STATE COLLEGE The starting point guard fell one assist short of a triple-double.
Fans started leaving with two minutes to play, hoping to beat the traffic.
The student section booed the home team at the end even after winning, 67-51, because it fell 3 points short of collecting free promotional Big Macs with a ticket stub.
Penn State's Tim Frazier, rear, shoots over Nebraska's Dylan Talley (24) Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Those are things that happen to winning basketball programs. They happened anyway to the Penn State Nittany Lions Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center, which happened to be a good mid-winter pick-me-up for a team that had lost 5 straight.
Tim Frazier led the Nittany Lions (11-15, 3-10) with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists. Coach Pat Chambers called a couple of plays in the final moment for Frazier to drive into the lane before passing out to a jump-shooter for that 10th assist, but to no avail.
"And I wanted them to get the Big Macs, no doubt, but I couldn't do that to (Nebraska coach Doc Sadler)," said Chambers. "I think any other coach in the country would say the same things."
Frazier is the Big Ten's second-leading scorer at 18.3 points per game and leader in assists at 6.3 per game, and he had some help on Saturday. Cammeron Woodyard scored 14 points and Jermaine Marshall added 12 as the Nittany Lions shot 52 percent as a team. Frazier will need that help the rest of the season as redshirt forward Billy Oliver confirmed the end of his playing career Saturday over lingering concussion symptoms.
"You say a triple-double for Tim Frazier, that accompanies everybody else on the team," said Frazier. "Guys step in and make huge shots, tons of dives, and stopped runs."
The Nittany Lions led by 10 at the half, but dissatisfaction over a missed Frazier layup at the end of the half spurred the team into building a 51-33 advantage with 13:30 to play.
The Cornhuskers (11-13, 3-10) never pulled within single digits in the second half. A rally was too much to ask for a team playing its fourth game in 10 days.
"I like what Pat's done with this team. The players are buying into what he believes," said Sadler. "They shot as well as they have all year."
Penn State's 52.3 shooting percentage was its best in Big Ten play, and that included a 2-for-12 effort from third starting guard Nick Colella. Chambers said Colella playing too many minutes (32) and tiring was the problem, not missing too many shots. No other player who shot more than once finished with less than 50 percent shooting.
"We haven't been up 10 since the non-conference, so it was nice, though we should have been up 12 at the half. We can't be satisfied," said Chambers. "It's exciting to be in that position. I'm proud of the players, to be 2-10, and to fight and push coming in with that great attitude."
Penn State finished hard, too, as the scoreboard sign flashed "10 more points and free Big Macs" as Penn State led 60-45 with 4 minutes to play. For hard-luck programs like Penn State's, that could have been a jinx. But a Frazier steal and layup, followed up by another Frazier basket kept the game secure and free burgers within reach.
And with tied-for-9th-place Iowa visiting Thursday, Penn State's first back-to-back Big Ten victories this season may also be within reach.
Ubel 1-3 0-0 2, McCray 4-10 0-0 9, Richardson 0-2 6-6 6, Spencer 3-8 0-0 7, Walker 5-10 0-0 10, Rivers 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 1-1 0-1 2, Hilliard 0-1 0-0 0, Niemann 0-0 0-0 0, Talley 4-11 1-4 12, Fox 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 19-48 7-11 51.
PENN ST. (11-15)
Graham 2-3 1-2 5, Travis 2-2 0-0 4, Colella 2-12 0-0 6, Frazier 7-9 8-8 23, Woodyard 4-7 2-2 14, Glover 0-1 0-0 0, Marshall 5-8 0-0 12, Montminy 0-0 0-0 0, Borovnjak 1-2 1-2 3, Ackerman 0-0 0-0 0, Wisniewski 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-44 12-14 67.
Halftime-Penn St. 36-26. 3-Point Goals-Nebraska 6-20 (Talley 3-8, Fox 1-1, Spencer 1-5, McCray 1-5, Richardson 0-1), Penn St. 9-23 (Woodyard 4-7, Marshall 2-3, Colella 2-11, Frazier 1-1, Glover 0-1). Fouled Out-McCray. Rebounds-Nebraska 21 (Richardson 4), Penn St. 30 (Frazier 10). Assists-Nebraska 11 (Richardson 5), Penn St. 13 (Frazier 9). Total Fouls-Nebraska 14, Penn St. 15. A-13,103.