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No. 13 Penn State Hoops Outpaces Purdue 88-76 For Seventh Consecutive Win

No. 13 Penn State men’s basketball (19-5, 9-4 Big Ten) survived a late push from Purdue to defeat the Boilermakers (14-11, 7-7 Big Ten) 88-76.

Three-point shooting was key for the Nittany Lions, who connected on a season record 14 en route to the victory. Seth Lundy led the way with six threes worth 18 points for the visitors. Mike Watkins certainly added his value in the paint as well, as the senior finished with a team-leading 19 points and 10 boards.

Penn State snapped a 14-game skid at Purdue’s Mackey Arena, touted by some as the toughest environment in the Big Ten.

How It Happened

Myreon Jones missed his second consecutive game due to illness, and Pat Chambers stayed with the same starting lineup that defeated Minnesota last Saturday.

The Nittany Lions started hot from downtown. A pair of Seth Lundy triples, along with one each from Lamar Stevens and Myles Dread, sprang the Nittany Lions to an early lead. Six of the eight shots Penn State took in the opening five minutes were from beyond the arc.

An Isaiah Thompson breakaway layup brought the score to 15-10. Oddly, both teams had made five field goals up to that point: Penn State all threes, Purdue with all twos.

Lamar Stevens picked up his second foul with nine minutes left in the opening half on a Trevion Williams shooting foul. The Nittany Lions’ star subsequently went to the bench for the rest of the half.

Luckily for Penn State, the success from distance continued despite Stevens’ absence. Jamari Wheeler’s first of the night put the visitors up 25-14. The guard’s bucket was the seventh of the night, surpassing the six three’s per game Purdue concedes on average — a mark good for second in the Big Ten.

While Penn State were sinking threes, Purdue maintained a steady scoring clip as well, led by Williams and Nojel Eastern. Jahaad Proctor scored a midrange bucket following a Wheeler turnover to cut Penn State’s lead to 28-22, however Lundy’s fourth (!!!) three of the night held the Boilermakers at bay.

Purdue seemed to be taking control at the end of the first half, however a Mike Watkins and-one and a second Izaiah Brockington triple forced the Boilermakers to call timeout with under a minute left in the first. Penn State went into the half hitting 14 field goals, 10 of which were beyond the arc. The impressive shooting was enough for a 42-30 lead at the break for the visitors.

The beginning of the second half wasn’t kind to Harrar, as the “King of Delco” picked up fouls two and three in the first 70 seconds of the period. Harrar’s counterpart, Trevion Williams, went to the bench a minute later with his third. In the ensuing battle of the backups, Watkins scored a few quick buckets on Matt Haarms, proving Penn State’s depth once again. A 9-0 run from the Nittany Lions forced Purdue to call timeout with 16:10 remaining.

The home crowd had a glimpse of hope after Thompson made Purdue’s first three, however Stevens immediately responded on the other end. Penn State led at the under 12 break, 60-39.

Things began to get going for the Boilermakers after the break, as a quick 8-0 run from the home side forced Chambers to call time with 9:23 to play.

After trading buckets for most of the rest of the game, Purdue inevitably made it tight down the stretch. At 1:42, a Williams’ three cut the lead to 10 points. Stevens missed a jumper on the ensuing Lions possession, and a pair of Proctor free throws brought the scoreline to 79-71.

Brockington made a pivotal steal with 40 seconds on the clock to stop the bleeding. Stevens made two free throws to push the lead back to 10. Purdue failed to capitalize on its next possession, and Penn State escaped a late scare for the win, 88-76.

Takeaways

  • Penn State shot the lights out from three, connecting on a season high 14 from beyond the arc, Lundy leading the way with six. The Nittany Lions were just one off from a school record 15 threes. If they weren’t as successful from deep, it is likely that the Nittany Lions’ fate might’ve been similar to others who enter Mackey.
  • Wheeler tipped the ball with about four minutes left, and ran the length of the floor in an attempt to regain possession. Harrar slid as well, despite the team up 17 points with the game seemingly wrapped up. The play, although amounting to nothing positive in the stat sheet, showed just how hungry and invested every player is in Chambers’ system.
  • Purdue has enjoyed huge wins at the Mackey Arena this season, notably No. 5 Virginia (by 29 points), No. 18 Michigan State (29), and No. 17 Iowa (36). While the superb shooting from beyond the arc propelled the Nittany Lions to the win, other factors may have proven crucial in the relatively lethargic atmosphere in West Lafayette. The game was the earliest tip-off of the night across the nation, and hosted on a Tuesday. Most midweek games are played on a Wednesday and later in the night, while fans get more jacked for weekend affairs.

What’s Next

Penn State will host Northwestern on Saturday, February 15 at the BJC. The game will tip-off at noon and you can watch it on BTN.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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