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Penn State defeats another ranked conference opponent

Jan 12, 2011 - 8:10 AM University Park, PA (Sports Network) - There was a party on the Bryce Jordan Center floor, again.

Andrew Jones' putback slam with 0.7 seconds to play gave Penn State a 57-55 victory over 16th-ranked Illinois, as the Nittany Lions claimed consecutive wins against ranked opponents for the first time since 1954.

Talor Battle, who scored 17 of his 26 points in the second half, drove the lane, drew four Illini defenders and missed strong off the backboard, but the basketball fell right to Jones, who converted a slam on the weak side. A long inbound pass was tipped by several Penn State players, leading to a wild celebration on the home floor for a second straight game.

Penn State defeated Michigan State, which was ranked 18th at the time, 66-62, on Saturday. The Nittany Lions (10-6, 3-2 Big Ten) defeated a ranked opponent for the second straight game for the first time since beating Notre Dame and LSU in the 1954 NCAA Tournament.

"We have two very tough games ahead at Ohio State and Purdue, so we don't have much time to celebrate," Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis said. "This is a very unforgiving league, so you can't get too excited about winning two games. It gives the guys some confidence going into the Ohio State game. This win is a confidence builder for us, but we still have a long way to go."

Mike Tisdale led Illinois (13-4, 3-1) with 16 points and 14 rebounds and Demetri McCamey added 10 points and five assists in defeat.

Penn State held a 48-45 edge before Bill Cole drained a game-tying three with 6:32 to play. Jeff Brooks followed with a layup, but D.J.Richardson was fouled shooting a trey and made all three to give the visitors a 51-50 edge. Jones followed with a jumper and Battle connected on a corner trey for a 55-51 edge.

McCamey cut the deficit in half with a layup in transition, and neither team scored again until Cole's game-tying layup off a great dish from McCamey for a 55-55 game with 20 seconds remaining.

The Nittany Lions ran down the clock and Battle drove to the right block, where four defenders converged on the guard. He tossed a tough shot high off the glass and it bounced to Jones on the weak side. The big man timed his jump perfectly and slammed in the miss for the game-winner.

Illinois made just one field goal for nearly the first six minutes of the game, falling behind 11-2. It still trailed, 16-8, after David Jackson drained a three-pointer with just over 10 minutes to go. The Penn State lead grew to 25-13 on Brooks' three-pointer with under six minutes on the clock.

Those were Penn State's last points of the half, as Illinois ran off the final 12, capped by Mike Davis' shot just before the buzzer, to make it a tie game at the break.

"Hats off to Penn State they played their butts off," Illinois head coach Bruce Weber said. "They played their butts off against Michigan State. They found a way to win. I didn't think we had great emotion at the beginning of the game, but we did fight our way back had a good run to finish the half. A tied score makes you feel pretty good going in at half time, so let's go and come back and have a good start. But they got off to a good start and they got five points that we could never recover."

Game Notes

Davis and Cole both scored eight points in defeat...Brooks scored seven points with 10 rebounds in the victory...Penn State grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and scored 15 points off turnovers.