Talor Battle drives, shoots, and Andrew Jones flushes the miss. With only .7 seconds left on the clock the Bryce Jordan Center was sent into a frenzy for the second straight game as Penn State was about to take down the second straight ranked opponent in over 50 years.
Rewind a few hours and Illinois, one of the best outside shooting teams in the country was up against one of the worst perimeter defenses in the country. A deep bench and talented starting lineup made Illinois an obvious favorite.
Even with the numbers against them Penn State knew that they had given Illinois fits in the past and could do it again once more. Powered by TalorBattle's 26 points Penn State fought off a scrappy Illinois team to secure their 3 Big Ten win of the season.
While Talor Battle's shooting night was impressive, his supporting cast made his efforts worthwhile. Tim Frazier chipped in with 3 key steals and 7 rebounds, many of which came during important junctures of the game. While the box score doesn't show it, Frazier's efforts may have led to over 10 points for Penn State despite his poor shooting performance. Jeff Brooks also continued his solid season with a 7 point 10 rebound showing and Andrew Jones continued his strong performance in the Michigan State game with a 12 point 8 rebound night.
On Illinois' side of the ball it was a night of turnovers and miscues. 15 turnovers, several of which were unforced, kept a normally potent offense from every really finding it's stride. Besides a 12-0 run to finish out the first half, Illinois never put up a substantial run and could only muster a small lead of 3 points in the second half.
Mike Tisdale and Demetri McCamey combined for 26 points and 18 rebounds but received very little help from a usually strong supporting cast. Mike Davis and Bill Cole both had 8 points but were never a consistent offensive threat during the game. While Illinois was able to run their offense effectively, mistakes, missed shots, and few second chance points hurt their chance to win.
Penn State moves to 3-2 in the Big Ten and travel to Ohio to take on the #2 ranked Buckeyes while Illinois falls to 3-1 in Conference and travels to Madison to take on Wisconsin.