for this game

Oden, Ohio State survive surprising rally by Penn State

Feb 15, 2007 - 7:13 AM STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Freshman sensation Greg Oden and Ohio State learned a lesson about feeding their opponents' emotions.

Oden scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the second-ranked Buckeyes survived a late rally by lowly Penn State to post a 64-62 Big Ten Conference victory, their 10th straight win.

With Ohio State and Penn State entering with opposing nine-game streaks, the matchup did not figure to be much of a contest for the Buckeyes (23-3, 11-1 Big Ten), who are striving to defend their regular-season league title.

"Hopefully we can build on this," Nittany Lions coach Ed DeChellis said. "I told them, I'm proud of them. They played hard. They played to win. We will talk about the positives and work on what we did not do well. We will go in and try to beat Wisconsin (on Saturday)."

A rout appeared to be in the cards as Ohio State held its foe to a season low in first-half points en route to taking a 40-19 lead at intermission.

The easy win still appeared intact as a 3-pointer by Ron Lewis gave the Buckeyes a 50-26 advantage just over four minutes into the second half.

However, Oden was whistled for a delay-of-game technical foul after his dunk over two minutes later which put a charge into the struggling Nittany Lions (10-14, 1-10). Behind eight points by Jamelle Cornley and seven from Geary Claxton, Penn State closed the final 13:14 with a 29-10 run.

"Those guys were really flying up and down the floor on us," said Ohio State coach Thad Matta about Cornley and Claxton. "I think a lot of it had to do with that we stopped making shots. To their credit, I thought that they really got us, they were advance passing and shooting threes, as well."

The final charge was even surprising for DeChellis, who witnessed an attribute of his team that he had not seen in awhile.

"We pushed the ball," he said. "We have been trying to get them to push the ball. When we came in the game, we wanted them to push the ball. I think it has been hard on them to come to practice every day and not have any wins. They did a great job in the second half and did what we asked them to do."

The deficit was sliced to 64-62 with 11 seconds left on two free throws by Claxton, who finished with 19 points.

Ohio State's Ron Lewis was then fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass and missed the front end of a 1-and-1, giving Penn State a chance to possibly take the lead.

Attacking the right side, the Nittany Lions got the ball into the post to Claxton, who kicked out to the top of the key to Mike Walker, whose attempt from the arc found the back end of the rim as the buzzer sounded.

"It was a wide-open shot," DeChellis said. "Good inside-out action. If you told me at the start of the game that we would get a wide-open three to beat Ohio State, I think I would take it."

"It was a great look," Walker said. "Geary made a great play and kicked it out to me. It just did not go in. That is how it goes sometimes. I will still take the same shot next time."

Walker had been an important figure in Penn State's comeback, hitting both of his 3-point attempts in the second half before the final miss.

"Mike Walker is a great shooter, and I cannot think of anyone else at that time of the game that I would rather shoot the basketball," DeChellis said. "He was feeling good and was in rhythm. It was a good shot."

The near comeback by the Nittany Lions continued a troubling stretch for the Buckeyes, who needed a closing 11-4 run to post a 63-56 victory over Purdue on Saturday. Ohio State also nearly coughed up a 20-point halftime lead before holding on for a 66-64 win over Michigan State on January 27.

"Kind of deja vu like against Michigan State at our place and you've got to give Penn State tremendous credit," Matta said. "I told the guys that we have to view this that we have a long way to go. We have to make sure that we keep striving to get better every day."

Lewis finished with 12 points and Jamar Butler and freshman Daequan Cook both added 11 for the Buckeyes, who won despite being outscored in the paint, 22-18, and committing 13 turnovers that the Nittany Lions turned into 14 points.

Ohio State finished with just five points off Penn State's 11 giveaways.

Claxton also had 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double in his last six games and Corn scored 14 for the Nittany Lions, who have not beat the Buckeyes since 2003-04, a span of eight straight games.