It took an 18-1 run for Penn State to claw back into the game during its waning minutes. After being down big, the Nittany Lions found themselves down just 60-57 with 3:08 left in the game.
But, unfortunately for the Lions, it was too little, too late to corral the front-running Boston College squad.
The Lions’ comeback effort ultimately fell short in their 73-61 loss to the Eagles Wednesday in the Bryce Jordan Center. Despite coming alive in the final portion of the game, the Lions put forth an overall lackluster effort beforehand and it doomed them in the end.
After the game, guard Jermaine Marshall said the team changed its mindset toward the end of the game, but the Eagles closed the door when it mattered most.
“We rallied together and we looked at the scoreboard and we said, ‘Keep fighting, keep pushing,’ ” Marshall said. “Unfortunately, some calls went their way and they played well and made their free throws and did everything they had to do.”
Although he was held to just four points in the first half, Marshall led the second half surge, as the redshirt junior finished with 25 points.
After getting within three points, the Lions’ hopes for a miraculous finish were rendered hopeless after scoring just four points in the final three minutes.
Coach Patrick Chambers said he was not happy with his team’s performance overall, but the end of the game showed him a much-needed positive spark in his team’s play.
“I was disappointed with the first 20 minutes. But that last 5 minutes showed me something,” Chambers said. “[It showed me] that they have heart and they have pride.”
D.J. Newbill, who was the only Lion to score more than five points in the first half, said the change in play was primarily a matter of aggressiveness.
“In the first half, we were playing too timid,” Newbill said. “In the second half, we loosened up and a little bit and we started playing smarter.”
Meanwhile, the Lions’ defense played well toward the end of the game, but also struggled for the most part.
Eagles’ guard Olivier Hanian finished with 22 points, with the majority of his damage coming at the free throw line, where he drained 15-of-19. In all, the Lions allowed their opponent to shoot 42.2 percent from the floor, and the Eagles made it to the foul line 36 times.
Yet, the Eagles’ coach, Steve Donahue, said his team was fortunate to come out with a win after the Lions’ inspired late-game surge.
“There’s not a team that plays harder than [Penn State] does in the country,” Steve Donahue said. “You’re watching it.”
Notes: The team announced prior to the game that forward Pat Ackerman was suspended indefinitely due to violating team rules.