Nittany Lions Down Northwestern in Big Ten Tournament
NEW YORK – The lights were bright, the stage was big and Penn State’s star players came out to play at the world’s most famous arena as the No. 7 seed Nittany Lions (20-12, 9-9) bested No. 10 seed Northwestern (15-17, 6-12), 65-57, in the second round of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.
Sophomore phenom Tony Carr led the way for the Nittany Lions, notching 25 points on 8-of-20 shooting from the field. He also knocked down six of his 10 threes to lead all scorers.
Perhaps the biggest shot of the night for Carr and Penn State was a contested three with just under three minutes remaining on the clock to give the Nittany Lions a 61-54 advantage.
Northwestern guard Bryant McIntosh, who was on the receiving end defensively on the Carr long ball, had high praise for the sophomore.
“He obviously knew it was winning time,” McIntosh said.
Despite multiple droughts of three or more minutes without scoring a point, the Penn State offense finished both halves strong, going on identical 10-3 runs in the final four minutes of each frame to both seize momentum and close out what had been an extremely tight game.
However, it was the effort on the defensive end, including a charge taken by Shep Garner which caused Northwestern forward Scotty Lindsey to foul out with 3:20 remaining on the clock.
“[Garner] embodies what a Penn State player is. That’s Penn State basketball,” Chambers said. “That’s what seniors do.”
The Wildcats hit only one field goal down the stretch, in large part due to the stifling defensive effort from Penn State.
“The last four minutes when we went on that run, just everybody really buckled down and got some stops,” Chambers said.
Josh Reaves chipped in a double-digit offensive effort as well, scoring 15 points after a fastbreak dunk off a steal in the first half jump-started his aggressive mentality.
Derek Pardon led the way for the Wildcats with 14 points in what will most likely be Northwestern’s final game of the season.
For Penn State, the win preserves an outside shot at the NCAA Tournament, a plateau the Nittany Lions haven’t reached since 2011, the year before Chambers took over as head coach.
But the players and coaches simply look at every game as an opportunity to get better and a chance to fight another day.
“I don’t think like that,” Carr said when asked about if he thought about losing possibly ending Penn State’s hopes of making the Big Dance. “I always think positive thoughts.”
The Nittany Lions have now won back-to-back games in the Big Ten Tournament for the first time under Chambers, and have reached the quarterfinals for the second time in his tenure.
A familiar foe awaits in the third game of tomorrow’s action from Madison Square Gardens as the Nittany Lions meet No. 2 seed Ohio State, a team they have bested twice this season.
Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. and will air at psucommradio.com as well as on our mobile app.
Tom Shively is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.