Penn St. upsets Buckeyes again
UNIVERSITY PARK – Tim Frazier was overwhelmed by emotions before Penn State’s senior day matchup with Ohio State at the Jordan Center Thursday night, and nearly began crying. Once the action tipped off, he was admittedly frazzled and trying to do too much in his next-to-last regular-season home game for the Nittany Lions.
He shot an air ball. There were two turnovers. PSU was trailing the No. 22 Buckeyes, 12-6.
“I’m telling myself to settle down, and it isn’t happening,” Frazier said. “I looked over to Coach and made some eye contact.”
PSU coach Pat Chambers knew what to do. He took Frazier out of the game, to let him reboot. It worked, as the short rest allowed the senior to get focused.
Frazier went on to score 16 points – including the last one of the night – as PSU (14-14, 5-10) stunned Ohio State (22-7, 9-7) for the second time this season, 65-63. After losing to the Lions in Columbus Jan. 29, the Buckeyes went on a run of six wins in seven games, including three straight.
But it ended at the Jordan Center Thursday.
“It was huge,” said guard D.J. Newbill, who led all scorers by 23 points. “It was definitely an emotional time for Tim. … I know what he’s been through.”
Frazier missed most of the 2012-13 season with a torn Achilles’ tendon. His return this year – where he was paired with Newbill in what was supposed to be a formidable backcourt – has gone well from a health perspective but not so great when it comes to wins and losses.
The Lions entered Thursday’s action in last place in the Big Ten, their hopes for playing in the post-season appearing to be slim after back-to-back blowout defeats to Iowa and Nebraska.
And early in this one, it looked like another ugly loss was coming. OSU raced out to a 22-11 lead with 8:54 left in the first half, before Chambers shifted his defense to a zone.
The Buckeyes missed their next two shots – both 3-pointers – and Frazier, Newbill and company gained a bit of momentum. PSU closed the first half on a 15-6 run and trailed by just a bucket (28-26) at the break. Frazier led all scores with nine points in the half.
It was a game again.
Meanwhile, OSU star guard Aaron Craft was limited to four minutes in the half due to foul trouble, prompting Buckeye coach Thad Matta to say, “That was huge.”
Penn State played solid team ball in the second half to seize control of the game. Newbill and Frazier did most of the scoring. But the rest of the Lions pitched in with clutch plays.
Center Jordan Dickerson had a follow slam that got the crowd going. Brandon Taylor had only one hoop in the game, but it was a key 3-pointer. Geno Thorpe had a steal and slam. And Donovan Jack had a big conventional three-point play.
“This was definitely a team effort,” Newbill said. “Everyone contributed.”
But some of the nerves returned for Frazier late. With PSU up 64-61, he bobbled an inbound pass that was stolen by Buckeye Shannon Scott. Scott dished to Trey McDonald for a layup to cut it to 64-63 with 27 seconds showing.
Lion forward Ross Travis then missed a pair of free throws, but Buckeye Lenzelle Smith Jr. mitigated that by bricking a triple. Frazier was fouled with seven seconds left.
He missed the first. But the second was all net, making it 65-63.
It stood up when Smith missed another bomb. Fittingly, Frazier grabbed the rebound, meaning he scored the final point and had the final carom on senior night.
OHIO STATE (22-7): Ross 4-12 11-13 19, Thompson 3-10 0-0 8, A. Williams 1-1 0-2 2, Craft 3-3 3-3 10, Smith Jr. 2-7 0-1 5, Loving 2-3 1-2 5, Scott 1-4 0-0 3, Della Valle 0-1 2-2 2, McDonald 4-6 1-4 9. Totals 20-47 18-27 63.
PENN STATE (14-14): Travis 2-6 0-2 4, Dickerson 1-2 0-0 2, Newbill 5-9 11-12 23, Frazier 4-12 7-8 16, Cooper 0-0 0-0 0, Woodward 1-1 0-0 3, Jack 2-5 1-1 5, Taylor 1-4 0-1 3, Thorpe 3-4 3-4 9, Wisniewski 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-43 22-28 65.
Halftime-Ohio St. 28-26. 3-Point Goals-Ohio St. 5-17 (Thompson 2-4, Craft 1-1, Scott 1-2, Smith Jr. 1-6, Della Valle 0-1, Ross 0-3), Penn St. 5-13 (Newbill 2-3, Woodward 1-1, Taylor 1-3, Frazier 1-4, Jack 0-2). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Ohio St. 25 (Ross, Smith Jr. 6), Penn St. 34 (Travis 8). Assists-Ohio St. 12 (Scott 5), Penn St. 11 (Jack, Newbill 3). Total Fouls-Ohio St. 24, Penn St. 24. A-8,736.