STATE COLLEGE — D.J. Newbill scored 23 points and Brandon Taylor 16 to lead Penn State to a 79-51 win over Rutgers on Saturday for its first Big Ten Conference victory of the season.
The Nittany Lions (13-7, 1-6 Big Ten), losers of six straight games, never trailed after taking a 16-15 lead with just over 10 minutes to play in the opening half. The 28-point spread was Penn State's largest margin of victory since December 2011 against Mount St. Mary's (29).
Shep Garner added 13 points for Penn State, including three 3-pointers. Penn State shot 10 of 20 from 3-point range and its first 12 points of the game were on 3-pointers.
Rutgers (10-11, 2-6) was led by 19 points from Kadeem Jack, the only Scarlet Knight in double figures. Rutgers shot just 10 of 27 in the second half after going 11 of 21 in the first half. The Knights were 3 of 13 from 3-point range.
Penn State forced 16 Rutgers turnovers while committing just nine of its own, and also owned a 32-28 edge in rebounding.
Penn State came out firing to start the second half with 3-pointers from Taylor and Garner. Garner's 3 with just over a minute gone in the half put Penn State ahead 47-28 and gave the Nittany Lions more points than they scored in their 50-46 loss at Rutgers on Jan. 3.
Penn State continued its second-half fireworks, scoring 19 points in the opening 7:14 and limiting Rutgers to 3-of-11 shooting and gathering three Scarlet Knights turnovers in that span.
Rutgers called a timeout after Penn State's Devin Foster took a rebound and raced full-court for a layup that gave Penn State a 60-35 lead.
That was followed only by more Foster-induced Scarlet Knights frustration. He stole an inbounds pass and converted an easy layup, and Geno Thorpe led Newbill on another fast-break layup.
Penn State's offense perked up on a 16-5 first-half run that led to a 30-20 advantage; the Lions led 41-28 at the half.
Rutgers: Starter Junior Etou did not make the trip Saturday; coach Eddie Jordan said he did not "live up to team expectations." . Rutgers guard Mike Williams injured his left ankle and left the game with 6:12 to play. . Kadeem Jack scored nine of Rutgers' first 15 points and had 14 in the half but his closest teammate was Myles Mack with just six. . Rutgers held Penn State's D.J. Newbill, the nation's fourth-leading scorer, to 14 points in the Jan. 3 game, which was the Knights' first victory in the Big Ten. . Jordan was 2-0 against Penn State when he played collegiately for the Scarlet Knights.
Penn State: Brandon Taylor left the game with 9:45 remaining because of an injury to his right knee. . Penn State's six-game losing streak to open conference play fell far short of other seasons. The Lions lost 14 straight in 2012-13, 12 in 2009-10 and 13 in 2006-07. . Newbill has scored more than 20 points 12 times and twice tallied more than 30; his 37 points against Purdue are the most scored by a Big Ten player this season going into Saturday's games. . Prior to Rutgers joining the Big Ten, Northwestern was the only conference school against which Penn State owned a lead in the series. Penn State leads the series with Rutgers 38-30; the two teams played regularly when they were in the Atlantic 10 but have played just three times since 1991.
Rutgers is at home against Michigan State on Tuesday.
Penn State faces Minnesota at home on Wednesday.