Nittany Lions Fall in Waning Moments Against Iowa
In front of a big student section crowd due to head coach Patrick Chambers' vow to donate 10 dollars per student ticket to THON, Penn State (8-16, 0-12) was seconds away from garnering their first conference win of the season against Iowa (16-9, 5-7), as they fell 74-72.
With 35 seconds to go Penn State came down the court with a chance to tie or take the lead and found D.J. Newbill open in the corner with his back to the student section. Newbill, set and fired, and hit back rim. Just missed.
After an Aaron White missed free throw with 30 seconds left, Penn State had another opportunity. Jermaine Marshall drove through the lane and was blocked by Iowa's Melsahn Basabe. Just missed.
Iowa hit a two free throws to stretch the lead to four and then Newbill hit a layup to get the lead within two with four seconds to go. Basabe split his pair of free throws to get it within three giving Penn State a chance to tie it.
The Hawkeyes fouled Marshall with under two seconds to go. Marshall, who missed a pair of free throws a few minutes prior, made the first and then had a decision to make on the second. Just miss and give his team a chance to get an offensive rebound, or make it, something he couldn't do earlier, and take a chance with about a second to go.
Ironically, Marshall sunk the free throw and Penn State had to foul again trailing by one. The Nittany Lions fouled with one second to go, Roy Devyn Marble hit both free throws and that was it.
Penn State just missed their first conference win of the season.
Newbill finished one point short of tying his career high of 27 with his 26 point performance. On his eighth straight and 34th career double-digit point game of the career, he also added eight rebounds.
"I knew he had it in him," said Chambers after the game. "He was hitting his mid-range jumper, he was doing a good job and therefore that opened some things up. It was good to see, he is working so hard at it."
Marshall and Sasa Borovnjak chipped in two for the Nittany Lions, who hung with Iowa throughout the game.
Chambers was also pleased with the play of his bench players, including his walk-ons Kevin Montminy and Alan Wisniewski, and former walk-on Nick Colella.
The second year head coach featured a combination of all three of those playesr on the floor at the same time a few times during the game as he went four players deep on the bench.
Montminy provided a momentous lift as he hit a corner three with under eight minutes to go to cut Iowa's lead to eight that sparked the Nittany Lion crowd.
"Those kids are amazing, aren't they?" he said of his walk-ons. "They're pitbulls they really are. They know no fear. They know their roles and they played so hard."
The intensity was something that went to another level Thursday night with the help of the crowd just under 8,000. Newbill noted post-game that the intensity was there and they can't let it go away as conference play winds down.
"We should take that (intensity) moving forward every game," said Newbill. "I think we did a good job bringing it from the start to the finish. We had a little scoring slump in the second half, but we still kept our intensity on defense and we still kept fighting."
After pledging his donation to THON, Chambers was pleased with the turn out of the Penn State students.
"The students were great, the fans were great," said Chambers. "That's the loudest I've ever heard that place. It can be done, we can have a homecourt advantage. It's unfortunate we didn't come out with a win, but the atmosphere was definitely amazing. It was cool to see."
According to the Penn State basketball twitter handle, Chambers will donate 14,200 dollars to THON 2013, which starts Friday afternoon.
Penn State will now travel to Ann Arbor to face No. 4 Michigan on Sunday at noon and then stay on the road Thursday Feb. 21 against Illinois.
Mike Esse is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.