With no time left on the clock, freshman guard Talor Battle made his way to center court, threw the basketball as high as he could and was soon engulfed with a few thousand of his new closest friends.
The Penn State men's basketball team enjoyed an 85-76 victory over No. 8 Michigan State on Saturday, prompting its fans to storm the Bryce Jordan Center court. The win ended an eight-game losing streak against the Spartans and snapped a six-game losing streak overall.
"This feels like a millions dollars," Battle said. "It's one of those things that you can talk about forever -- when you are done playing the game, and everyone storms the court and are holding people up."
Fans prepared to storm the court once the outcome of the game appeared to be decided, and Penn State only built upon its lead in the last few minutes.
The win is the first against a ranked team since the Nittany Lions (11-10, 3-6 Big Ten) won at No. 6 Illinois in 2006, and it is their first home win over a top-25 opponent since beating No. 6 Illinois in 2001.
Even though a home upset was a long time coming, the fans and team knew what to do when the clock hit zero.
Celebrating fans covered the court the second the game ended, making it impossible to distinguish player from fan. Instead, everyone became one as the alma mater resonated throughout the arena.
But this scene would not have been possible unless the Lions solved their free throw demons -- and they did just that.
Penn State came in shooting 66.7 percent from the foul line, and missed 20 of their 51 free throws Saturday night.
And as the game began to wind down, the crowd waited with bated breath as each free throw made its way to the basket.
The anticipation soon grew to relief, as the Lions hit 16 of their last 20 free throws. Redshirt freshman D.J. Jackson and junior guard Stanley Pringle were especially clutch from the charity stripe, making a combined 17-of-19 free throws. Penn State scored its last 20 points from the foul line, as the team's last basket came on a Mike Walker 3-pointer with 7:11 left.
The crowd became louder with each free throw, and it soon became more apparent that Michigan State would not leave with a win.
"Hopefully, we got a little confidence back, and you know, it was great for our fans and our students," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "The students were tremendous. People came out even though we lost a bunch in a row."
The other difference in the game was the starting guards, as Battle and Pringle combined for 38 points and six 3-pointers. Pringle led the team in scoring (19) and tied for first in rebounds (six), both career highs. It is the first win for Penn State without senior forward Geary Claxton, and the 85 points are the most in regulation since the Lions beat Canisius on Nov. 16.
The Lions' inspired play was rewarded with multiple standing ovations during the game, as seemingly every timeout resulted in the crowd rising to its feet.
On the defense, the Lions held Michigan State (19-3, 7-2) to 2-for-14 shooting on 3-pointers, including 1-for-5 for senior guard Drew Neitzel. After coming in averaging slightly more than 14 points a game, Neitzel scored only six points Saturday night, with many misses coming on open looks. He missed eight of his 10 shots.
"Really, when I get home there will be a lot of blame for Michigan State," Michigan State Tom Izzo said, "but the credit should go to Penn State and what they did and how they played."