With leading scorer and unequivocal leader Tim Frazier out for the remainder of the season, Penn State coach Pat Chambers was looking for a new go-to shooter.
It took a half the game Friday against Bucknell, but the Nittany Lions found hot hands in Jermaine Marshall and Brandon Taylor. Penn State won 60-57, at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa., handing the Bison their first loss of the season.
"I think you see the direction we're headed," said Chambers. "These kids believe in one another. They have faith in one another, where I think all around us everyone wanted to mail it in. We didn't feel that way. We felt like we could compete, we could play."
Marshall scored 17 points while sharing point guard duties with sophomore D.J. Newbill, and Taylor, a freshman forward, added a career-high 16. It was the first game for Penn State (3-2) without Frazier at guard. The preseason All-Big Ten and national Player of the Year candidate ruptured his Achilles tendon less than a week ago.
Penn State took its first lead of the game at the 10:57 mark of the second half. The Nittany Lions outscored Bucknell, 44-35, in the second half after the Bison (5-1) took a 22-16 lead into the break.
The defense buckled down late in the game as Bucknell tried to mount a comeback. A Cameron Ayers 3-pointer with 9 seconds remaining cut the Nittany Lions' lead to two, then Marshall made the first of two free throws with 7 seconds left.
Ayers, a junior guard, couldn't get an open look out of a timeout on the final play and missed a 3 from the corner as time expired.
"I thought these guys did a really good job of understanding and managing the game plan," said Chambers. "That's what we did today."
Senior guard Bryson Johnson led Bucknell with 18 points.
First Published November 24, 2012 5:00 AM