MBB: No. 14 Purdue Topples Penn State in Overtime

Audio/Story posted February 21, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Tom Shively

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Tony Carr’s six consecutive points in the final 1:10 of the game sent the crowd into a frenzy, bringing the Nittany Lions all the way back from an 8-point deficit to force overtime against the Big Ten’s top team. Unfortunately, the Nittany Lions (14-14, 6-9 Big Ten) were ultimately bested in the extra period by the Boilermakers (23-5, 12-3 Big Ten), losing 74-70.

Penn State has proven time and time again that this squad can hang with the best of the best in college basketball, but they once again came up short in a game they had every opportunity to win.

“There are no moral victories here,” Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers said. “We’ve got to close out games, we’ve got to get rebounds, and we’ve got to get stops. We made some crucial mistakes at very difficult times.”

Two of those mistakes involved leaving Purdue guard Ryan Cline wide open for three-point opportunities late in regulation and again to seal the game with under a minute to go in overtime. Cline sank both attempts, helping to contribute to his 11 points. He was one of six Boilermakers to score in double figures. The Nittany Lions had four such players.

“Ryan saved us obviously, making those two shots there at the end,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “Normally, our guard play is very solid but, no question, there were times that we were hesitant.”

The Nittany Lions were certainly active on defense, forcing 17 turnovers. They out-rebounded the Boilermakers as well, not an easy feat considering Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan are widely considered the best frontcourt duo in the Big Ten. Mike Watkins alone grabbed 13 boards, only the second time in conference play that a Purdue opponent has had 10 or more rebounds. 

Watkins dominated Swanigan early and often, collecting 12 of his 13 rebounds in the first half against arguably the Big Ten’s best player and Wooden Award finalist. He held Swanigan to only nine rebounds, denying him his NCAA-leading 24th double-double. 

“He’s exhausted in that locker room, he battled,” Chambers said. “He went toe-to-toe with a potential lottery pick. That’s a tough matchup and I thought he did a great job on those guys.”

The Nittany Lions led for most of the game, not surrendering the lead until late in the second half before they battled back to force overtime. They led by as many as 10 in the first half, but ultimately shot themselves in the foot from beyond the arc, connecting on only two of 17 attempts. 

“I thought going into the game, we needed to make seven threes, I thought that would be enough,” Chambers said. “To only make two and still send it into overtime, it says our defense is in place, but we still need to make open shots.”

The two three-pointers made ties the lowest mark of the season for Penn State.

The loss was the first home loss for the Nittany Lions in their last five home games against ranked opponents, and only the second in the last two seasons. 

Penn State will travel to Minnesota on Saturday to take on the Golden Gophers. Tip off is set for 3 p.m.

 

Tom Shively is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email shivelyt97@gmail.com.