Nov. 25, 2009
STATE COLLEGE, PA - Junior DJ Jackson scored a career-high 26 points, while Talor Battle had 19 and a game-high eight rebounds to lead the Penn State men's basketball team to an 87-75 win over Sacred Heart University Wednesday night.
The game got off to a slow start with both teams missing open shots early. Andrew Jones scored the first points with a dunk for Penn State almost three minutes in. In fact, Penn State scored the first four before the Pioneers got things going. SHU scored the next six and took their first lead on a Corey Hassan layup with 15:08 left in the half.
Hassan, who entered the game averaging 26.5 points per game, gave the Pioneers a 19-16 lead with a three with 8:46 left to go in the first half. However, a 15-2 Penn State run capped by a three by Chris Babb with 2:34 to go gave the Nittany Lions their largest lead at 31-21, forcing a Pioneer timeout.
DJ Jackson gave the Nittany Lions their largest lead at 34-23 with :31 left. Chauncey Hardy cut it to eight with a three-point play with :08 left, but Penn State got a break when Ryan Litke fouled Jackson on a three-point attempt with just :01 left. He made two of the three tries to give Penn State a 36-26 lead at the intermission.
Penn State widened the gap to 44-30, but back-to-back threes by Hassan and Hardy cut it to 44-36 with 15:45 left. Hardy was fouled going to the basket with 15:13 left and made one of two to make it 44-37. Hardy made it 46-40 with xx:xx but Penn State scored the next five to make it an 11-point bulge.
Hardy hit a three with 12:14 to play that cut the lead to 51-43 and it was the 1000th point of the senior's career. He is the 29th player to reach that milestone. Litke buried a three with 10:26 that made it 54-48 but Battle answered with a three-point play of his own to push it back to nine. Litke hit a long three with 9:12 left that got the Pioneers within five at 58-53. Hassan made it 62-58 with a three and seconds later Litke cut the deficit to 62-61 with another trey with 7:00 left.
The Pioneers trailed 64-61 with 6:06 left and Litke had a wide open look at a three to tie but couldn't get it to fall. Tim Frazier answered that with a three-point lead that put PSU back up six and the Pioneers would not get closer than five the rest of the way.
The Nittany Lions finished the game an impressive 21-25 from the free throw line, while SHU went to the charity stripe just six times.
Hassan finished with 24 points for the Pioneers, while Hardy had a season-best 21 - 18 of those in the second half. Litke finished with ten points.