Penn State men’s basketball (13-6, 3-3 Big Ten) dropped a huge second-half lead, but managed to grab a 76-74 win in overtime thanks to some late heroics from Tony Carr.
The Cornhuskers (12-7, 3-3 Big Ten) struggled to contain Penn State’s team-high scorers Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins — each tallied more than 20 points. Tony Carr didn’t have the best day shooting, but scored when it mattered and added eight assists.
How It Happened
Penn State and Nebraska battled back-and-forth in a mostly nondescript first half. Stevens, who’s finished in double figures in each of the last nine games, led the charge with nearly half of his team’s points during that first period of play — tallying 16 off 5-9 shooting.
The Nittany Lions needed that extra push with the absence of double-figure scorer and all-around “energy” player Josh Reaves. The redshirt junior guard missed his second-straight game with “an academic concern,” according to a release from Penn State men’s basketball.
In his absence, head coach Pat Chambers needed to find increased depth — giving usual sixth-man Jamari Wheeler his first start as well as putting forwards Trent Buttrick and Deividas Zemgulis on the floor for their first Big Ten minutes of the season.
Mike Watkins don't read this…
Trent Buttrick, hello. pic.twitter.com/OrxdZIax5s
— Onward Sports (@OnwardStSports) January 13, 2018
Neither team racked up a lead larger than five points for the majority of the first half, but the Cornhuskers went cold from the field down the stretch and Penn State closed on a 7-0 run to take a 33-24 heading into the break.
The Nittany Lions kept their foot on the pedal coming back for the second half — progressing that late surge to a 13-0 run. Glynn Watson Jr., who scored 9 of Nebraska’s first 12 points and finished with half of his team’s first-half effort, disappeared as Penn State tried to run away with this game.
Despite that quick start for Penn State, the Cornhuskers hovered around a 10-point deficit for the majority of the second half, but a run just before the final media timeout took a Penn State lead that was once 16 points down to a single-possession game.
Much like it did in the 2017 Big Ten Tournament, Nebraska turned around a huge Penn State lead thanks to the play of Watson Jr. and Isaac Copeland — both finishing with 21 points. The Cornhuskers tied the game in the waning minutes at 65 — eventually sending this to overtime after both teams put together a string of painful offensive possessions.
Tony Carr shot 5-21 during the game, but ended up winning the game with a hot hand in overtime — scoring on each of the last three possessions, including the game-winner with just seconds left to push the Nittany Lions to a 76-74 win.
Carr didn't have the best game from the field, but was clutch down the stretch in overtime. pic.twitter.com/ux752PrUtL
— Onward State (@OnwardState) January 13, 2018
Player of the Game
Tony Carr | Guard | Sophomore
The box score won’t be the prettiest for Carr, but he did tally 17 points — including those six points in the final 70 seconds that mattered most.
The Nittany Lions get another game at the Bryce Jordan Center when they take on Minnesota (13-5, 2-3 Big Ten) Monday at 7 p.m.