Penn State upsets No. 4 Michigan for 1st Big Ten win of season


Penn State upsets No. 4 Michigan for 1st Big Ten win of season


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State coach Patrick Chambers kept saying all winter that his team was close to winning a Big Ten game even as the league losses piled up.

Momentum finally bounced the Nittany Lions' way on Wednesday night against one of their toughest foes of the season.

Jermaine Marshall scored 25 points and hit a key layup with 1:06 left to help Penn State roar back from a 15-point deficit and upset No. 4 Michigan 84-78 for its first Big Ten victory in more than a year.

No wonder fans rushed the court in delight after the final buzzer.

"I was looking around. I wanted to see our team," Chambers said about the frenzy inside the Jordan Center. "I wanted to embrace it and be in that moment, because those moments don't come very often."

Penn State (9-18, 1-14) had lost 18 straight regular-season Big Ten games dating to last season. The team's previous conference win came on Feb. 16, 2012, a 69-64 victory over Iowa.

It was Penn State's first win over a top 5 team since defeating No. 5 North Carolina 82-74 in the second round of the 2001 NCAA tournament, and the highest-ranked opponent that the Nittany Lions have beaten since moving to the Jordan Center in 1996.

Even Michigan coach John Beilein was impressed.

"I think what you saw tonight is why we all love college basketball," he said.

But this loss might hurt Michigan as it jockeys for seeding in the NCAA tournament. The Wolverines squandered a chance to pull into a second-place tie in the Big Ten with Michigan State and Wisconsin.

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 19 points for the Wolverines (23-5, 10-5). Trey Burke had 18 points and six assists, but also committed six turnovers.

Michigan was uncharacteristically sloppy with 15 turnovers in the game, six more than its season average.

Penn State pounced on the mistakes.

D.J. Newbill added 17 points for the Nittany Lions, who hit a season-high 10 3-pointers. Marshall scored 19 in the second half, including four 3s that whipped the hometown fans into a frenzy. But it was his twisting drive to the bucket late left that really hurt Michigan.

The ball teetered on the rim for a couple of seconds before dropping in, causing the Penn State partisans to let out a collective sigh of relief with their team up 81-78.

"It was a chip play that we run. ... Coach put the ball in my hand and he had trust in me," Marshall said. "Fortuantely that layup rode around the rim and went down."

That was not the kind of luck that the Nittany Lions have been used to, ever since leading scorer and point guard Tim Frazier went down with a left Achilles injury four games into the season.

They had to adjust on the fly, with combo guard Newbill sliding over to the point, and Marshall needing to assume more ball-handling duties. Chambers, a never-say-die cheerleader, convinced his team to keep fighting through the adversity.

"Tonight, it's a relief. All the hard work, practices and shootarounds paid off for us," Newbill said.

Michigan's Glenn Robinson III misfired on a 3 with 17 seconds left. Sasa Borovnjak (nine points) had a memorable Senior Night, hitting two foul shots with 15 seconds left to seal the win.

Ross Travis provided the muscle up front with 15 points and 12 boards as Penn State made the clutch plays down the stretch.

"They beat us fair and square, and the last 10 minutes they really outplayed us," Beilein said.

Two foul shots by Marshall gave Penn State its first lead since the first half, 76-74, with 3:55 left. The Jordan Center rocked as if it were a Michigan-Penn State football game across the street at Beaver Stadium.

It was all Penn State from there.

Chambers watched as Michigan fumbled away opportunities, like when Burke had a steal from Newbill but lost control.

"The ball finally bounced our way," Chambers said. "Trey Burke strips D.J. at halfcourt and kicks it out of bounds ... that's usually what we do."

Midway through the second half, Michigan controlled the lane with dunks and cuts to the bucket. Long-range shooting gave the Wolverines breathing room after Nik Stauskus (12 points, eight rebounds) and Hardaway hit 3s on back-to-back possessions to help build the short-lived 15-point lead after Penn State had drawn within 49-45.

The first half was a sign of things to come. After struggling from long range much of the year, Penn State went 5 of 10 from behind the arc and forced 10 turnovers to stay within 39-36 at halftime.

All five of Michigan's losses have come on the road in the Big Ten -- none worse than Wednesday night's defeat. Michigan finished February with a 3-4 record, heading into a showdown Sunday with No. 9 Michigan State.

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Josh Hart: 'Ceiling is a lot higher' for this year's Villanova team

Josh Hart: 'Ceiling is a lot higher' for this year's Villanova team

NEWARK, N.J. -- For this group of Villanova players, it’s always about the game at hand.

It’s not about looking forward, and it’s almost never about looking back.

But try to put yourself in their shoes and you’ll see how hard it can be to not look back.

