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Penn State Hoops Overcomes Northwestern 67-65 In Overtime In Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinal

Penn State men’s basketball (21-12, 12-10 Big Ten) outlasted Northwestern (21-11, 12-9 Big Ten) 67-65 in an overtime thriller in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal game Friday night at the United Center.

Seth Lundy scored 16 points and his fair share of impactful buckets to send the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten Tournament semifinal game. Jalen Pickett and Andrew Funk followed closely behind with 15 and 14 points, respectively.

How It Happened

Kebba Njie took care of the opening tip-off and sent the Nittany Lions toward Northwestern’s bucket. Boo Buie immediately forced a Jalen Pickett turnover in the first possession, but the Wildcats couldn’t sink their attempts following two offensive rebounds on the other side of the court.

Seth Lundy gave up a turnover of his own in the following possession as the result of a miscommunication with Pickett from the baseline. Then, Northwestern’s Chase Audige knocked a jump shot home to grab the first points of the game.

Matthew Nicholson found space in the paint and nailed a dunk off of Lundy’s turnover to create a four-point cushion between the Wildcats and the scoreless Nittany Lions.

Pickett, Andrew Funk, and Kanye Clary each posted shot attempts, but couldn’t convert before the first media timeout through about four minutes of play. Myles Dread added a triple attempt out of the break that didn’t fall either.

Mikey Henn notched the Nittany Lions’ first points from distance to cut Northwestern’s lead to one. After another two minutes of scoreless action, Henn added a layup as Penn State’s only scorer.

Afer a handful of empty possessions, Cam Wynter ran down the shotclock and drew a foul to earn two shots. He knocked down one free throw to knot the Wildcats at six.

Wynter splashed away a jumper in response to a Tydus Verhoeven conversion to keep the score within a possession. Lundy followed up with a second-chance layup and earned an an-one opportunity to take Penn State’s first lead of the night. With under eight minutes to play in the opening half, the Nittany Lions led the Wildcats 11-10 in the defensive showdown.

Pickett completed a three-point play of his own to maintain a 14-13 lead, then Northwestern registered back-to-back airballs. Finally, Robbie Beran hit a three after eight-straight misses from distance by the Wildcats.

Clary turned on the jets and sunk a jump shot after a 5-0 run from Northwestern and pushed the Nittany Lions within one possession. Lundy drove to the basket in the following play and earned two shots by way of a shooting foul by Audige and nailed both.

Lundy and Funk converted back-to-back three-pointers and the helped Penn State jump to its largest lead at 23-21. Clary added a layup one possession later to close an 8-0 scoring run for the Nittany Lions in the dwindling minutes of the first half.

Penn State closed the opening 20 minutes trailing 26-25, but began to find its rhythm and break through Northwestern’s high coverage of the arc.

Funk opened the half with a three-point play and Njie earned an and-one, too, but didn’t sunk his free throw. Njie drew another personal foul from Verhoeven and added one more free-throw conversion to the scoreboard.

Through four minutes of play, Penn State secured six points and several whistles, including a total of five foul shots for Funk. The fifth-year captain hit all five to improve the Nittany Lions to a six-point lead.

Funk splashed a triple home following an explosive Buie three-pointer to silence the largely-purple crowd right before the U12 media timeout. The Nittany Lions rolled into the timeout leading 41-36.

The answer of out the break was Clary, who posted a jumper, steal, and layup in the opening possessions. Brooks Barnhizer drove through the Nittany Lion defense after Clary’s masterclass and dropped a glossy layup, which forced Micah Shrewsberry to opt for a timeout.

Northwestern tied the game at 45-all at the 13-minute mark of the second half after a 7-0 run to create a brand new ball game. Lundy dropped a triple from nearly five feet behind the arc to secure a 48-47 lead with a massive bucket for Penn State. Pickett followed closely behind with a layup and forced a Northwestern timeout in the final five minutes of play.

Clary showed off his speed once again to secure a driving basket for his 10th point of the night and regain a three-point lead at the final media timeout.

Ty Berry drained a three to jump in front, but Pickett lifted a layup into the bucket to knot Northwestern at 54 inside of two minutes. Pickett drew another foul in the following possession and missed both, failing to create a lead.

Shrewsberry called a timeout at the one-minute mark after the Wildcats laid up to get in front. With a dwindling shotclock, Lundy added a pullup jump shot in the paint to tie things back up. Buie missed his next jump shot attempt and gifted the Nittany Lions with possession and 11 seconds on the clock.

Funk had an open look with about four seconds remaining to take the lead, but missed his shot and sent the quarterfinal game into overtime.

Njie secured the opening overtime tip and sent Pickett on his way to drain a stepback second-chance triple. Wynter sent Nicholson to the line and the Wildcat missed both. As both teams reached the bonus, the game turned into a free throw contest. Pickett went one-for-two in the next play.

Wynter fouled out with two minutes remaining in the overtime period and was replaced by Clary. Berry’s free throws tied the game back up at 60, then Clary earned two shots of his own. The freshman hit one-of-two.

Audige and Lundy traded baskets, but it was Lundy’s three that forced Northwestern to call a timeout and panic as it trailed by two with 36 seconds remaining.

Buie missed a wide-open look out of the timeout in what looked to be Northwestern’s final chance. Berry was forced to foul, sending Pickett to the line. The veteran sunk both and created a two-possession cushion for the Nittany Lions. Barnhizer drove for a layup and converted, which left Penn State with a two-point lead and 16 seconds on the clock.

Funk inbounded to a double-teamed Lundy, but immediately called a timeout, which was graciously granted. Funk inbounded to Clary after the timeout and moved the ball up the court to Lundy. Barhizer fouled Lundy and the senior went one-for-two to hold on to a three-point lead.

Buie earned two shots in the next possession and intentionally missed his second shot to attempt a clinching bucket, but didn’t get around it and gifted the Nittany Lions with a 67-65 win and a ticket to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.

Takeaways:

  • Northwestern dominated the Nittany Lions at the arc and limited the best three-point shooting team in the country to just three conversions in the first half and seven total threes. Penn State was forced to work overtime to drive to the basket or find players at the post when it could normally rely on a triple from Andrew Funk, Seth Lundy, or Myles Dread.
  • The Wildcats capitalized on every nearly turnover that the Nittany Lions gave up. Penn State granted Northwestern 15 turnovers in contrast to the Wildcat’s four and the opposition managed to score on nearly every one.
  • Get your dancing shoes on, folks! The drought is OVER. Now let’s make a run in the Big Ten Tournament because why not?

What’s Next?

Penn State will move on to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals to face the winner of No. 6 Maryland and No. 3 Indiana. The semifinal game is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, at the United Center in Chicago. Folks can tune in to the matchup live on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a junior journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is Onward State's managing editor. She also talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese and Kevin Jonas. If you'd like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @keeleylammm or send your best joke to her email [email protected].

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