D.J. Newbill scored a team-high 19 points as the host Nittany Lions held off the Pirates in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational. Brandon Taylor added 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds for Penn State (16-17), which is competing in the tournament for the first time. Tim Frazier contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists and Geno Thorpe registered 10 points and five boards for the Nittany Lions, who dominated on the glass 42-18. Brian Darden notched a career-high 22 points for Hampton (18-13), including five straight 3-pointers during a key first half stretch to spark a slow-starting Pirates' offense. Deron Powers added 19 points for Hampton, which lost its second straight game after a seven-game winning streak. The Pirates used a 14-2 surge to erase a 10-point deficit, taking a 43-41 lead on a dunk from Breon Key with 11:17 to play but Penn State would come right back with a 14-2 run if its own to establish a 55-45 advantage with 5:43 remaining. Powers scored eight straight points in the waning minutes and the Pirates pulled to within 67-65 with six seconds left, but Thorpe sank a pair of free throws to push the lead back to four and seal the win for the Nittany Lions. After Penn State opened the game with eight straight points as part of a 10-2 run, Darden singlehandedly gave Hampton life, scoring 15 consecutive points for the Pirates on four 3-pointers and three free throws on another try from behind the arc. Ramon Mercado drained a 3-pointer of his own just past the halfway point of the first half to pull Hampton within 21-20 before the Nittany Lions answered with nine straight points to regain control on the way to a 33-25 halftime lead. GAME NOTEBOOK: Penn State will face Siena in the second round on Monday in Loudonville, N.Y. ... Hampton fell to 0-3 all-time against Big Ten teams, with previous losses to Michigan in 1998 and Ohio State in 2002. ... Frazier passed the 500-point mark on the season, joining Newbill to become the fourth Nittany Lions duo in program history to both record 500 points in the same season and the first pair to accomplish the feat twice.
Penn St. 69, Hampton 65
ProSportsDaily | Mar 20