Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Penn State wins. McDonald's wins. Everybody Wins.
If you just saw the final score of this game without having watched a single minute of it live, you would've figured that Penn State took control early and never let their foot off the pedal. You would be very wrong, of course, because things are just never supposed to be that easy for Penn State basketball. Penn State came flying out of the gates, scoring the game's first seven points, shooting over 60% for most of the first half, playing gritty defense that led to several steals (and a couple of breakaway dunks), and ensuring that Army did not get any second-chance opportunities on missed shots by grabbing rebounds left and right. The Nittany Lions took a 40-28 lead to the locker room at the half, and looked poised to blow this game wide open, when disaster struck...
The shots stopped falling, silly turnovers happened, and Army led by Ella Ellis, began to heat up. Suddenly, Penn State's lead was whittled down to two, and the second half wasn't even halfway over. The bad Penn State that we'd become accustomed to seeing for most of the season reared its ugly head again. After a timeout called by Pat Chambers however, PSU re-grouped and gradually began to increase its lead back to the relatively comfortable levels they enjoyed in the first half, ultimately prevailing 78-70.
Most importantly though, today marked the first time this season that Penn State passed the 70-point barrier at the Bryce Jordan Center, automatically setting off the 'Free Big Macs' trigger, which means that everyone who bought a ticket for today's game can use it to get a free Big Mac at any State College McDonald's.
DJ Newbill was PSU's leading scorer and had his best game since taking over the point guard slot from the injured Tim Frazier: 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Ross Travis had a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and continues to play with a newfound level of confidence (not a moment too soon, either). Jermaine Marshall pitched in with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists himself, while freshman stud Brandon Taylor added 14 points and 4 boards. Balanced performances like these will be critical once Big Ten play rolls around, especially if PSU wants to pull off a couple of WTF-type of upsets.
The team gets a week off before returning to action a week from today against Delaware State at home. Overall, they will only play three games these next three weeks due to upcoming finals and the holiday season.
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