No. 14 Penn State-Rutgers observations: Nittany Lions snap 2-game losing streak

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No. 14 Penn State-Rutgers observations: Nittany Lions snap 2-game losing streak


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Trace McSorley passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as No. 14 Penn State drubbed Rutgers, 35-6, Saturday afternoon.

With the Scarlet Knights focusing their defensive attention on running back Saquon Barkley, McSorley hit 16 of 21 passes for 214 yards, and ran 13 times for 44 yards, as the Nittany Lions (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) snapped a two-game losing streak.

His TD passes covered 22 yards to DaeSean Hamilton in the second quarter and 16 yards to Mike Gesicki in the fourth. His scoring run was a 20-yarder.

Barkley, who managed a season-low 35 yards on 14 carries, did run for two short TDs in the third quarter.

Andrew Harte kicked two field goals for Rutgers (4-6, 3-4), which lost its 11th straight to the Nittany Lions.

• Rutgers entered the game with the Big Ten’s second-worst rushing defense, allowing 179.6 yards a game. The Knights nonetheless bottled up Barkley — especially in the first half, when he managed minus-3 yards on five attempts.

• PSU trailed 3-0 after a quarter, but McSorley keyed second-quarter touchdown drives of 65 and 74 yards. He capped the first with his TD run and the second with the scoring strike to Hamilton.

• Barkley’s two scoring runs, covering one and four yards, came in the third quarter that saw the Lions outgain the Knights 88-9 while extending their lead to 28-6. His first TD run came two snaps after a gadget play. On 3rd-and-9 from the Rutgers 15, McSorley hit Hamilton with a short pass, and he pitched to Barkley, who hurdled a tackler while advancing to the 1. 

• Scarlet Knights kicker Justin Davidovicz hit the opening kickoff short and high, and when no one on Penn State’s return team handled the ball it was recovered by RU’s Lawrence Stevens at the 21. Four plays later Andrew Harte hit a 33-yard field goal, giving the Knights their first lead over Penn State since 2014.

• Knights quarterback Gio Rescigno created problems with his legs, notably on a 15-play, 57-yard field goal march in the second quarter. Rescigno converted a 4th-and-1 from the Rutgers 44 with a three-yard sneak, and later scurried about the pocket before completing a 12-yard pass to Mohamed Jabbie on 3rd-and-9. Harte later kicked a 25-yard field goal.

• The game was marked by numerous special-teams misadventures. Penn State’s Tyler Davis knocked two kickoffs out of bounds, and Davidovicz did so once, setting up a PSU touchdown drive. RU’s Janarion Grant also fumbled the second-half kickoff — on a hit by Davis, no less — but the Lions were unable to capitalize. Finally, PSU cornerback Christian Campbell recovered an onside kick in the third quarter but was offsides.

Penn State adds to its bragging rights over Temple

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Penn State adds to its bragging rights over Temple


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Josh Reaves had his second career double-double, Shep Garner hit two 3-pointers in the final three minutes and Penn State overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to beat Temple 63-57 on Wednesday night in the first round of the NIT.

Reaves shot 7 of 10 from the field, including a career-high tying four 3-pointers, and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Tony Carr missed 10 consecutive field-goal attempts before scoring his first points of the game on a jumper that pulled Penn State within four with 6:20 to play. That sparked a 16-2 run to give the Nittany Lions a 62-54 lead with 16 seconds left.

Reaves and Garner hit back-to-back 3s to make it 54-all before John Harrar's layup with 1:52 remaining gave Penn State its first lead since 4-3. The Owls made just 1 of 9 from the field and committed three turnovers during the span.

Shizz Alston Jr. led Temple (17-16), which led for more than 35 minutes, with 15 points and Josh Brown added 14.

Carr and Garner -- who came in averaging 19.9 and 11.1 points per game, respectively -- combined to score 10 on 3-of-19 shooting for the Nittany Lions (22-13).

