Thompson led the Eagles in scoring with . . .
Penn State's Brandon Taylor led all-scorers in the contest with 27 points, while Payton Banks and Shep Garner added 17 and 16, respectively. Taylor shot a hot 4-of-8 from three-point land while connecting on 9-of-19 overall shot attempts.
EMU outshot the Nittany Lions, hitting at a 42.6 percent, while PSU shot just 36.1 percent from the floor. It was Penn State's three-point shooting and rebounding that gave the Nittany Lions the edge in the contest. PSU knocked down 42.9 percent (9-of-21) of its triples to EMU's 23.5 percent (4-of-17) while out-rebounding the Eagles, 49-32.
The Green and White scored the opening bucket as Thompson hit a right-handed hook shot, but Penn State responded with four-straight points. After trading baskets, the Eagles registered seven points in a row to take a three-point, 11-8, lead with 14:22 on the clock in the first half. PSU punched back, regaining the lead by two, 13-11, with 13:12 left in the opening stanza.
Five-straight points gave the Eagles a three-point edge, before Julian Moore knocked down the front-end of two free throws to cut the lead to two. With 7:24 left in the half, Thompson converted another shot from inside the paint, giving the Green and White its largest lead of the game, 18-14. Following the Thompson bucket, the Nittany Lions offense sparked.
Led by a Banks tip-in, Penn State went on a 19-5 run to close out the final seven minutes of play in the first half. Eastern Michigan trailed by 10, 34-24, heading into the break.
Thompson was the EMU leader in the first half, nearly recording a double-double in the first 20 minutes of play with nine points and eight rebounds. As a team, Eastern struggled, hitting just 32.1 percent (9-of-28) of its shots before intermission, while going just 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) from the charity stripe. Conversely, the Nittany Lions went 4-of-10 from the long line to lead Penn State to the 10-point edge at the half.
The second half began with both squads trading buckets before a pair of free throws from Moore sparked a quick, 15-2, Penn State run, putting the Nittany Lions up 23, their largest lead, with 11:17 left in the contest.
Eastern's offense crawled back to within 19 at the 5:58 mark before a 7-0 run capped by a pair of Brandon Nazione free throws saw the Eagles move within 13 of the Nittany Lions. With EMU trailing by 12, Taylor connected on another three pointer before the Green and White went for six-straight to make it a nine-point game, 73-64, with under two minutes left. PSU was able to convert on its free throws through the final moments of play, allowing the Nittany Lions to hold onto an 11-point, 81-70, victory.
The Eagles return to the court Tuesday, Dec. 8, when they host Rochester College. Tipoff with the Warriors is slated for 7 p.m. from the Convocation Center.
(Courtesy of EMU Athletics)