Penn State snaps skid, beats Nebraska 67-51
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Billy Oliver looked every bit the part of a member of Penn State's basketball team. Dressed in his blue and white warmup outfit, he sat between teammates Tim Frazier and Cammeron Woodyard.
But minutes after Penn State's 67-51 win against Nebraska on Saturday, he announced he would be a Nittany Lions player no longer. The win snapped Penn State's (11-15, 3-10 Big Ten) five-game losing streak, but quickly became a moot point as Oliver elected to end his career after the game due to re-occurring symptoms related to his history of concussions and migraines.
"It's the right decision and I'm happy that I made it. Now it's just time to move on from here and accept it," Oliver said holding back tears. "I'm going to do whatever I can to help these guys."
The redshirt junior plans to remain with the team and will stay on scholarship as an NCAA medical non-counter. He will complete one degree this spring and return to State College to finish a second degree next year.
"It's been very emotional and it's a sudden change that hurts," said junior guard Frazier who was one assist shy of a triple-double. "He's a brother of mine. He's going to be here next year and he's going to be the same Billy Oliver that we love and we cherish ... every day."
With Penn State's bench shortened without Oliver, who averaged 6.8 points per game this season, Frazier and Woodyard chipped in 23 and 14 points, respectively. Jermaine Marshall added 12 points to help Penn State secure its first win since Jan. 19.
Dylan Talley led Nebraska (11-13, 3-10) with 12 points and went 3-for-8 from beyond the arc. He was one of two Cornhuskers players in double figures, as Caleb Walker added 10 points. Nebraska has lost four straight games.
"I'm disappointed in our basketball team," Nebraska coach Doc Sadler said. "The last four or five games we've lost (our defense) and we've got to find a way to get it back."
The Nittany Lions led by 10 points at the break and outscored the Cornhuskers 31-25 to seal it in the second half. Penn State avenged a Jan. 11th loss to Nebraska, but coach Patrick Chambers said the win capped an emotional few days. The coach spent time meeting with Oliver and his mother before breaking the news to his team Friday night.
"You think about the future, you think about him getting experience and how he could help us, selfishly, basketball-wise," Chambers said. "Now he's going to help us in a different way."
Updated February 11, 2012