That’ll happen when you’re the defending national champion who won the title with one of the greatest shots in the history of basketball and you’re currently the No. 2 team in the country and the favorite of many pundits to pull off a title repeat for the first time in 10 years since Florida did it in 2006-07.

Again, as they have been so times before, the Wildcats were asked about last year Saturday afternoon. But after thrashing Seton Hall to clinch a share of a record fourth straight Big East regular-season title (see game story), the tone was a little different this time around.

When Josh Hart, standing outside a visiting locker room in a dimly lit hallway in the bowels of Newark’s Prudential Center, was asked to compare the Wildcats at this point this season to the Wildcats at this point last season, he paused for a moment and looked up before giving his answer.

“I think the ceiling is a lot higher, so I think we have more room to grow,” said Hart, Villanova’s National Player of the Year candidate who poured in 19 points in the victory over Seton Hall.

Think about that for a second. The defending national champs who have been steamrolling through the competition this season have “more room to grow.”

It’s a scary thought for the rest of the competition in the nation.

“With Donte (DiVincenzo) and Eric (Paschall) really playing for their first years, Mikal (Bridges) is still young, Dylan (Painter) is getting minutes now in his first year,” Hart explained.

“We’re young and we can get a lot better. It’s tough to say and compare this year to last year. But the thing is that this team could have a better ceiling.”

Hart is not one to say something just for the sake of saying it. And there’s a lot of truth in what he said after Saturday’s win.

The ‘Cats are young. Jalen Brunson (a starter), Mikal Bridges (another starter) and Paschall are sophomores who play significant minutes. DiVincenzo is a redshirt freshman. Painter is a freshman who has started seeing more action with the rib injury to senior big man Darryl Reynolds.

Paschall, DiVincenzo and now Painter are helping solve depth issues that have been perhaps this Villanova team’s only question mark. Head coach Jay Wright has only gone six or seven players deep at times, thanks in large part to the knee injury to junior guard Phil Booth, who’s only suited up for three games this year. And that short rotation was before Reynolds was injured on Feb. 7 against Georgetown and missed the last three games.

Of those five, only Brunson and Bridges played during last season’s run to the title. At this point, you know what you’re going to get from them. You’re going to get 14.6 points and 4.5 assists a night from Brunson and you’re going to get 10.8 points and 4.6 boards a night from Bridges.

But DiVincenzo is now averaging 7.9 points a game and, of course, had that dramatic tip-in at the buzzer to beat Virginia in January. Paschall is up to 6.6 points a game in an average of 20.6 minutes of action and has been starting with Reynolds on the shelf. And Painter, a talented 6-foot-10 forward out of Hershey, is just starting to get his feet wet.

So these games and minutes are imperative for the younger depth players to find their niche.

Because those are the kinds of players that help you win in March.

If anyone knows that, it’s the head coach of the reigning champs.

“We’re in a good spot, but we’ve got to keep getting better,” Wright said. “Being able to win these games without Darryl is good because it’s just getting everyone else more playing time. We get Darryl rested and we’ll have a fresh body back. It’s getting Dylan Painter more minutes and he’s getting more comfortable and our guys are getting more comfortable with him.

“So I think we’re good and I think our guys are understanding the areas we need to improve.”

Much in line with what Wright and Hart said, the youthful Brunson took a similar path when asked to compare this year to last year at this point in time.

“I just know that we are getting better and we are making strides,” the point guard said after starring with 22 points and 10 assists for his first double-double in the win over Seton Hall.

“I think we’re close. But at the same time, there’s always room for improvement. The seniors are taking leadership and I’m taking leadership, as well, just to get us better.”

So this Villanova team thinks it can get better?

If it’s possible, look out.

Delaware's 3-game win streak snapped by William & Mary

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Delaware's 3-game win streak snapped by William & Mary


NEWARK, Del. -- Daniel Dixon scored 25 points and Omar Prewitt 23 and William & Mary defeated Delaware 85-64 on Saturday night.

Dixon made four 3-pointers and Prewitt had six assists for the Tribe (15-12, 9-7 Colonial Athletic Association). The Tribe was 27 of 52 for 52 percent shooting and made 10 of 22 3-pointers and 21 of 29 free throws.

Ryan Daly had four 3-pointers, 20 points and seven rebounds for the Blue Hens (12-17, 5-11), who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Cazmon Hayes added 11 points and Devonne Pinkard 10. Delaware shot 37.5 percent and was 7 of 23 on 3-pointers.

With Delaware leading 23-20 after a Jacob Cushing dunk, the Tribe went on an 18-3 run, with nine points from Dixon over the final 5:13 of the first half.

The lead remained in double figures in the second half, reaching 23 points in the final minutes.