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Men’s Hoops Drops Big Ten Opener To Northwestern 87-77

Penn State (8-6, 0-1 Big Ten) opened up conference play with a 87-77 setback to Northwestern at home in the Bryce Jordan Center Tuesday afternoon.

How It Happened

Sophomore guard Josh Reaves got things started with a high-flying dunk off the backboard during warmups. The Fairfax, Va., native would finish with a career-high 22 points.

The Nittany Lions went down early as Northwestern (12-2, 1-0 Big Ten) stormed out to a 25-9 lead just eight minutes into the ballgame. Lamar Stevens and Julian Moore were dinged with quick personal fouls, the latter of which drew plenty of boos from the Nittany Lion faithful who were convinced it was a no-call. Scottie Lindsey and Vic Law piloted Northwestern with a combined 16 of the team’s first 25 points, prompting Chambers to call his second timeout.

Stevens went 3-for-3 from the field to start the game, allowing the Nittany Lions to push the tempo in hopes of putting a dent in the sizeable lead Chris Collins’ bunch had built up. Northwestern doubled up the blue and white, 32-16, with eight minutes to go before the half. Players from both sides dove hard after a loose ball near the Penn State basket as the Nittany Lions were desperate to make a run.

With five minutes and change left on the clock, Carr pulled up for a three-point jumper from the right wing that rolled around the rim twice before somehow finding a way out. Lindsey got his teammates on their feet with an and-one dunk to give the Wildcats a 43-25 advantage 3:35 ahead of the half. Junior captain Shep Garner found Mike Watkins with a beautiful alley-oop lob to energize the home crowd, but Penn State was staring a 51-32 deficit in the face come halftime.

Lindsey headed into the locker room with a game-high 17 points for the Wildcats, who knocked down 19-of-34 field goals (56%) in the first half, topped off by a pair of late three-pointers. The Nittany Lions, on the other hand, drained 10-of-33 buckets as Reaves led the way with nine points.

Penn State put together an 8-0 run midway through the second frame to cut Northwestern’s lead to 53-38, but the Wildcats wouldn’t let their guard down. They stretched their advantage to 72-53 with seven minutes and change to go.

The Nittany Lions had three starters finish in double-figures as Reaves, Carr, and Stevens posted 22, 15, and 12 points, respectively. Despite fouling out down the stretch, Law led all players with 12 boards, while Watkins swatted away a game-high three blocks on the opposite end. Penn State did its best to mount a comeback, but fell to Northwestern 87-77 as some fans headed for the exits a little early.

Player Of The Game

Scottie Lindsey | Junior | Guard/Forward

The Hillside, Ill., native was by far the most impressive player on the floor Tuesday afternoon, setting a new career-high with 31 points. Lindsey added four rebounds and two assists for the Wildcats.

What’s Next?

Penn State travels to Piscataway, N.J., for a New Year’s Day clash with Rutgers at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected].

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