan Jack crashed into the leg of forward, Walter Pitchford. Pitchford who averages nine points and is the team's top 3-point shooter was forced to leave the game with just over eight minutes left to play.

Penn State will look to bounce back next Thursday against Ohio State at 7:00 pm on ComRadio. Coverage begins at 6:30 pm with the ComRadio Basketball Pregame Show.

Maddie Brightman is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email mvb5601@psu.edu.

Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)