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Quick Report: Penn State 60, Rutgers 47

01/01/2017, 4:30pm EST
By Josh Verlin

Payton Banks (above) had 20 points as Penn State downed Rutgers on the road on New Years' Day. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Despite several key players battling the flu and the entire team battling a rough shooting day, Penn State won its first Big Ten Conference game in its second try, 60-47 at Rutgers.

At First…
With both teams struggling to get much going from the floor, Penn State held a four-point lead at halftime. The Nittany Lions (9-6, 1-1 Big Ten) overcame making five of their first 26 shots, including missing their first 10 attempts from the floor. Two deep 3-pointers from Payton Banks were part of a 15-4 run in the later part of the period, to turn a four-point Rutgers advantage into a seven-point Penn State lead, before the Lions took a 27-23 advantage into the break.

Turning Point…
After Rutgers’ Corey Sanders cut the Penn State lead to four on a pair of freebies with just under 16 minutes remaining, the Nittany Lions absolutely took over in a decisive five-minute stretch. A Banks 3-point play on PSU’s next possession was the kick-start of a 14-0 run, which saw both Banks and Tony Carr knock down 3-pointers sandwiched around a Lamar Stevens fast-break dunk. The Scarlet Knights (11-4, 0-2) missed nine consecutive shots from the floor, allowing the Nittany Lions to open up a 47-29 advantage with 11:57 to play.

Penn State went cold again at that point, missing seven consecutive shots as Rutgers slowly closed the gap down to 11, but a Banks 3-pointer from the wing with just under five minutes to play and a Josh Reaves mid-range jumper a minute after that helped ensure Penn State won its first conference game of the year.

Standout Stars…
With both Shep Garner and Mike Watkins limited due to having the flu earlier in the week -- both typical starters came off the bench and played limited minutes -- freshman Tony Carr had to shoulder a larger burden for the Nittany Lions in their first conference road game. The 6-3 freshman point guard finished with 15 points, six rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes of action. Banks paced the Nittany Lions with 20 points, making half of his 10 3-point attempts.

Noteworthy Number(s)…
33: Both teams attempted the same number of shots in the first half, with Penn State making nine (27.2 percent) while Rutgers made 10 (30.3 percent). It wasn’t any better from the 3-point arc, as the teams combined to make 6-of-23 (26.0 percent) from deep over the opening 20 minutes. Only two players on each team hit multiple field goals during the half.

Up Next…
Penn State (9-6, 1-1 Big Ten) @ Michigan (10-4, 0-1 Big Ten) -- Wed., Jan. 4, 8:30 PM

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