Penn State Defeats Northwestern 65-57 to Advance
Nittany Lions Face Ohio State Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Madison Square Garden
NEW YORK – Penn State advances to a quarterfinal game of the 2018 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament after a 65-57 win over Northwestern at Madison Square Garden Thursday night. Sophomore guard Tony Carr scored 25 points and connected on six of the Nittany Lions’ Big Ten Tournament record 13 3-pointers.
The No. 7 seed Nittany Lions, 20-12 on the year, will face No. 2 seed Ohio State at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 2. Penn State was the only team to sweep the Buckeyes in the 2017-18 regular season.
“I’m really proud of this team,” said Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers. “We played without Mike. And we heard all the noise, and these guys really responded and stepped up, played really good Penn State basketball. For us to get to 20 wins just shows you where these players are taking this program.”
With the game tied at 52 with 4:57 remaining, Wildcat senior Bryant McIntosh hit a jumper to give Northwestern a 54-42 lead, but Penn State responded with three straight 3-pointers to pull out to a 61-54 margin. Carr’s 3-pointer at 4:36 started the Nittany Lions’ 13-0 run and them up for good after the game featured eight ties and seven lead changes.
A clutch putback layup by graduate forward Julian Mooreand two free throws by sophomore forward Lamar Stevenskept Northwestern at bay. Moore also had three blocked shots, all in the second half, and all coming at critical times. Senior guard Shep Garner, who is now tied for third on Penn State’s all-time list for made 3-point field goals, finished the night with 12 points. Josh Reaves scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half and had a team-best eight rebounds.
With the game deadlocked at 30 all at the half, Garner came out of halftime and drilled two 3-pointers in the first three minutes to push Penn State to a 39-32 lead. Northwestern put together an 8-2 run to pull within one, 41-40, and challenged the Nittany Lions over the next three minutes before taking a 46-56 lead on a Scottie Lindsey jumper.
Parson scored underneath to put the Wildcats up by three, 48-45 with 10 minutes remaining in the game, but Reaves hit his second 3-pointer to tie the game again. The score would be tied or in Northwestern’s favor for nearly seven minutes in the second half, but Penn State kept battling on both ends of the court. Big plays defensively with shot clock or ball handling violations put the ball back in the Nittany Lions’ hands. Penn State committed only five turnovers in the game.
Dererk Pardon had 14 points to lead the Wildcats and Barret Benson had a game-high nine rebounds.
Thursday’s win over Northwestern in the second round gives Penn State tournament wins in consecutive years for the first time since the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Chambers has now guided the Nittany Lions to wins in three of four tournament appearances, a first for Penn State in its Big Ten era.