NEW YORK -- Jamelle Cornley threw his arm around Talor Battle, both smiling to zoomed-in cameras seconds after winning the National Invitation Tournament.
Behind those lenses were the final snapshots of a duo largely responsible for raising the men's basketball program out of a chasm of insignificancy.
Exiting the Madison Square Garden hardwood, Cornley moves on, leaving the little guy a team he helped mature into winners with his late-game heroics.
After re-writing the Penn State record books, Battle and the cluster of underclassmen -- there will be no seniors on next year's team -- hope to keep the momentum of Thursday's win heading into next year.
Forward is the direction Battle intends on taking the program.
A team that meant little to much of the campus in November made college hoops relevant come March, as evidenced by the more than 30 busloads of fans making the four-hour ride to New York.
Oh how all that was almost for naught if a buzzer-beating 3 against George Mason March 17 hadn't gone in.
"I didn't really see how huge it was then," Battle said with a NIT champion T-shirt on. "We were right there on the ropes, and look at us now. We're the champions. That's how the game goes."
Cornley did not anticipate a 27-11 record to close his career. Battle, it turned out, proved the naysayers who told him he couldn't be a winner at Penn State wrong.
"Two years ago, at first people initially asked him and he said he believed in his heart he could turn it around," Battle's mother, Denise Murphy, said. "People took that as cockiness, and it hurt me. But he really believes winning is contagious."
Battle's brother, recent Penn State verbal commit Taran Buie, wasn't surprised the turnaround happened so fast.
"He did the same thing to our high school," Buie said. "He came and turned it around. Although it can't be a one man thing at the college level."
Battle will have the opportunity to disprove his brother next year. Cornley and backcourt mate Stanley Pringle's departure break-up two-thirds of the Lions' "Big three."
Cornley doesn't see the success ending with his career.
"As long as we have people who are willing to sacrifice and do whatever it takes to win, Penn State basketball will continue to be on the map," Cornley said.
Cue Battle, who not only finished with the fifth-highest point total in a single season (635), but also broke the school record for assists in a season (189).
Senior guard Danny Morrissey said Battle's leadership along with sophomores Andrew Jones and D.J. Jackson equates to a bright future.
With 10 players set to return next year, coach Ed DeChellis shouldn't have to worry about guys not knowing what it takes to win.
"This team was as committed as any other team I've ever had," DeChellis said.
"You couldn't write a better book for these guys, the seniors, and the other kids on the team that put their heart and soul into this thing."
Pringle said the dedication and extra work put in since summer workouts was meant for getting a chance to end the season with a win.
Assistant coach Kurt Kanaskie told Pringle it's more than about winning.
"He goes to JoePa after the Notre Dame game and said, 'We're a basketball school now, too,' " Pringle recalled. "He laughed and said, 'You damn sure are.' "