STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Center Andrew Jones and guard Talor Battle helped the Nittany Lions beat No. 16 Illinois 57-55 with one second left on the clock.
After a layup by Bill Cole of Illinois tied the game with 20 seconds left, Battle’s attempt in the lane bounced off the rim and into the hands of Jones, who dunked the ball for the go-ahead bucket.
The win was the first time Penn State (10-6, 3-2 Big Ten) has beat two ranked teams in consecutive games in the regular season. Penn State beat then-No. 18 Michigan State 66-62 this past Saturday.
Head coach Ed DeChellis has been focusing on defense and rebounding in practice since the team lost to Purdue last week.
The renewed focus showed as the Nittany Lions forced 15 turnovers and out-rebounded Illinois 33-28, the second straight game Penn State has had the edge in both categories.
Penn State has turned around their season and they are in the midst of a five-game stretch against ranked opponents. Following Tuesday night’s win, they will now head to Columbus to take on No. 2 Ohio State this Saturday.
Penn State was lead by Battle who had 26 points, three assists and three steals. The only other Penn State player in double digits was Jones who finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, one assist and two steals.