STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Geary Claxton had 20 points and 10
rebounds and Mike Walker's outside shooting sparked a key
first-half run as Penn State defeated Purdue 74-54 on Wednesday.
Penn State (10-5, 2-2 Big Ten), which has struggled mightily in
recent years, found itself in the relatively unusual position of
leading by more than 20 points at times in the second half.They withstood a late surge by the Boilermakers (7-9, 1-4). Matt
Keifer converted two offensive rebounds for buckets and Bryant
Dillon hit a few 3-pointers as Purdue went on an 11-3 run to cut
Penn State's lead to 55-45.The Nittany Lions regained control after baskets from Travis
Parker and Claxton and a Jamelle Cornley layup off a fast break
brought the lead back to 16 points.Fans gave a hearty cheer as they headed for the exits after the
victory gave Penn State as many Big Ten wins as last season, when
they were 1-15 in conference play.Kiefer and Marcus White each had 13 points to lead Purdue.The Lions stretched an 8-point halftime lead to double digits in
the second half after turnovers and sloppy ball-handling by Purdue
and defensive pressure from Penn State.Claxton had a dunk after a backcourt steal by Cornley, then Ben
Luber hit an open 3-pointer to give the Lions a 50-32 lead.Walker, a scrappy 6-foot-2 reserve, sparked a key run late in
the first half that fired up a relatively docile dinner-time crowd.
The game started at the unusual time of 6 p.m.Walker hit a 15-foot jumper, got a 3-pointer from the right
corner off a touch pass in the lane from center Milos Bogetic, then
hit a 17-footer to give Penn State a 33-25 lead late in the first
half. Walker finished with 10 points.