D.J. NEWBILL and Penn State are used to playing tight Big Ten games, and all that experience is paying off right now.
Newbill scored 18 points, and the Nittany Lions shut down Iowa in the second half of a 67-58 victory yesterday in the conference tournament in Chicago.
"We've been in too many games coming down to one possession, one stop, one rebound," said Newbill, a Strawberry Mansion product. "We've learned from that. I think we're a different team than we are now. We're looking for a dogfight."
Newbill has scored in double digits in 32 of 33 games this season.
Ten of Penn State's 14 Big Ten losses this season were by nine points or fewer, including an 84-77 overtime thriller against Purdue on Jan. 17. Next up for the Nittany Lions (18-15) is a rematch with the Boilermakers in the quarterfinals today.
Ross Travis scored a season-high 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting for the 13th-seeded Nittany Lions, who advanced with a 68-65 victory over Nebraska on the first day of the tourney. It's the best Big Ten run for Penn State since it lost to Ohio State in the 2011 final.
"I think we can take something from each of those close losses," Travis said. "One thing I remember from Purdue is they play hard, just like us."