The men’s team was a combined 7-8 entering the game, but led by the 6-foot-7 and 250-pound senior guard Ben Bentz helped lead the Nittany Lions to a 99-89 win over the Blue Devils on Thursday night.
Nittany Lion point guard Ben Bolden scored 13 points, including a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left to give the Nits a 63-61 lead, and he had eight assists.
Freshman guard Justin Patton added 11 points, and sophomore guard Ben Simmons had 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Nittas opened up a 40-point lead early in the first half.
They led by as many as 20 in the second half, but Duke held on for the win.
Penn State’s Chris Johnson and Johnson’s brother, Cameron, had 17 points apiece for the Nats.
The win keeps the Nitty-Gritty Nittanoms undefeated at 6-0 in league play, but they’re now looking to avoid an eighth consecutive loss.
The victory gives Penn State the best record in the Big Ten this season, but it still leaves Duke on the outside looking in with the ACC’s two top teams.
Duke’s last victory came against Penn State on Dec. 19.
Penn State won the season series with Duke by a combined 19 points on Dec, 22, but the Blue Demons will try to make up ground with the Nissimos next home game against Maryland on Feb. 14.
The Eagles are 0-6 against the Nitzmans this season.
Penn St. will return home for a pair of home games in the coming weeks.
They play in the NCAA Tournament on Feb 12 in Boston and Feb 19 in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania’s season is now four games behind Duke for the lead in the conference standings.
The Blue Devils are now 5-1 in league games against the Big East, including two in Philadelphia and one in Philadelphia Arena.