Nittany Lions roar back against No. 12 Illini | Sports

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — No. 12 Illinois started and finished slowly in the opening minutes against Penn State at Rec Hall on Wednesday night.

The first nine minutes of the first Big Ten game at the venue since 1996 yielded a 25-16 lead for the Nittany Lions, who went on to secure a 90-89 victory that preceded a storming of the court at the 94-year-old arena. 

Illinois went on to lead by five or more points for much of the second half until Penn State cut the lead to 87-82 with a Zach Hicks three-pointer with 1:50 remaining.

A pair free throws from Marcus Domask subsequently lifted the Illini to an 89-82 edge. Jameel Brown answered with a three that whittled the deficit to 89-85 with 35 seconds left, which was followed by a stolen inbound pass and a layup from Puff Johnson seven seconds later. 

Coleman Hawkins missed a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left before fouling Hicks on a three with four seconds left; Hicks sank all three free throws to give Penn State a 90-89 victory.

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 35 points to pace Illinois, with Marcus Domask adding 15 points and Hawkins and Luke Goode chipping in nine points apiece.

Nick Kern led Penn State with 22 points. 

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