Penn State already with double-digit wins

USA Today Images

Penn State already with double-digit wins


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As he went after his own rebounds during warmups on Tuesday, Josh Reaves took a moment to appreciate the long shots arcing overhead and falling, one after the other, through Penn State's hoop.

Reaves got to appreciate the makes all night.

Penn State (10-3) made 57 percent of its shots on 31-for-54 shooting with 10 3-pointers in its 80-65 win over Binghamton on Tuesday night.

"I knew that my teammates were feeling it," Reaves said.

Mike Watkins scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help Penn State win its third straight and snap Binghamton's seven-game winning streak.

Lamar Stevens scored 16 points while Reaves, Tony Carr and Shep Garner all chipped in 15 points each for the Nittany Lions, who led for all but 2:49, opened the game with an 8-0 run and led 39-36 at halftime.

"They're built to and they drive it relentlessly into the paint," Binghamton coach Tommy Dempsey said. "We needed (to make them) beat us from 3 and I thought we guarded the line pretty good. They hit some long ones."

Garner got Penn State started. He went 5 for 7 from 3-point range and began each half with two deep shots.

J.C. Show led Binghamton (8-5) with 13 points while Tyler Stewart notched 12 and Thomas Bruce added 10 for the Bearcats, who led 19-16 in the first half. The Bearcats tried to keep pace from distance and finished 9 for 23 from 3-point range.

Show and Fard Muhammed made six of their squad's 3s and a layup from Bruce cut Penn State's lead to eight with 5:20 to play. But Garner and Reaves sank three straight 3s to put the game out of reach.

"I'm proud of our guys for the second half," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We made the necessary plays that we needed to in the second half."

Staying focused
With nearly all their classmates already gone for winter break — the reason why the Bryce Jordan Center's usually full student section was nearly empty Tuesday — Penn State players may be itching to return home to spend holiday time with their families, too.

Chambers acknowledged as much, calling this "such a difficult time for our players" as they wait to close out their pre-Christmas slate with a home game against Rider on Friday.

"There's nobody here," Chambers said. "There's so many distractions on the outside with the holidays and you saw upsets over the last few days and we've just got to stay present, stay dialed-in."

Chambers' short-term plan before the team resumes practice later this week? Throw a Christmas bash for his players at his house on Wednesday.

"Get back to work on Thursday, practice hard," Chambers said. "Do our routines for Friday and get prepared for a really good Rider team."

Other numbers
Penn State outscored Binghamton in the paint 36-30, outrebounded the Bearcats 36-31 and scored 17 points off 15 turnovers. . Carr led all players with nine assists in his return from a one-game suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules. . Six Nittany Lions finished with a steal with Reaves leading the way with two. . Bruce grabbed nine rebounds for Binghamton and Show added five assists.

The takeaway
Binghamton: The Bearcats stayed in this one and should have high hopes for their chances in the America East race. Its seven-game winning streak was the team's longest in nine years since it won 11 straight en route to an America East championship.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions have gotten better at finishing games and improved to 10-0 this season when leading at halftime. They're doing it with scoring from everywhere as Tuesday's game marked the fifth time this season at least five Nittany Lions scored in double figures. ... Watkins' double-double is the 11th of his career.

Up next
Binghamton hosts LIU-Brooklyn on Friday.

Penn State stays at home to face Rider on Friday.

Penn State adds to its bragging rights over Temple

AP Images

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

USA Today Images

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."