Penn State stunned at the buzzer by Rider

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Penn State stunned at the buzzer by Rider

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Nazeer Bostick may have made a bold proclamation that inadvertently became bulletin board material on Friday night.

Rider coach Kevin Baggett reached for his marker and whiteboard where he scrawled the Penn State guards' words toward the Rider bench during warm-ups and relayed the message to his players.

"He said, `This game will be over in the first 10 minutes,'" Baggett said. "They didn't even want to hear anything I had to say from there. There was no pep talk or anything I needed to say from there."

Frederick Scott scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Rider to a 71-70 win over Penn State?on Friday.

Dimencio Vaughn scored 16, Tyere Marshall added 15 and Stevie Jordan scored 12 for the Broncs (6-5), who trailed by as many as 10 with?14:18?to play.

Josh Reaves scored 10 points and grabbed a career-best 13 rebounds for the Nittany Lions (10-4), who had their three-game winning streak snapped after leading for all but 4:52.

Afterward, Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said he heard a different story about how the pregame incident between Bostick and Rider's coaching staff unfolded.

"I don't know if that's true," Chambers said. "I heard that the coach had said something to Naz. I'm not here for hearsay. I'm here to coach my team and obviously I didn't do a very good job of that tonight."

Lamar Stevens added 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Shep Garner scored 18 on six 3-pointers for Penn State. Tony Carr and Mike Watkins chipped in 10 points apiece for the Nittany Lions.

But Scott played the biggest role in the final four minutes.

He scored seven straight points in a 1:57 span to cut Penn State's lead to 65-64 with four minutes to play. He gave Rider a 66-65 lead with a pair of free throws with 1:23 left before Garner hit a 3 that put Penn State up 70-66 with 22 seconds left. Jordan's layup with 14 seconds left pulled Rider within two points and set the stage for Scott's winner, which he made despite tight defense from Garner.

"We wanted to get to Freddie rolling back," Baggett said. "They tried to press us and actually they left the court open for us a little bit to be able to have a little space and find Freddie."

Reaves doing it all
Reaves has been arguably Penn State's best defender for a while, but the junior is doing so much more than frustrating other teams' shooters.

His career-best game on the glass also included five steals and eight assists.

None were prettier than his slick bounce pass to Julian Moore who turned the feed into a dunk to put Penn State up 28-22 late in the first.

"We would've lost by 10 if he wasn't out there," Chambers said. "He's the guy that people need to be talking about a lot more. This is a guy that's setting the table for a lot of his teammates, he goes out and competes and is very consistent."

Allen's 1st slump
Jordan Allen has started quickly in his first season for the Broncs. He posted double figures in each of his first 10 games but was held to eight in each of the last two.

He was held scoreless in the second half inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

"He needs to watch more film," Baggett said. "I think he's in a rush to really try and get his shots off and now he's got to learn how to use shot fakes when guys are closing down on him pretty hard. Just got to be patient."

The Takeaway
Rider: Broncs fans will enjoy watching redshirt freshman Allen develop and he appears to have a nice supporting cast around him. Baggett was asked if he'd have been happy with a 7-5 nonconference slate thus far and responded with a resounding, `Yes.'

Penn State: The Nittany Lions have one nonconference game left before returning to conference play where they expect to make some noise. Penn State is just 30-80 in Big Ten play since Chambers took over in 2011 but has its most talented lineup since.

Up Next
Rider visits Canisius on Friday.

Penn State hosts Coppin State on Dec. 30.

Penn State tops Utah to win NIT championship

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Penn State tops Utah to win NIT championship

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NEW YORK -- Flavor Flav had his red cap flipped backward as he pulled out his iPhone on the Madison Square Garden court. Flav held the camera steady and recorded cousin Shep Garner clip the final strands of the championship net and wave it toward the Penn State die-hards.

Flav's T-shirt at the NIT said it all for the Nittany Lions: Believe the hype!

Garner hit the 3-pointer that brought rapper and reality star Flavor Flav to his feet and helped send Penn State on its way to an NIT title in an 82-66 victory over Utah on Thursday night.

The fourth-seeded Nittany Lions (26-13) also knocked off No. 1 seed Notre Dame in the tournament en route to winning their first NIT title since 2009.

"This means the whole world to me right now ," Flavor Flav said.

They were pretty pumped in Happy Valley, too.

"I think we set the standard," Garner said. "We preach defense and rebounding, but now we have something we can always go to. We won something. We're champions."

Flavor Flav, member of the seminal `80s rap group Public Enemy, sang along to "Fight the Power" as it blasted in the Garden and had the PSU student section chanting "Flav! Flav! Flav!" as the Nittany Lions pulled away for a program-defining championship under coach Pat Chambers.

Lamar Stevens scored 28 points, Josh Reaves had 18 and Tony Carr had 15 points and 14 assists for Penn State.

Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center has a long-standing reputation as one of the dreariest arenas in college basketball. Penn State fans, from rappers to silver-haired alumni, packed the Garden all the way to the last row of the upper deck.

