The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 10, 2013

Wisconsin squeaks past plucky Penn State

STATE COLLEGE — Penn State coach Patrick Chambers walked right past the Wisconsin locker room with a solemn look before answering questions in a methodical voice.

The 22nd-ranked Badgers had just beaten his team 63-60 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Traevon Jackson – a tough finish that had the normally bubbly Chambers feeling down for his players.

“We earned the right to win this one. That’s why this one hurts,” Chambers said. “To lose on that type of (ending) ... you feel for them.”

Jermaine Marshall scored 23 points for Penn State (10-20, 2-16 Big Ten) and D.J. Newbill added 22, including a jumper from the elbow with 5 seconds left to tie the game at 60.

But Jackson made a contested 3 at the buzzer to finish with 15 points and Wisconsin survived an upset scare in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The Badgers (21-10, 12-6) went the length of the court with less than 4 seconds left. Jackson pulled up on the wing and made his 3 over the outstretched arm of Kevin Montminy.

Officials upheld the basket after a replay review, and anxious fans at the Jordan Center let out a collective sigh of disappointment.

“Give Jackson credit. Tough shot,” Chambers said. “I thought Kevin did a good job contesting.”

Wisconsin nearly threw the ball away on the inbounds play but managed to hold on in the scrape on the floor as the officials called a tie-up.

Jackson’s clutch shot then had the Badgers pumping their arms in victory.

“It felt good. When the shot comes off your hand like that ... I just kind of knew it was going to go in,” Jackson said.

They might be last in the Big Ten, but the Nittany Lions challenged Wisconsin. They are 2-2 since starting 0-14 in conference, and the tough play extended into the regular-season finale at an energized Jordan Center.

After the Badgers started 5 of 6 from the field, Penn State tightened up defensively to hold Wisconsin to 5 for 21 the rest of the first half. The Nittany Lions’ backcourt duo of Marshall and Newbill each scored 10 points for a 25-24 halftime lead, and the game settled into a see-saw affair the rest of the way.

“I don’t think we started the game with a sense of urgency,” Chambers said. “But we definitely picked it up after the first media timeout.”

Foul trouble hurt Penn State in the closing minutes, though. The Nittany Lions had trouble scoring with Marshall on the bench with four fouls until he re-entered with about three minutes left and scored Penn State’s next four points to stay within one possession of the lead.

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