Penn State's NCAA tournament hopes severely dented

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Penn State's NCAA tournament hopes severely dented

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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."

For a 3rd time, Penn State stuns Ohio State

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For a 3rd time, Penn State stuns Ohio State

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NEW YORK -- With seventh-seeded Penn State trailing by a point and the clock ticking off the final 10 seconds, almost everyone in Madison Square Garden was waiting for Big Ten Conference leading scorer Tony Carr to launch a game-winning shot attempt against second-seeded Ohio State.

It was a no-brainer, until Carr decided otherwise.

Carr found Josh Reaves for a game-winning dunk with 3.1 seconds to play and Penn State may have punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 69-68 victory over Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament on Friday night.

"It was `Fist Two', basically try to get the mismatch and I was just trying to make a play," Carr said. "And Josh basically made the play. He made a great cut. I was just out there dribbling around. Josh made a great play. And I thank God I found him."

It was a great ending in more ways than one. The Nittany Lions (22-12) scored the final five points in beating the 13th-ranked Buckeyes for the third time this season and advancing to Saturday's semifinal against the winner of the quarterfinal between third-seeded and No. 8 Purdue and 14th-seeded Rutgers.

The game-winning play was set up when Shep Garner made a crucial steal from conference player of the year Keita Bates-Diop with 21 seconds to play.

Penn State elected not to call a timeout and coach Patrick Chambers called out a play.

"I just noticed my man wasn't looking at me so I took advantage of that," Reaves said. "And Tony just shows how much of a great player he is to find an open man in a time like that. I was just fortunate enough to make the dunk."

Lamar Stevens added 15 points for Penn State and Garner had 13

Ohio State (24-8) had a chance to win after calling a timeout, but a last-second shot by C.J. Jackson was not close.

"Give Penn State credit, I thought they made the necessary plays down the stretch," Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. "Tough back and forth game. We'll learn from it and get ready for the tournament."

Bates-Diop carried the Buckeyes in the second half, scoring 17 of his 25 points. However, all he is probably going to remember is losing the ball with 21 seconds to go and his team ahead 68-67.

Kam Williams and Jae'Sean Tate each added 10 points for the Buckeyes, who will wait for their invitation to the NCAA Tournament in a little more than a week.

Ohio State, which was blown out by Penn State 79-56 on Feb. 15, rallied from deficits of eight points early in the second half and six with just under 8 minutes to go, riding Bates-Diop, who seemingly wanted the ball on every position.

A layup by Andre Wesson gave the Buckeyes a 64-62 lead with 3:59 to play and Bates-Diop hit a jumper with 2:37 left to expand the lead to four points.

A dunk by Julian Moore off a feed from Carr cut the margin to 66-64 with 2:09 to play but Bares-Diop hit a layup with 1:49 left to make it 68-64. It would be the last points for Ohio State.

Carr made one of two free throws with 1:33 to go and Reaves, who finished with nine points on 2-of-12 shooting, cut the lead to 68-67 with two free throws with 47 seconds to play after Bates-Diop missed a 3-pointer.

Ohio State called a timeout, but Garner's steal near the foul line set the stage for another Penn State win.

Big picture
Penn State: Has not been to the NCAAs since 2011, but with three wins over a ranked Ohio State it might be enough.

Ohio State: Better hope it doesn't play Penn State in the NCAA Tournament.

Up next
Penn State: Faces the winner of the quarterfinal between third-seeded and No. 8 Purdue and 14th-seeded Rutgers.

Ohio State: Waits for the NCAA to call a week from Sunday.

Tony Carr sets Penn State up for Big Ten trilogy

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Tony Carr sets Penn State up for Big Ten trilogy

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NEW YORK -- With the game on the line and quite possibly a trip to the NCAA Tournament, Tony Carr didn't hesitate to put Penn State on his back.

Carr scored 25 points and hit two 3-pointers and set up another in the final minutes as the seventh-seeded Nittany Lions made a late rush to hold off Northwestern 65-57 in the second round of the Big Ten Conference Tournament on Thursday night.

"He was huge down the stretch of the game," fellow guard Shep Garner. "Big play after big play after big play. And that's what he does for this team. He makes big plays on the offensive end. We're kind of used to it at this point. We don't take it for granted, but we're kind of used to it at this point."

Penn State (20-12) broke its school record for a Big Ten Tournament game by hitting 13 three-pointers in snapping a three-game losing streak and setting up a quarterfinal game on Friday against No. 13 and second-seeded Ohio State at Madison Square Garden.

The Nittany Lions, who posted their first 20-win season since 2008-09, beat the Buckeyes twice in the regular season.

Beating banged up Northwestern (15-17) wasn't easy. The Wildcats hung tough most of the game and didn't falter until the end when Penn State scored 13 straight points.

"We defended and rebounded when we had to for most of the game," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "But really at the end, the last four minutes when we went on that run, just everybody really buckled down and got some stops there."

Carr hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:06 to play to give Penn State a 55-54 lead and ignite the game deciding run. He later set up a 3-pointer by Josh Reaves that expanded the lead to 58-54 with 3:03 to go and he followed with his sixth 3-pointer a minute later for a seven-point lead.

"They went to some of their favorite action and just got him in ball screens," Northwestern guard Bryant McIntosh said of Carr. "And he obviously knew it was winning time, and he stepped up and got aggressive offensively and was just looking to make plays. To his credit, he did."

Reaves finished with 15 points and Garner had 12.

Dererk Pardon has 14 points and eight rebounds for Northwestern, which finished its season on a seven-game losing streak. It was a major disappointment for the Wildcats who went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time last season and had high hopes coming into this season.

"Although I'm disappointed to lose the game, I'm more disappointed I won't get a chance to coach these guys anymore," Northwestern coach Chris Collins said.

Scottie Lindsey added 12 points for Northwestern before fouling out with 3:15 to play on an offensive foul.

Neither team led by more than four points in the final 15 minutes until Penn State took control late.

McIntosh gave Northwestern its last lead at 54-52 with 4:33 to go with an off-balance jumper from the left baseline.

Carr, who scored 15 points in the first half and was blanked for the opening 13 minutes of the second half, then gave Penn State the lead with one of his high-arcing shots.

The first half ended in a 30-all tie but the most interesting play was a flagrant foul called against Lindsey with 4:47 left in the half and Northwestern ahead 25-19. Carr seemingly had a shot blocked on the offensive end and Lindsey had his shot blocked on the other end.

Carr then came to the bench with his mouth bleeding. The officials reviewed the videotape of his blocked shot and assessed the flagrant.

Big picture
Northwestern: Has to regroup.

Penn State: May need one more win in tournament to nail down an NCAA berth.

Up next
Northwestern: Next season.

Penn State: Faces second-seeded Ohio State in the tournament quarterfinals on Friday.