Penn State falls by one at Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – A.J. Hammons had never been in a situation to win a game with a free throw.
So with a chance to put Purdue ahead with a second remaining, he wasn’t focused.
“Coach just tried to get my mind off of it,” Hammons said. “He asked me what I was getting on my pizza for postgame.”
He was focused enough and made the free throw to give the Boilermakers a 65-64 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday night.
Hammons told coach Matt Painter he was nervous about the free throws. The Purdue players have pizza after each home game, so that was where Painter started.
“We always say the pizza tastes better when we win,” Painter said. “That’s always our slogan when we get late in the game. I just tried to get him to settle down and do his routine and knock it down.”
Terone Johnson, who finished with 14 points and five rebounds, scored a 3-pointer with 7 seconds remaining to tie the game at 64 and Ronnie Johnson broke up Penn State’s inbounds pass before Hammons was fouled.
Kendall Stephens and Basil Smotherman each scored 12 points for the Boilermakers (13-5, 3-2 Big Ten), who have won three straight conference games for the first time since February 2012.
Tim Frazier had 19 points and 10 rebounds and D.J. Newbill added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Nittany Lions (9-10, 0-6), who have lost six straight, all in league play.
Penn State called a timeout once Terone Johnson tied the game to set up a play at halfcourt. Things fell apart when Ronnie Johnson tipped the ball away to set up Hammons with the game-winning free throw.
“Frazier was supposed to get the ball at halfcourt,” Penn State coach Pat Chambers said. “Ronnie Johnson just made a great play. We got what we wanted, (Frazier) was open.”
Terone Johnson has made big plays for Purdue, but that shot wasn’t even supposed to be his to take. The play was originally made for Stephens – the perfect option for the Boilermakers at that point.
Terone Johnson’s late 3-pointer not only tied the game, but saved Purdue from falling to 2-3 in the Big Ten for the first time since the 2009-10 season and kept the Boilermakers’ hopes of a trip to the NCAA tournament alive.
“We came in saying that we absolutely had to have this win,” Johnson said. “It would have been a bad loss on our resume. We have to try to win every single game now.”
This long losing streak isn’t new to Penn State. Last season, the Nittany Lions lost 14 games to start the Big Ten season before its first win.
The only other winless team remaining in the Big Ten is Nebraska, which dropped to 0-4 in the conference with a loss to Purdue last weekend. Nebraska is host to Ohio State on Monday and then goes to Penn State on Thursday.
But Penn State looked like they had the game sealed against Purdue.
Newbill was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 1:25 remaining and made 2 of 3 free throws to give the Nittany Lions a 60-57 lead.
Hammons missed two free throws with the chance to get Purdue within a point and later split a pair to make it 60-58.
Penn State missed a 3-pointer and Smotherman was fouled on the rebound. He made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 60-59 with 27 seconds remaining.
But then Brandon Taylor made two free throws to extend the lead again, 62-59, with 26 seconds left.
Terone Johnson made a layup with 18 seconds left to get Purdue within 62-61. Two free throws by Newbill with 16 seconds got Penn State back up by three at 64-61 before Terone Johnson’s 3-pointer tied the game and Hammonds won it with his free throw.
In the first half, Purdue hit five shots from behind the arc – Stephens made three of them.
He made one early in the game to give Purdue a 7-3 lead after Donovan Jack made a 3-pointer to put Penn State within a point.
Later, Stephens answered a Penn State 3 with another 3-pointer to give Purdue a 12-6 lead.
Stephens made another 3 to give Purdue an 18-9 lead with 11:25 left in the first half before the Nittany Lions went on a 9-0 run to tie the game.
Penn State scored six 3-pointers in the first half.
The long shots helped the Nittany Lions stay close with the Boilermakers until Frazier scored a layup to tie the game at 26 with 3:56 remaining in the first half.
Purdue led 35-33 at halftime.
PENN ST. (9-10)
Jack 2-7 2-2 8, Taylor 1-6 2-2 5, Travis 4-6 0-0 8, Newbill 6-19 4-6 17, Frazier 7-13 4-6 19, Johnson 0-4 0-0 0, Woodward 2-5 0-0 6, Dickerson 0-0 1-2 1, Wisniewski 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-60 13-18 64.
Smotherman 3-7 6-7 12, Hammons 0-4 10-14 10, T. Johnson 4-11 5-6 14, R. Johnson 0-3 0-0 0, Davis 2-6 1-1 6, Carter 1-4 0-0 3, Scott 1-3 0-0 2, Stephens 4-12 0-0 12, Simpson 1-2 0-2 2, Peck 2-4 0-0 4, Carroll 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-57 22-30 65.
Halftime-Purdue 35-33. 3-Point Goals-Penn St. 7-26 (Woodward 2-5, Jack 2-5, Frazier 1-2, Taylor 1-4, Newbill 1-5, Travis 0-2, Johnson 0-3), Purdue 7-22 (Stephens 4-10, T. Johnson 1-3, Carter 1-3, Davis 1-3, Smotherman 0-1, Scott 0-1, R. Johnson 0-1). Fouled Out-Jack, Travis. Rebounds-Penn St. 33 (Frazier, Newbill 10), Purdue 44 (Smotherman 10). Assists-Penn St. 11 (Frazier 5), Purdue 11 (R. Johnson 4). Total Fouls-Penn St. 24, Purdue 20. A-14,124.