Sloppy Penn State falls to NC State in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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Sloppy Penn State falls to NC State in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina State built its big lead with sharp shooting from behind the 3-point line -- then made it stand by shooting well from the free-throw line.

N.C. State held on to beat Penn State 85-78 on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Omer Yurtseven had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Al Freeman scored 17 points and fellow graduate transfer Sam Hunt added a season-best 14 and hit four of the Wolfpack's season-high 10 3-pointers.

N.C. State (6-2) hit 8 of 10 free throws in the final minute to snap the two-game losing streak that followed its upset of then-No. 2 Arizona last week in the Bahamas.

Coach Kevin "Keatts said we had the flu, and this game was our recovery," Yurtseven said, "and now, we're back healthy."

Lennard Freeman finished with 10 points and Torin Dorn added 12 rebounds for the Wolfpack.

Tony Carr scored 29 points on 12-of-25 shooting for Penn State while Lamar Stevens finished with 13 points and Shep Garner added 10.

In losing for the second time in three games, the Nittany Lions (6-2) -- who usually thrive on generating steals -- instead had 18 turnovers, including two in the final minute.

And while they outscored N.C. State 42-26 in the paint and held a 43-35 rebounding advantage, coach Patrick Chambers said his team missed too many short-range shots and gave up too many rebounds at the wrong times.

"I love the fight that this team has," Chambers said. "They came back, cut it to three. ... We need stops. And we need to cover the glass. I thought they got some timely rebounds."

The Wolfpack never trailed in the second half and led by 13 with just over four minutes to play before Penn State rallied, closing to 79-76 on Lamar Stevens' stickback with 43.1 seconds remaining.

After Markell Johnson hit a free throw with 41.4 seconds left, the Nittany Lions threw the ball away on their next trip downcourt.

Braxton Beverly hit two free throws with 30.9 seconds left to stretch it to 82-76, and after Carr hit a jumper, Johnson added two more to make it a six-point game. Carr was called for an offensive foul with about 10 seconds left and Beverly iced it with a free throw with 4.7 seconds left.

Big picture
Penn State: The Nittany Lions lost their first true road game of the season. Carr continued his scoring tear, but Penn State couldn't get much from another of its key scorers. Mike Watkins, a 10.3-point scorer, finished with eight on 4-of-10 shooting, but did have 14 rebounds.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack took care of some of the hallmarks of first-year coach Kevin Keatts' uptempo system -- shooting 3s and forcing turnovers. They have forced an average of 22.4 takeaways in their five home games, and even Yurtseven got into the 3-point-shooting act, knocking down three of them. "The thing is, if you treat every practice like games, then games are going to be just like practices," Yurtseven said. "That's basically the logic behind it, and whatever you do, it pays off at the end."

Injury report
The Wolfpack were down two players after forwards Darius Hicks and Abdul-Malik Abu suffered knee injuries. Abu, who missed the first four games with a sprained right knee, reported knee soreness and was held out. Hicks, who didn't play in any of the three games in the Bahamas, tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in practice earlier this week and will miss the season. Keatts said

Key stats
N.C. State's bench outscored Penn State's 39-9. The bulk of that was provided by Yurtseven and Hunt, as N.C. State went only three deep on the bench.

Up next
Penn State: Begins Big Ten play on Saturday at Iowa.

N.C. State: Plays host to South Carolina State on Saturday.

This one truly hurts for Penn State

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This one truly hurts for Penn State

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- John Beilein has always coveted the type of player with near-limitless energy reserve who can provide a scoring spark off the bench.

Michigan's coach has found his man this year.

Duncan Robinson supported No. 17 Michigan's starters with 19 points and helped the Wolverines beat Penn State 72-63 on Wednesday night.

"I've loved always having this, whether I was at Richmond, West Virginia, Canisius, the guy that can come off the bench with no conscience," Beilein said. "It's very hard to sit there for 10 minutes and then just go in and shoot. And he can do that."

Moritz Wagner added 18 and Jordan Poole had 13 for the Wolverines (23-7, 12-5 Big Ten) who won their fourth straight.

It got easier for the Wolverines just four minutes in when star Penn State forward Mike Watkins crumpled under Penn State's basket with an apparent right leg injury.

"That certainly was a factor in the game as well," Beilein said.

Tony Carr scored 21 points and Lamar Stevens added 19 for the Nittany Lions (19-11, 9-8) who trailed for all but about four minutes.

Michigan took control with a 25-12 run midway through the first and Robinson made Michigan's fifth of 10 3-pointers to put the Wolverines up by 13, their biggest lead of the game, with 3:52 left in the opening half. Back-to-back jumpers from Stevens cut Michigan's halftime lead to 34-26.

The Nittany Lions opened the second with a 13-4 run and took a 39-38 lead when Carr rolled a floater off his fingertips, drew a foul and made the free throw with 16:12 left.

"At halftime, we knew we didn't play well," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We were dealing with some adversity and I thought our guys competed and played hard, to come out and take the lead."

But the Wolverines went ahead for good on Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman's 3-pointer with 10:19 left. Michigan players combined to go 9-for-10 from the free throw line in the final minute to close out the game.

Watkins hurt
Watkins appeared to be in a good amount of discomfort as he was helped off the court.

Afterward, the forward spent a few minutes on a courtside exercise bike before returning to the bench with 9:28 to play. He lobbied Chambers to let him re-enter the game, but was clearly hobbled before Chambers pulled him out for good moments later.

Visibly upset, Watkins covered his face with a towel then entered the locker room before the half ended.

Chambers said he didn't have an update on Watkins other than the team would wait for test results on his right leg to come back later this week.

It was the second straight game -- and second straight loss -- where Watkins' presence was sorely missed. He found himself in early foul trouble against Purdue and played just nine minutes in Penn State's 76-73 loss.

"It's tough. They're a team that shoots a bunch of 3s. We weren't surprised that they shot the ball well."

Defending the 3
The Wolverines entered the game having made 264 3-pointers, good for second in the conference. They dropped 10 more on the Nittany Lions including a pair of back-to-back shots from Wagner that broke up Penn State's early second-half run.

They were big considering Beilein felt like his squad was squandering most of its chances early in the second.

"They just happened," Beilein said. "He got open, luckily, and he made them both and all of a sudden it's a 1-point game and we're still playing."

Robinson was 3-for-6 and hit the final 3-pointer to give the Wolverines' a 9-point lead with 1:28 left. Wagner was 4-for-5 from 3-point range while Poole added a pair.

"When you give up 10 3s to Michigan, It's going to be a tough outing for sure," Chambers said.

The big picture
Michigan: The Wolverines are guaranteed to be seeded no worse than fifth in the Big Ten tournament with the win. They'll have a chance to improve that as the teams above them in the standings No. 9 Purdue and Nebraska still have games remaining.

Penn State: With a 3-point loss to Purdue in their last game, the Nittany Lions badly needed this one for their NCAA tournament resume. Watkins will be nearly impossible for Penn State to replace if it has to move on without him. The 6-foot-9 forward is third in the country shooting 69.2 percent from the field. He has 13 double-doubles on the season and leads the team with 68 blocks and 258 rebounds. The players who would likely replace his minutes --Julian Moore and Satchel Pierce -- have averaged just 10 and eight minutes per game respectively.

Up next
Michigan visits Maryland on Saturday.

Penn State travels to Nebraska on Sunday.

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

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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.