Nittany Lions Down Nebraska in Overtime
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – With two defenders on him and 3 seconds left on the clock, sophomore guard Tony Carr pulled up towards the top of the key. As the ball spun through the air and swished through the net, Carr knocked down a tie-breaking jumper, giving Nebraska 2.7 seconds in overtime to try and answer back. As the Cornhuskers inbounded the ball and missed their final shot, the Nittany Lions sighed with relief as a thrilling overtime period ended in a hard-fought victory at home.
“I am really proud of this group,” head coach Pat Chambers said. “That is what we talk (about) when we talk about finishing and breakthrough. This win is so much about them and their growth”.
Both teams kept things close for a majority of the first half. However, the power duo of sophomore forwards Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens soon proved to be a threat on both sides of the ball.
Executing on backdoor cuts and crashing the boards both offensively and defensively, Watkins racked up 8 points and 5 assists in the first half with 6 of those points coming off of dunks. Stevens entered halftime with 16 points and 5 assists, draining both 3-point attempts and going 5-9 on shots.
The Nittany Lions went on a 10-2 run to end the first half and headed into the locker room with a 33-24 lead over the Cornhuskers.
Although remaining silent for a majority of the first half, Carr began to find his groove in the second. Three early assists by the sophomore, including one that was a behind-the-back pass to senior guard Shep Garner for a 3-pointer, helped give the Nittany Lions the second half spark they needed.
Penn State attacked hard on offense, extending their lead over Nebraska to 16 points with a little under 18 minutes left in the game.
However, the Cornhuskers were not going down without a fight. At the 8:47 mark of the second half, Nebraska began a 14-2 run and Penn State’s double-digit lead shrunk to a 61-60 advantage.
Stevens’ final field goal of the second half gave the Nittany Lions a 65-63 lead. However, too much time on the clock allowed Nebraska’s Watson to tie the game at 65 with 1:27 left. As both Watson and Carr missed 3-pointers in the final 4 seconds, the game was sent into overtime.
After only scoring 8 points in regulation play, Carr scored 9 of the Nittany Lions’ 11 points in overtime to finish the game with 17 points and 8 assists.
“There are going to be nights like that where your shots are not falling,” Carr said. “You have to keep attacking, keep on taking shots and I am going to keep taking them as the season goes on”.
Stevens had 26 points for his third straight game with 20 or more points, while Watkins completed his fourth straight double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Penn State will return to the Bryce Jordan Center on Monday as they are set to host the Minnesota Gophers. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Ellie French is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email her at email@example.com.
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