Good way to erase the memories somewhat of Stony Brook
Walker's Three Lifts Penn State Over Bucknell In Overtime, 63-60
Morrissey's 21 points lead four Nittany Lions in double-figures
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; November 21, 2006 - Junior Mike Walker's (Lewisberry, Pa.) three as time expired in overtime lifted Penn State (3-1) to a 63-60 victory over Bucknell (0-4) Tuesday in the 99th meeting between the two schools. Penn State won its 11th straight game over the Bison and improved to 75-24 in the series and 19-0 against Patriot League teams after pulling out the closest game between the two schools since an 88-83 Nittany Lion overtime victory in 1974.
"Mike is a guy that makes big shots and makes big plays at times," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "There wasn't anybody else. The ball reversed and got kicked out, and I felt very, very comfortable with him taking that shot. Once he is planted and he faces the basket, he is as good as anybody shooting the basketball. I am very, very proud of him."
Penn State had four players score in double figures on the night led by sophomore Danny Morrissey (Cleveland, Ohio) who posted 21 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the three-point line and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Morrissey's 21 points were the second highest total of his career and most since posting 22 against Minnesota in his freshman season of 2004-05. Jamelle Cornley (Columbus, Ohio) added 12 points and four boards and Walker finished with 10 points. Ben Luber (Richboro, Pa.) also posted 10 points, hitting key free throws down the stretch, and his four assists on the night moved him into eighth place all-time on the career assists chart with 351 passing Ron Brown (350).
"I would have been happier if (the score differential) would have been about 10 points, but you know we needed something good to happen," DeChellis said. "The kids made something good happen, which was very positive. We had a lead and then we squandered it. We didn't play the way we needed to. Give them some credit because they made some big shots. But, the important thing for us was to keep fighting and make some basketball plays."
Four players fouled out of the game, two on each side, as the teams combined to shoot 49 free throws and commit 46 fouls. Penn State won the battle at the line hitting 24-of-28 (85.7 percent), including key ones down the stretch and all four in overtime, while Bucknell was 15-of-21. The 24 made free throws were the most for Penn State since draining 27 against Lehigh in 2004. The Bison out-shot Penn State from the field hitting 20-of-49 (40.8 percent) to the Nittany Lions 15-of-39 (38.5).
Bucknell had four players in double-figures led by 6-8 Darren Mastropaolo with 12 and Jason Vegotsky with 12. Senior big-man Chris McNaughton and senior Donald Brown both found early foul trouble and eventually fouled out of the game. McNaughton finished with 11 points and three rebounds, while Brown posted eight points and eight boards.
Penn State had 6-11 Brandon Hassell (Farmersville, Ohio) and 6-10 Milos Bogetic (Podgorica, Serbia and Montenegro) both foul out of the game while Cornley picked up his fourth with nearly 10 minutes to play in regulation.
Penn State took a 26-19 lead into the half after Bucknell got into early foul trouble and shot 0-of-8 from the three-point line and 31.8 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes. After Bucknell held the lead for the first seven minutes, Penn State took its first lead on a Cornley bucket and extended it to nine twice late in the period before a late Andrew Morrison tip in for Bucknell ended the half.
A pair of Morrissey threes got Penn State out of the gate quickly to start the second half as the Lions mounted a 13-point lead, 32-19, with 18:39 to play. Each time Bucknell cut it back to single digits Penn State answered with threes from Luber and Morrissey. A 7-0 Bucknell run capped by a Vegotsky three cut the margin to 39-35 with 11:34 to play, but another Morrissey three, a Bogetic bucket and a pair of free throws from Walker got the lead quickly back to double-digits at 46-35.
Penn State maintained a 10-point margin, 50-40, with 8:14 to play before Bucknell went on an 11-0 run over the next five minutes to take the lead, the Bisons first since a little under 13 minutes to play in the first half. Vegotsky had nine points in the run, including a pair of threes the last of which made the score 51-50 with 3:16 to play. There would be five more lead changes and six ties the rest of regulation and the overtime.
Walker sank a pair of free throws to put Penn State back up 52-51. Mastropaolo followed with a Bucknell bucket 40 seconds later. Another Bucknell foul sent Mooch Jackson (Gaithersburg, Md.) to the line and he drained both for a 54-53 Nittany Lion lead, but John Griffin promptly buried a three on the other end for a 56-54 Bucknell advantage with 1:25 to play.
Both teams missed shots on their next possessions, but Penn State got the ball to Cornley in the post late and he drew Brown's fifth foul with 10 seconds to play. Cornley, however, missed both free throws, the second bad enough that Luber could grab the rebound and draw a foul from Griffin along the baseline. Luber went to the line and calmly drained both free throws to tie the game with eight seconds to play. Bucknell had a chance for the win in regulation when Morrison got open off an inbounds play following a timeout, but missed the 12-foot jumper.
Bucknell took the early lead in overtime as Abe Badmus penetrated for a lay-up just under a minute into the extra five-minute period, but it would be their last field of the game. Cornley was fouled on the other end and hit both free throws to tie the game at 58-58.
Mastropaolo was fouled by Bogetic on the next possession and made one-of-two for a 59-58 Bucknell lead. Penn State turned it over on its next possession and then both teams missed three-point attempts as the clock ticked toward two minutes. Badmus then committed his sixth turnover on the night, one of 18 for the Bison, and then fouled Luber who made both free throws for a 60-59 Penn State lead with 1:38 to play.
Vegotsky missed a three on Bucknell's next possession, but Cornley could not convert on the block for Penn State on the other end and the Bison held the ball with under a minute to play. Penn State played good defense deep into the shot clock but had a kicked ball reset the shot clock to 15 seconds. The Bison widdled the shot clock down again before Badmus rebounded a missed Morrison jumper and was fouled by Bogetic. He made one of two to tie the game with 15 second to play.
Penn State brought the ball up looking for the final shot and worked the ball into the post to Mooch Jackson. Jackson spun and then kicked out to Walker who let fly from the right wing as the clock ticked to zero. As the ball broke the net, the horn sounded and the Penn State bench exploded.
The Nittany Lions return to action Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center as they face another intrastate showdown with St. Joseph's. The Hawks bring a 3-0 mark into the game after having defeated Bucknell 63-53 on Sunday.