Penn State sees a Bryce Jordan Center record

uspresswire-psu-lamar-stevens.jpg
USA Today Images

Penn State sees a Bryce Jordan Center record

BOX SCORE

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- On a night where Penn State's guards deferred to their bigs, Nittany Lions forwards Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins were too much for Northwestern to handle.

Stevens set a Bryce Jordan Center record with 14 field goals and scored 16 of his career-high 30 points in the first half and Watkins had 18 points and 17 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season as Penn State beat Northwestern 78-63 on Friday night.

"They beat us up in the paint," Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. "They beat us on drives and post-ups and it was just too much for us to overcome tonight."

Both played with a visible edge -- Watkins backed his marks violently into the paint and Stevens screamed in exaltation after numerous dunks. It was a needed release after a somber ride home from Maryland where the Nittany Lions lost a game they thought they should've won Tuesday.

"Sometimes, a loss like that, where you're winning for 36 minutes and you come up short, it can fracture a young team," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said.

It didn't.

Tony Carr added 12 points for the Nittany Lions (12-5, 2-2 Big Ten), who led the Wildcats (10-7, 1-3) for all but 61 seconds.

Bryant McIntosh returned to the Northwestern lineup from a one-game injury absence and led the Wildcats with 18 points.

Penn State took control with its best shooting half in more than a decade. The Nittany Lions made 71 percent (17 of 24) of their field goals in the first half and led 41-34 at halftime. Penn State last made at least 70 percent of its shots against VMI in 2006.

The Nittany Lions used a 9-0 run that spanned four-plus minutes midway through the second to keep the game out of reach. In that time, the Wildcats went 0 for 7 from the field and wouldn't come closer than six points.

Wheeler’s emergence
Jamari Wheeler has become a valuable commodity off the bench and Chambers is plenty comfortable deploying the speedy freshman in nearly any situation.

Wheeler's speed has helped fuel Penn State's transition game and his defense left few clean shots for McIntosh's sidekick Scottie Lindsey, who dropped 31 points on Penn State on its home court last season.

Lindsey was just 3 for 17 from the field on Friday.

"Jamari's fearless," Stevens said. "I think he's really held his own as a freshman."

Carr’s contributions
Carr struggled scoring the ball for much of the game. He went just 3 for 13 from the field, but Penn State's top shooter made other contributions.

He finished with five assists and four rebounds and made 5-for-7 free throws. He also helped hold the Wildcats in check defensively.

"He was very proud to show me he had blood running down his leg and blood running down his elbow," Chambers said. "I said, `What do you think I'm going to say?' He said, `Winning hurts.' That's right. That's the way it's got to be from here on out."

The takeaway
Northwestern: The Wildcats have been inconsistent for most of the season, ranking in the bottom half of the Big Ten in scoring offense and defense as well as field-goal percentage. Getting McIntosh back should help.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions lost a game they probably should've won against Maryland and played with chips on their shoulders to start this one.

Up next
Northwestern hosts Minnesota (13-3, 2-1) on Wednesday.

Penn State travels to Indiana (8-7, 1-2) on Tuesday.

Penn State can't keep streak alive against No. 6 Purdue

ap-tony-carr-psu-purdue-basketball.jpg
AP Images

Penn State can't keep streak alive against No. 6 Purdue

BOX SCORE 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Carsen Edwards scored 27 points to lead sixth-ranked Purdue to a 76-73 victory over Penn State on Sunday night.

Dakota Mathias added 18 points and Isaac Haas had 12 points and six rebounds for the Boilermakers (24-5, 13-3 Big Ten), who snapped a season-worst three-game skid.

Tony Carr had 19 points, five rebounds and five assists, Shep Garner had 17 points and Lamar Stevens had 13 points and six rebounds for the Nittany Lions (19-10, 9-7). The loss ended a stretch of six wins in seven games.

Ryan Cline's 3-pointer with 5:31 remaining gave Purdue a 61-58 lead, and the Boilers never trailed the rest of the way.

It wasn't easy for a Purdue team in search of the same offensive flair that made the Boilermakers unbeatable during a program-record 19-game winning streak that stretched from November until a 64-63 loss to Ohio State on Feb. 7. It became more difficult without starting forward Vincent Edwards, one of the team's most consistent players.

Vincent Edwards sat on the bench wearing a walking boot after spraining his left ankle in practice on Saturday. The team disclosed the injury in a statement before tipoff.

It was another uncharacteristic game for the Boilermakers. They trailed by as much nine points in the first half, during which they shot 42.3 percent from the field and went 2 for 9 from 3-point range.

Penn State led 36-32 at halftime.

Big picture 
Penn State: Despite another poor offensive night by Purdue, the Nittany Lions proved their recent hot streak, which included a 79-56 blowout of No. 8 Ohio State, may not have been a fluke. Even after the Boilermakers found a groove in the second half, Penn State still never trailed by more than 11 points.

Purdue: After dropping three straight conference games and falling in the Big Ten standings, the Boilermakers needed to get back on track quickly with just two regular season games remaining.

Up next 
Penn State: The Nittany Lions host Michigan on Wednesday.

Purdue: The Boilermakers are at Illinois on Thursday.

Garner and Carr lead Penn State to 3rd straight win

usa-bostick-penn-state-illinois.jpg
USA Today Images

Garner and Carr lead Penn State to 3rd straight win

BOX SCORE

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Shep Garner scored 16 points and Tony Carr had 15 points to lead Penn State to a 74-52 victory over Illinois on Sunday night.

Illinois missed its first nine second-half shots and didn't score for seven-plus minutes as Penn State went on a 12-0 run to make it 49-36. The Nittany Lions (18-9, 8-6 Big Ten) led by at least nine points the rest of the way.

Carr hit three 3-pointers, grabbed six rebounds and had six assists. Lamar Stevens finished with 11 points, while Mike Watkins and Josh Reaves scored 10 apiece, for Penn State.

Illinois had the lead for more than 15 minutes in the first half, but squandered it late. Carr air balled a 3-pointer from the right wing, but Jamari Wheeler grabbed the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Garner, who nailed a corner 3.

On the ensuing play, Mark Alstork stepped on the baseline while inbounding the ball, giving Penn State possession with 3.6 seconds left. Carr scored a layup before the buzzer to take a one-point lead into the break.

The Nittany Lions shot 54.5 percent from the field, outscored Illinois 34-12 in the paint and won their fourth consecutive game against the Illini. Penn State has won six of its last seven overall.

Leron Black led Illinois (12-14, 2-11) with 18 points.

Big Picture
After finishing three games below .500 last season, the Nittany Lions continued their impressive turnaround this year. With a strong finish in conference play, Penn State could make its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2011.

After scoring career-high 32-points in a 78-69 loss to Wisconsin on Thursday, Trent Frazier was held to just six against Penn State. He has been Illinois' best player in conference play, and without a strong performance from him the Illini struggled.

Up Next
The Illini will face Indiana on the Wednesday night. Illinois knocked off the Hoosiers on Jan. 24 for its first Big Ten victory of the season.

Penn State returns home to face No. 14 Ohio State. The Buckeyes sit atop the Big Ten after a one-point win over No. 3 Purdue last week.