Penn State Hoops Outlasts Northwestern 65-57 In Madison Square Garden
Penn State (19-12, 9-9) pulled away from Northwestern (15-16, 6-12) late to secure a spot in the Big Ten quarterfinals. The team only managed to shoot 36 percent from the field, but hit 13 threes compared to Northwestern’s five. Tony Carr led all scorers with 25 points, with Josh Reaves and Shep Garner also scoring in double digits.
How It Happened
Tony Carr was feeling it to begin the game, scoring eight of the first 15 points for the Nittany Lions. But Northwestern would keep it close, with its first six baskets being scored by six different players. The Wildcats played unselfishly, leading to a 15-3 run midway through the first half.
Penn State struggled to find offense outside of Carr, with no one making more than one shot until the 3:45 mark of the opening frame. Backup guard Jamari Wheeler played exceptional defense as the half went on as well, deflecting a few passes to go along with a steal of his own.
Right before the Nittany Lions looked like they were going to face a big deficit headed into halftime, their shots finally started to fall. The team finished the half on a 10-3 run, tying the game at 30. Tony Carr went into the break with 15 points, which was a game-high. Lamar Stevens struggled to find the range, going 1-for-6 from the field, with senior Shep Garner adding two threes. As a whole, the Nittany Lions shot a measly 35 percent, but forced six turnovers on defense.
The second half started with Penn State hitting three-pointers from all over the place. Garner hit his first two of the half, bringing his point total to 12, and Josh Reaves splashed one from the corner to bring the lead to seven. Northwestern responded with two quick buckets, desperately trying to extend its season another day. Two of the games best scorers, Scottie Lindsey and Lamar Stevens, began the game 2-for-10 for their respective squads. Northwestern’s Dererk Pardon was a main reason the Wildcats remained close, making six of his first nine shots for 12 points.
Both teams played extremely back-and-forth basketball, giving fans their first taste of March Madness. With just five minutes remaining, the game was tied at 52. After a Bryant McIntosh jumper, Carr responded with a contested three to put the Nittany Lions up by one. Less than a minute later, the tide seemed to turn as Northwestern’s Scottie Lindsay fouled out on a charge. After that, Penn State hit consecutive threes, forcing the Wildcats to call a timeout down by seven. From there, Northwestern just seemed to run out of gas.
The Nittany Lions ended the game on a 15-5 run behind all-around efforts from Tony Carr and Josh Reaves. They also only committed three turnovers, a good sign for a relatively inexperienced team in postseason play. Penn State needs to continue its stellar guard play if it wants to have a chance at an NCAA Tournament bid, but has proved it can do so in the past against top competition.
Player Of The Game
Tony Carr | Guard | Sophomore
The Philly native put the team on his back once again, scoring 25 points on 40 percent shooting. He hit six of his ten threes against the Wildcats too, one of his best career performances from beyond the arc. He surpassed his season average in points, adding six rebounds and four assists in the process. Look for him to carry the scoring load once more against the Buckeyes tomorrow.
The Nittany Lions survive to play another day, and will take on Ohio State tomorrow night. This is the third game against the Buckeyes, with Penn State winning both matchups in the regular season. The game will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network.