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NCAA Game Summary - Illinois at Penn State
(Thursday, March 5th)
Final Score: Penn State 64, (23) Illinois 63
University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Penn State is quickly turning into a basketball school, as Talor Battle's leaning bank shot in traffic with three- tenths of a second to play lifted the Nittany Lions to a resume-building 64-63 victory over No. 23 Illinois, capping a season sweep of the Fighting Illini.
Known for ages as the home of Joe Paterno and 110,000-seat Beaver Stadium, Penn State fans stormed the court at the buzzer of the school's biggest victory in the Ed DeChellis era. The Nittany Lions (21-9, 10-7 Big Ten) tied a school record with their 10th Big Ten victory and can take the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament with a victory over Iowa this weekend coupled with a Purdue loss.
Battle struggled to 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting, and seemed to squander the Nittany Lions' chance at victory by turning the basketball over near the top of the circle in the closing seconds.
Mike Davis was then fouled with just over eight ticks to go, but badly missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Battle dribbled nearly the length of the floor only to find a forest of Illini defenders in the paint. He angled his body and laid the basketball off the glass with 0.3 ticks to go.
"I knew we had at least a chance to tie," said Battle. "But right after I turned the ball over, I looked at the team and said, 'I'm going to make it up to you all, I promise.' Fortunately enough, he missed the foul shot and I just made a play at the end that won us the basketball game. I thank God for that."
The Illini (23-8, 11-7) didn't get off a shot, dropping its second straight contest as the fans rushed the court.
"They made this spectacular comeback and we did the same thing to Northwestern," said Illinois coach Bruce Weber. "Now we are on the other shoe. It is a tough pill to swallow. When we were here last year it was the same thing. Last time we fouled Talor and he made the free throws and this time he made a tough shot."
Stanley Pringle scored 20 points on this birthday, and Jamelle Cornley added seven points and seven rebounds in his last home game.
Demetri McCamey led the Illini with 16 points and seven assists, Mike Tisdale donated 12 points with six rebounds and Chester Frazier had 11 points in defeat.
While comparable in its competitiveness, the second contest between these two teams had a distinctly different feel than Penn State's 38-33 victory two weeks ago.
The Illini scored just 15 first-half points in that contest, but reached that scoring plateau with 12:45 left in the first half. Frazier's pullup with just under eight minutes to go gave the Illini a 25-15 edge.
The Nittany Lions battled back to a 31-29 deficit on Battle's layup, and Cornley's free throw just before the horn kept the margin at two points, 34-32.
Illinois scored more points in the first half (34) than it did the entire game in Champaign (33).
Another marvel was Illinois' absence at the free throw line. Illinois shot its first free throw in the season series with 14:27 left in the second half, a total of 65 minutes, 33 seconds until it shot free throws against Penn State.
Illinois led 60-50 on Calvin Brock's tip-in with just over five minutes to go, but the Nittany Lions dominated down the stretch.
Danny Morrissey was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three on the next offensive possession. Pringle's baseline jumper moments later cut the deficit to 61-55, and Battle's two free throws matched Dominique Keller's layup for a 63-57 game with 3:41 to play.
Pringle's three with 1:49 to play cut the margin to a one-possession game, and David Jackson's free throws with 58 seconds left made the score 63-62.
The frantic finish ensued from there.
Penn State shot 43.4 percent from the field and scored 24 points in the paint...The Illini matched the Nittany Lions in the paint and shot 48.2 percent, however they hit only 2-of-7 free throws...Illinois still leads the all-time series, 21-11.
03/06 02:27:08 ET