Penn State earns first Big Ten win, stuns No. 4 Michigan
By Scott Brown
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State's first Big Ten victory of the season came against a most unlikely opponent.
It also came after a second-half rally that seemed just as improbable.
Jermaine Marshall scored 25 points, and D.J. Newbill added 17 as Penn State stunned No. 4 Michigan, 84-78, on Senior Night at Bryce Jordan Center.
Fans stormed the court after Penn State rallied from a 15-point, second-half deficit to record an emotional victory in front of an announced crowd of 8,892. Michigan is the highest-ranked team Penn State has beaten at Jordan Center, which opened in 1995, and the victory guaranteed that the Nittany Lions (9-19, 1-14) won't go winless in the conference this season.
“Words can't express how I feel right now because it really is about these kids,” coach Pat Chambers said. “I knew we were going to earn one down the line. I didn't know when and where.”
Penn State's first victory since it beat Duquesne on Dec. 29 came at the expense of Michigan's Big Ten title hopes and despite 19 points from Tim Hardaway Jr. and 18 from Trey Burke.
Burke made several big shots in the second half to keep Penn State at arm's length, but Michigan (23-5, 10-5) didn't manage a field goal in the final six minutes of the game and scored just four points during that span.
“I've seen this coming from Pat Chambers' team in the last month,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “They beat us fair and square, and in the last 10 minutes they really outplayed us.”
Marshall drained a career-high six 3-pointers, and the redshirt junior owned the game down the stretch.
His 3-pointer from the top of the key with less than five minutes to play tied the game, and he gave Penn State a 76-74 lead a minute later when he drained a pair of free throws.
The swingman's biggest bucket came with just over a minute to play when his spin move and finger-roll gave Penn State an 81-78 lead.
“He was incredible,” Newbill said. “He's always in the gym.”
“We believe we can win any game,” Marshall said.
Penn State had lost its three previous games by an average of five points, and it stuck to Michigan like a shadow in the first half, trading baskets with one of the most high-powered teams in the country.
Three Nittany Lions players scored seven points in the first half, including Newbill, and Penn State responded to an early timeout — and tongue-lashing — from Chambers to trail by just three points at intermission.
Michigan, led by Burke, scored the first eight points of the second half to open up a double-digit lead. A Hardaway 3-pointer at 13:22 gave Michigan a 60-47 advantage.
Penn State refused to go away, setting up one of the biggest upsets in school history and the celebration that engulfed the coaches and players after the final buzzer.
“It's just a great feeling to see how happy the fans were,” Newbill said. “It's a memory I'm going to have for the rest of my life.”
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ScottBrown_Trib.
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