Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 11, 2015

How about that for a start to the 2015 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament?

D.J. Newbill scored a team-high 26 points and Penn State recorded 16 blocks, which is a Big Ten Tournament record, in a 68-65 win over Nebraska in the opening game of the 2015 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament. senior writer Tom Dienhart was courtside to take in all the action.

Star player: D.J. Newbill was the man for Penn State. He had 31 points in a regular-season finale win at Minnesota and followed that with 26 points today vs. Nebraska. He hit 9-of-22 shots (4-of-8 from 3-point range) with two assists, three steals and four blocks.

Top stat: 16, blocks for Penn State. It was the proverbial block party for the Nittany Lions. Brandon Taylor had five and D.J. Newbill added four, as Nebraska shot just 30 percent from the field.

Best stat line: Nebraska?s Terran Petteway excelled in defeat, hitting 7-of-17 shots, 4-of-7 from 3-point range and 11-of-13 free throws for a game-high 29 points. He also added three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Dunk you very much: Not real sexy, but D.J. Newbill picked off an errant Nebraska pass in the first half and cruised in for a largely pedestrian slam. This game was largely devoid of dunks. (insert your frowny face here)

It was over when: Penn State hit three, 3-pointers on consecutive possessions in the first five minutes of the second half. D.J. Newbill hit two and Shep Garner added a third, leading to a Huskers? timeout. In that span, Nebraska hit just one free throw. So, at the 15:45 mark, Penn State pushed a five-point halftime lead to 16 at 51-35. Nebraska cut the lead to one late in the game, but Penn State never relinquished the edge and hung on for victory.

Notable: Penn State has now won two in a row after enduring a six-game losing streak. The Nittany Lions will play No. 5 Iowa on Thursday. The teams met once this year, with the Hawkeyes taking an 81-77 overtime win in State College on Feb. 28.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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