The Owls made just 5 of 14 free throws while Penn State hit 20 of 30.

It was the 93rd meeting between the schools, which are located less than 200 miles apart, but the first since 2011. The Nittany Lions snapped a seven-game skid in the series, dating to Dec. 9, 2000.

Penn State's NCAA tournament hopes severely dented

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Penn State's NCAA tournament hopes severely dented


NEW YORK — Purdue threw a little of everything at Penn State star Tony Carr, the Big Ten's leading scorer. Bigger guys. Smaller ones. Switches and some double teams.

Carr managed only 12 points in a woeful shooting game, and No. 8 Purdue separated from Penn State in the second half of a 78-70 victory Saturday that put the Boilermakers in the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the second time in three seasons.

Third-seeded Purdue (28-5) faces No. 5 Michigan, which will try to repeat as tournament champs on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Purdue frustrated Carr and held him to 4-of-18 shooting. The sophomore faced an array of defenders, including the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Nojel Eastern, 5-10 P.J. Thompson, 6-4 Dakota Mathias, 6-8 Vincent Edwards and 6-1 Carsen Edwards.

"When you have a good player like that it takes more than one guy because he's able to make shots and make plays over guys," Vincent Edwards said. "They just did a good job of taking up that space and being able to force him into tough shots."

Shep Garner led the Nittany Lions (21-12) with a career-high 33 points and the senior set a school record with 129 career points in the Big Ten Tournament.

The Boilermakers will be making their third appearance in the Big Ten championship since the tournament started in 1998. Their one championship came in 2009.

Against Penn State, Purdue used a 12-2 run the middle of the second half to build a 15-point lead. Carsen Edwards led the way, spinning through the lane for a driving layup and making a 3 from up top that made the score 59-44 with 9:15 left. He finished with 27 points and shot 6 of 9 from 3-point range after scoring 26 on Friday against Rutgers.

"It's a consistency," guard Dakota Mathias said of Edwards. "He's being very efficient, too."

Edwards made back-to-back 3s to make it 74-56 with 3:41 left and Purdue was on its way to play for a title.

Isaac Haas, the 7-2 center, added 17 points and seven rebounds for Purdue.

With Carr struggling, Penn State could not keep up. He picked up a third foul in the second half, a push off call that caused Penn State coach Pat Chambers to draw a technical.

"I think they were very physical," Chambers said. "Obviously that's why I felt like I needed to get T'd up, my first T in a long, long time."

Big Picture
Penn State: The Nittany Lions had a chance to work their way into the conversation for an NCAA at-large bid by beating Purdue, but now Penn State seems like a long shot at best. Chambers is still hopefully.

"Well, I'm an optimist," he said. "We have NCAA Tournament talent."

Purdue: The Boilermakers hit a rough patch losing three straight close games in early February to Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin, but an argument can be made that they have been the Big Ten's most consistent team this season.

"We had an opportunity to win the Big Ten regular season. We kind of gave that away," said Thompson, one of four senior starters. "But we still had a goal of winning a Big Ten championship on our list before the season started and we put ourselves in position to be able to do that tomorrow."

Purdue does most everything well, except rebound. A night after giving up 17 offensive boards to Rutgers, the Boilermakers allowed 16 rebounds to Penn State.

Shep Shooter
Garner went 4 for 5 from 3-point range, including a four-point play, to carry Penn State in the first half. The Nittany Lions led much of the way, but Edwards made a 3 for Purdue with 2 seconds left in the half to send the Boilermakers to the break ahead 33-31.

Up Next
Penn State: An NIT bid is likely coming the Nittany Lions way, though the big question beyond March is whether Carr returns for another season or heads to the NBA draft.

Purdue: The Boilermakers swept the Wolverines in two games decided by a combined five points.

"Just a really skilled offensive team," Carsen Edwards said. "They have a lot of options. For us it's going to come down to defense and getting stops."