Penn State's first-half lead of 15 suddenly dwindled to just two with 12 minutes remaining, and Army appeared primed to complete the turn-around.
But floor marshal D.J. Newbill's encouraging mentality toward his teammates never wavered.
"I was telling them, 'Just keep playing hard,' " Newbill said after the Nittany Lions' 78-70 victory Saturday. "They made their run. Now it's time for us to make the final run to try to win the game.' "
After the guard's pep talk, the Lions (5-4) went on a 16-4 run to close out the Black Knights and climb back over the .500 mark on Military Appreciation Day. Coach Patrick Chambers saw more than three players reach double-digits in scoring in for the first time this season, assisted by a season-high shooting percentage of 50.9 percent.
Chambers said he was happy with the victory, but most pleased with his team's ability to respond to the Knights' 22-10 run to start the second half.
"At that point, it's about attitude," Chambers said. "It's, 'Keep plugging, you just took a big punch. Now, we got to get off the floor and we got to punch back...We got to keep grinding and get a stop.' "
After a first half in which Jermaine Marshall, Brandon Taylor and Ross Travis combined for 29 of the team's 40 points, the Lions' hot shooting cooled down a bit to begin the second frame.
However, the re-emergence of Newbill -- who scored 14 of his team-high 19 points after intermission -- allowed the Lions to hold off the Knights' comeback effort.
Yet, Newbill was quick to credit his supporting cast after the game, saying the team's attempt to have more of a collective effort finally paid off. Excluding the injured Tim Frazier, Newbill and Marshall have combined to score 55.8 percent of the team's points this season.
"That's one thing that we try to do, is share the ball and play with confidence," Newbill said. "If a guy gets an open shot, just stick it. That's what coach tells us to do and I think that's what we were doing."
Penn State's top four scorers all scored at least 14 points, and positive play from both Travis and Taylor lightened the load off the shoulders of Newbill and Marshall.
Chambers said seeing the group effort, which led to the team's highest scoring output of the season, was surprising, but hopefully a sign of things to come.
"Honestly, if you told me we were going to score 78 points, I'd be like, 'You're crazy,' " Chambers said. "We're a 60s team...It's better to have everybody spread the ball out and everybody spreading the wealth, which I think you saw today."
Meanwhile, the coach also saw a defensive effort that combined to close the door in the second half, despite the 23-point outing from the Knights' leading-scoring, Ella Ellis.
Chambers said there are still several things the team must work on, citing the defensive lapse to begin the second half, but in the end he is content with how his team has continued to transition into the post-Frazier portion of the season.
"Regardless of how I feel right now, it's a win and we'll take it," Chambers said. "Nobody thought we'd win a game [after Frazier's injury]. We just won three. So, there's some positive right there, for the optimist."