COLUMBUS, Ohio — After plummeting from No. 3 to No. 24 in the past month, the Ohio State Buckeyes were looking to claw their way back up in the national polls.
Penn State had other ideas.
Guard D.J. Newbill nailed a pull-up jumper over Ohio State guard Aaron Craft with three seconds left in overtime and the Nittany Lions rallied to upset the Buckeyes 71-70 on Wednesday night in a Big Ten game.
It was Penn State’s first win in Value City Arena since it opened in 1999 and the first over a Thad Matta-coached team in his 10 years at Ohio State.
Newbill led Penn State with 25 points, scoring 17 in the second half and overtime, and forward Brandon Taylor had 19.
“I made a quick right-to-left crossover and luckily it went down,” Newbill said.
For Penn State, it was their biggest win since upsetting Michigan at home last year. The Nittany Lions entered the game in last place in the Big Ten standings.
“Our mindset was to keep chipping away,” Newbill said. “We’ve been there before. Keep playing hard and believing in each other. It’s all about attitude. Coach just told us to keep digging and digging. We struck together and played for each other.”
With a trip to No. 14 Wisconsin looming on Saturday, the Buckeyes (16-5, 3-5) needed a win to avoid the possibility of falling out of the national rankings next week for the first time since January 2010 and stay in the upper half of the Big Ten. They didn’t get it.
“Top 25 teams at home don’t lose these games and we lost,” Ohio State guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. said.
Ohio State blew an 11-point lead in the final eight minutes of regulation.
“We weren’t the tougher basketball team tonight,” Craft said. “That’s on us. They made big shots, big plays, rebounds. We just didn’t do it.”
Newbill scored with 45 seconds left in overtime to trim Ohio State’s lead to 70-69. The Buckeyes ran the clock down but lost the ball and Newbill came through for Penn State with another big basket.
“We came in here just trying to get better and fortunately we came away with a win,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “It’s a difficult environment and Ohio State is a really, really good team.
“I’m excited for our players. … Sometimes you make shots and sometimes you don’t.”
Craft, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season, blamed himself on Newbill’s winning shot.
“Obviously, he’s a great player. I let him get back middle and he made a big one,” Craft said. “He hit a big shot. I tried to put a hand up and thought I was there and I wasn’t.”
The Buckeyes surged ahead 59-48 in the second half on two free throws by forward LaQuinton Ross with 7:58 left. But Penn State (11-10, 2-6) fought back to tie it at 62 on a 3-pointer from the left wing by Newbill with 1:06 left.
Craft drove into the lane to hit a twisting shot with 36 seconds left in regulation for a 64-62 lead. Penn State guard Tim Frazier missed two free throws with 28.1 seconds remaining and Smith Jr. made the second of two foul shots with 27.3 seconds left to boost Ohio State’s lead to 65-62.
Newbill answered by drilling a clutch 3-pointer with 13 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 65 and the Buckeyes missed three shots in the final seconds to send the game to overtime.
“We made some key mistakes defensively down the stretch that we had covered and we didn’t execute them,” Matta said. “We have to be toughest physically and mentally.”
Ross finished with 16 points to lead the Buckeyes and Smith Jr. added 15.
Penn State limited Ohio State to 38.2 percent shooting from the field and the Nittany Lions shot 48.3 percent for the game.
Ohio State struggled to find offense early but picked up the tempo late in the first half, taking a 35-31 lead at intermission after scoring on 11 of its last 14 possessions.
Penn State kept the game close with consistent shooting from the field, hitting 13 of 24
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