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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nittany Lions sweep season series with Wildcats

Talor Battle may have been Penn State's leading scorer Sunday against Northwestern, but he was only part of the reason why the Nittany Lions capped off the season sweep of the Wildcats.

In another balanced scoring effort, Penn State dissected Northwestern's 1-3-1 zone defense and put on a shooting clinic in the team's 79-60 victory at the Bryce Jordan Center. The win marked PSU's largest victory over a Big Ten foe since January of 2007 when the team knocked off--you guessed it--Northwestern.

Battle led Penn State (11-17, 3-13 in Big Ten) with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists in the win, as the team shot 57% from the field in the game. Sophomore guard Chris Babb tallied four three-pointers on five attempts for 14 points.

Junior forward Jeff Brooks continued to assert himself in the paint and was able to use his size to present a major mismatch to Northwestern (18-11, 7-10 in Big Ten). Brooks had 11 points and seven rebounds for the near double-double. Andrew Jones was productive as well with eight points and seven boards.

But in a contest that Northwestern would like to forget, Penn State's strong effort was due largely in part to the play of a few unsung role players who stepped up in a big way. Cam Woodyard and Tim Frazier scored nine points apiece and shot a combined 8-9 FG. Penn State's normally quiet bench outscored Northwestern's unit, 26-19.

Northwestern trailed 49-35 at the break and shot a mere 32% from the floor in the game. Penn State's only flaw in the first half was their lackluster defense on Northwestern's three-point FG attempts. NW shot 7-11 in the first half from behind the arc, but then cooled off a bit, shooting 5-17 from deep in the ensuing half. Michael Thompson was the Wildcats only scorer in double figures with a game-high 21 points on 6-15 shooting.

Ed DeChellis picked up his 200th career victory this afternoon as the Lions won for the third time in four games after an 0-12 start to their conference campaign.

Penn State has overwhelmed Northwestern in recent years, now holding a four-game winning streak with eight victories overall in the last nine meetings.


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