Penn State football coach James Franklin, who led the program to a Pinstripe Bowl victory in 2014, was in the house. Flavor Flav stole the show a few rows behind the PSU bench. Wearing a T-shirt that read "33 Shep Garner," Flavor Flav danced all night in his seat. Flavor Flav popped his T-shirt and raised the roof in the same arena where Public Enemy once tore down the house.

"I think we've proven to teams across the country that Penn State basketball is here to stay," Chambers said.

The clutch moment came in the third quarter when Garner -- who became Penn State's career 3-point leader in the tournament run -- hit a 3 for his first basket of the game and a 49-41 lead that had the fans going wild.

"To see my cousin break records, win trophies, all that, he deserves it," Flavor Flav said. "The whole team deserves it."

Reaves hit a crashing layup on a three-point play that stretched the lead to 11 and Stevens wagged his tongue toward the PSU fans on a jumper that helped blow open the game.

Flavor Flav raised an arm in the air when Garner sank a 3 early in the fourth for a 68-49 edge that all but put this one away.

The final minutes certainly put some flava in your ear -- half the MSG crowd chanted "We Are!" and the other half bellowed "Penn State!"

Yeah, boy!

Sedrick Barefield hit six 3s and scored 22 points for second-seeded Utah (23-12).

"You're always kind of watching the NIT and maybe you think of it as the consolation prize or whatever," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "They have no idea how cool this was for us."

Big picture
Utah: David Collette, Justin Bibbins and Tyler Rawson are among the seniors moving on. ... Bibbins scored 15 points.

Penn State: Stevens reached 1,000 career points was named most outstanding player. ... Chambers, a former assistant coach under Jay Wright at Villanova, took over in 2011 and has struggled to find any kind of regular success. The Nittany Lions have never made the NCAA Tournament under Chambers and they'll have just their second winning record in seven seasons. But Penn State's 26 wins are second-highest in program history. The Nittany Lions won a record 27 games in 2008-09.

Big crowd
The 11,175 fans at MSG were the most for an NIT final since 2005.

"And you say we're a football school," Chambers cracked.

Something different
The NIT was a bit of a mad scientist in the college basketball lab. The game featured four 10-minute quarters. The tournament also implemented the FIBA 3-point line (22 feet, 1.75 inches), NBA-width lane of 16 inches, and a 20-second shot clock following offensive rebounds.

Penn State dominates Mississippi State to reach NIT title game

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Penn State dominates Mississippi State to reach NIT title game

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NEW YORK -- Nearly a month after Penn State was bounced out of the Big Ten Tournament, the Nittany Lions are back at Madison Square Garden with another chance to win a championship.

Tony Carr scored 21 points, Shep Garner added 18 while breaking the school record for career 3-pointers and Penn State routed Mississippi State 75-60 in the National Invitation Tournament semifinals Tuesday night.

"Of course we were a little disappointed not to make the (NCAA) Tournament, but we made another goal," Garner said. "We saw we were in the NIT and our goal was to get to New York and win it. That's what everyone wants to do. We put ourselves in position to do so."

The fourth-seeded Nittany Lions (25-13) will play No. 2 seed Utah for the title Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

After the score was tied 9-all, Penn State ended the first quarter on a 9-2 run. From there, the Nittany Lions opened the second with a 19-0 spurt capped by Garner's 3 off an assist from Carr to make it 37-11.

With football coach James Franklin cheering from the stands, Penn State went up 42-23 at halftime and led by as many as 27.

Mississippi State (25-12) wasn't able to get within 20 again until there was 7:56 left in the game. Abdul Ado's dunk made it 65-47, but that was the closest the Bulldogs got before the waning moments.

"We were really impatient," Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. "Once we started falling behind, we got anxious and we were shooting quick. Quick, bad shots and it just like, snowballed."

Tyson Carter scored 19 points off the bench to lead No. 4 seed Mississippi State. Ado had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Lamar Stevens scored 17 for Penn State, which shot 11 of 20 from 3-point territory. Carr had six assists and five rebounds.

Big picture
Penn State: While the Nittany Lions would have preferred to play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011, they made the NIT for the first time under seventh-year coach Pat Chambers. Penn State's last trip to the NIT title game was in 2009, when it beat Baylor for the crown. The school's only other appearance in the final was a loss to Minnesota in 1998.

Mississippi State: With just one senior on the roster, the Bulldogs will return most of their team and have something positive to build off as they try to move up the rankings in the rugged SEC next season.

Record producer
With his six 3-pointers, Garner broke Penn State's record for 3s in an NIT along with the school mark of 332 held by Pete Lisicky (1995-98). Garner also had six 3s in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal loss to Purdue, giving him 12 in his last two games at Madison Square Garden and 334 for his career.

"They say the record is an individual record, but I've had a lot of teammates that had a lot to do with the record," Garner said. "A lot of people that set screens for me to get me open, break passes to them, they put it right on the button for me and I just finish the job. That's a team record. It's a lot of people that had stuff to do with it. I tip my hat to my teammates and my coaches to put me in a position to do something special like that."

Up next
Penn State: Will try to win the second NIT championship in school history when it faces Utah (23-11), which beat Western Kentucky 69-64 in the first semifinal.

Mississippi State: Starts preparing for a promising 2018-19 season.