STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — D.J. Newbill made his way around the arc with the clock ticking toward zero. As he surveyed the scene, the redshirt sophomore stopped and hesitated for a moment.
That’s all it took.
Newbill slashed through the lane and laid the ball off the glass, giving Penn State a two-point lead and help his team hold on for an 80-76 overtime victory over Delaware State on Saturday.
The Nittany Lions (6-4) survived a second-half surge by the Hornets and fought from behind in the extra period to secure back-to-back wins for the second time this season.
“We thought we had them where we wanted them but they played hard,” said Newbill, who led Penn State with 22 points. “They’re a good team. We just had to keep playing. That’s something we have to work on in practice.”
Tyshawn Bell hit a contested 3-pointer to give the Hornets a three-point lead with 1:24 remaining in overtime. But Jermaine Marshall, who finished with 15 points, answered with a 3-pointer to tie game at 76-all.
Newbill’s layup on the next Penn State possession put the Nittany Lions ahead, and a pair of clutch free throws by freshman Brandon Taylor put the game away.
“I would love to blow a team out. Man, wouldn’t that be nice?” joked Penn State coach Patrick Chambers when asked if his team can learn from an overtime win.
“I think it’s going to help us. We played a lot of different guys. We played freshmen at difficult moments, so that wisdom, that knowledge and experience can only help when you get to the (Big Ten schedule).”
Penn State maintained a double-digit lead for much of the second half, but failed to pull away in regulation and was up by three with less than a minute remaining. Ultimately, Bell knocked down a 3-pointer to send the game into OT.
A layup by Albert Thomas two minutes into overtime gave Delaware State its first lead of the game. Tahj Tate hit a jumper on the ensuing possession to extend the Hornets’ lead.
Casey Walker paced Delaware State (5-6) with 24 points, shooting 8 of 19 from the floor.
“We were very fortunate to find a way,” said Chambers. “We took the air out for a little bit, we weren’t scoring. We were turning it over or taking bad shots.”
The Nittany Lions got out to a 21-3 lead to start the game as Delaware State began the game shooting just 1 for 10 from the field.
Walker began to heat up late in the first half, though, shooting 4 of 6 from beyond the arc before intermission. The Hornets cut Penn State’s lead to eight before the break.
“I was in heaven that first 10 minutes. It was coaches’ heaven,” Chambers said. “It was fun to watch. We played really good defense, played inspired, played with energy. But they’re very good, very talented, very well-coached but I knew it was only a matter of time.”
After shooting just 8 for 26 in the first half, Delaware State followed up with a 13 for 16 shooting performance in the second half. But Penn State went cold from beyond the arc after the break, shooting 0 for 7.
The Hornets took advantage, diminishing an 11-point Penn State lead with a little more than three minutes remaining in regulation. But Delaware State couldn’t find a rhythm in overtime, missing a pair of free throws and shooting 3 for 8 from the floor.
“Last year, we lost a lot of close games,” said Marshall. “But we were able to make stops and get rebounds, that’s key to winning the close ones. I’m very proud we did that and I think our guys showed some heart knuckling down and getting a stop.”
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