Penn State 60, Army 45
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. A late 20-4 Penn State run broke open a one-point game and propelled the Nittany Lions to a 60-45 victory over Army on Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Black Knights trailed by a point at 40-39 with 11:32 to go, but mustered just two more field goals for the remainder of the game.
Army dropped to 2-7 on the season, while the Nittany Lions improved to 8-2.
“They were pretty consistent defensively, and we had a hard time putting the ball in the bucket,” Army head coach Jim Crews said. “They good some good buckets at their end, and kind of just broke the dam.”
Junior G Josh Miller was the only Army player in double figures with 10 points. Senior F Kenny Brewer scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out a career-high four assists off the bench. Senior F John Moonshower led the Black Knights with six boards, while junior G Marcus Nelson led the squad with five assists.
Four of the Nittany Lions’ five starters reached double figures. Jamelle Cornley led the way with 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Danny Morrissey and Talor Battle each scored 14 points. Eight of Battle’s markers came during the decisive second-half run. He also was credited with a game-high six assists. Andrew Jones scored 13 points, nine of them in the second half.
Penn State outrebounded the Black Knights, 37-26, and scored 12 second-chance points off 10 offensive rebounds. The Nittany Lions overcame a slow start to shoot 55.6 percent (15-27) in the second half to finish at 43.4 percent for the game. Army hit 38.0 percent (19-50) for the game, including a 41.7 mark (10-24) in the second half. The Black Knights were just 2 of 14 from three-point range.
Entering the second half ahead by a point, Penn State outscored Army 11-6 to open up a 34-28 lead with 15:57 left. Army scored the next four points to cut the lead to two, but the Nittany Lions stretched it back to six with 14:53 left. A three-pointer by sophomore G Nathan Hedgecock pulled the Black Knights within three with 13:01 to go and a Moonshower jumper trimmed the margin to just one point before Battle and the Nittany Lions went on the decisive run.
Army did not hit a field goal in the final 5:24. The Black Knights final two points came on a pair of free throws by junior G Tyrell Thompson.
Both offenses struggled in the first half. Army shot just 34.6 percent (9-26), while the Nittany Lions hit only 30.8 percent of their field goal tries (8-26). The Black Knights missed seven of their first eight shots.
A three-pointer by Morrissey put the Nittany Lions up 3-0, but a three-point play by Miller tied the game with 18:10 to go. Cornley put PSU back up by three with a triple, but Miller knotted the score again with Army’s only three-pointer of the second half at the 14:07 mark. The bucket ended a three-minute, five-second scoring drought for both teams.
The two teams traded baskets before Brewer hit a jumper with 13:34 to go that gave Army its only lead of the half at 10-8. The Nittany Lions scored the next seven points to take their largest lead of the half at 15-10 with 7:23 to go. Junior F Cleveland Richard stopped a six-minute, 34-second Army scoreless streak to cut the lead to three, and Miller trimmed the lead to one with a jumper at the 6:29 mark.
Penn State scored six of the next eight points to reclaim a five-point lead with 3:16 to go, but Army scored six of the final eight points of the half to go into intermission down just one at 23-22.
Army has now lost 10 straight games versus Big Ten opponents, while the Nittany Lions remained perfect with their 22nd straight win versus the Patriot League.
The Black Knights return home on Saturday, Dec. 13 for a match up with Fairleigh Dickinson. Tip-off at Christl Arena is set for 7 p.m. Saturday ends a stretch of three games in six days for the Black Knights who will have a week off for term-ending exams before resuming play on Sunday, Dec. 21 versus VMI at West Point.
Game Notes: Wednesday’s game was the first meeting between Army and Penn State since the 1980-81 season. The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series, 23-17 ... Army sophomore G Mitch McDonald dressed for the first time this season in place of freshman G Jesse Steele who injured his ankle against Bryant ... Penn State played without third-leading scorer Stanley Pringle ... The Black Knights have failed to reach the 50-point mark in three of their last six games. Army has now lost seven straight games when not scoring at least 50 points ... Wednesday’s game was one of the Black Knights’ two national-television appearances on ESPNU (1/25 vs. Navy) ... Army has suffered five double-digit losses so far this season. The Black Knights lost by at least 10 points just eight times in 2007-08.