Thursday, April 2, 2009

Penn State Wins 2009 NIT Championship

The second ever postseason championship for Penn State's men's basketball team was earned on April 2nd, 2009. Jamelle Cornley, Stanley Pringle, Talor Battle and the rest of the team vanquished the Baylor Bears, 69-63, in Madison Square Garden tonight to capture the programs first NIT Championship. Penn State played in the finals once before, losing to Minnesota in 1998. This was Penn State's first postseason tournament berth since thei trip to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2001.

Penn State's Jeff Brooks looks for a pass in Thursday's NIT Championship Game in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

As I alluded to earlier, Penn State fans turned Madison Square Garden into a home court advantage.
Penn State turned the NIT championship game into a party, and several thousand Nittany Lions fans sure seemed like the hosts.

...the Nittany Lions (27-11), who were spurred on by raucous chants of "We are ... Penn State," led by none other than Joe Paterno, the 82-year-old football coach sitting about four rows behind the team's bench.
Penn State senior Stanley Pringle guards Baylor's Curtis Jerrells during the 2009 NIT Championship Game. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The raucous crowd watched as Penn State fell behind Baylor at the half. However, in a fashion that was typical for the Nittany Lions this season they stormed back and seized control in the second half. Cornley had 18 points, Battle 12, and Pringle and David Jackson 10 each. The balanced effort propelled the Lions as their up tempo game and stifling defense was too much for the Bears, who hadn't won an NIT game since 1950 before this year.

Congratulations to coach Ed DeChellis, the seniors, and the players who will return next year. You've set the bar high guys. Let's do it again!

Second half rally propels Penn State to NIT title | ESPN
Cornley leads Penn State to NIT tournament title | Associated Press
Penn State wins NIT! | Zombie Nation
PENN STATE 2009 CHAMPIONS!!! | Nittany White Out