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Penn State Hoops Advances To NIT Quarterfinals With 73-63 Win Over Notre Dame

Penn State men’s basketball (23-13, 9-9 Big Ten) took down Notre Dame in the second round of the NIT on Saturday afternoon by a final score of 73-63.

Tony Carr led all scorers with 24 points, followed by Josh Reaves’ 18 points. Reaves shot 55.5 percent from the field to lead the Nittany Lions. Shep Garner added 14 points and four three-point baskets.

How It Happened

The first basket of today’s game came after nearly two minutes of action when Lamar Stevens slammed a dunk down in transition.

Notre Dame’s offense struggled in the early stages of the game, scoring its first point with 7:35 remaining in the first quarter. The Fighting Irish did not knock down their first field goal of the game until the halfway point of the first.

A relatively low-scoring first quarter picked up some speed late in the frame and ended with Penn State leading 21-10. Two quick threes from Shep Garner and Josh Reaves highlighted a 13-3 run that capped off the first ten minutes of the game.

The pace of the game came back to a crawl at the start of the second quarter, as Notre Dame scored just two baskets in the first three minutes of the frame. Penn State’s first field goal of the quarter came with 6:19 to play as Josh Reaves knocked down his second three pointer of the game.

The teams combined to score just ten points in the first five minutes of the second quarter, but an 8-3 Notre Dame run saw the team close Penn State’s lead to just three with 2:40 remaining in the period. Penn State entered halftime with a 28-23 lead after a basket by Tony Carr late in the second quarter.

Penn State was phenomenal from the free throw line through the first three quarters of the game, draining its first ten shots from the charity stripe. Tony Carr led the way in this department, going 6-for-6 from the line.

Pat Chambers’ offense began to pull away late in the third quarter, taking a 42-31 lead with 3:20 to play after a 12-4 run. Josh Reaves capped off the run with two consecutive baskets, including a lay-up in transition after a beautiful head-fake on his way to the bucket.

The Nittany Lions’ offense came to life as the third quarter progressed, taking a sizable 14-point lead into the final ten minutes of action in South Bend. Shep Garner led the charge with 14 points through the first 30 minutes of play.

Notre Dame’s offense finally came alive early in the fourth quarter, beginning the frame with seven consecutive points to halve Penn State’s lead with 8:16 to play. Penn State smothered any chance of a Notre Dame comeback with a 9-2 run of its own midway through the fourth.

The Fighting Irish continued to try and fight back into the game, but clutch offense from Pat Chambers’ squad closed the door on Notre Dame’s 2017-18 season.

Player Of The Game

Tony Carr | Sophomore | Guard

Carr struggled early in today’s game, but he took over in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 24 points. His three-pointer with 1:15 to play in the fourth put the result of the game to bed.

What’s Next

Penn State earned a spot in the quarterfinals on March 20 with today’s victory. The Nittany Lions will take on either Marquette or Oregon in their quarterfinal; Penn State’s opponent will be decided Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

Mikey is a senior majoring in journalism who's a Senior Editor for Onward State. He's from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, Mikey is way too obnoxious about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. You can follow Mikey on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino in order to fill your timeline with all the hockey/golf content you'll ever need. You can also send all hate mail, death threats, and your vote for the best chicken parm in State College to [email protected]

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