Big Ten

Penn State starts Big Ten Tournament with overtime win over Nebraska, sets up rematch with Michigan State


Penn State starts Big Ten Tournament with overtime win over Nebraska, sets up rematch with Michigan State

WASHINGTON — Penn State will get a chance at a second upset win over Michigan State this season.

The Nittany Lions opened this week's Big Ten Tournament with an overtime win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers at the Verizon Center. The 76-67 victory advanced Penn State to take on Michigan State on Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, Pat Chambers' squad emerged victorious on a tough shooting night for both sides. The Lions had a nine-point lead with five minutes remaining in regulation, but the Huskers rallied and forced overtime with the score knotted at 60. Penn State bounced back in the extra period, though, holding a 16-7 scoring edge there and putting Nebraska away with free throws.

It was a monster afternoon for Penn State big man Mike Watkins, who scored 18 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and set a new Big Ten Tournament record with eight blocks.

He was aided by Shep Garner, who with cousin Flava Flav in the stands, knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points.

Penn State played with a comfortable lead through much of the first half, a period in which the Nittany Lions shot 48.4 percent from the field. But an 11-point lead vanished as Nebraska cranked up the defense, scoring off turnovers and offensive rebounds to fuel a 14-3 run to tie the game at 30. Penn State scored the next eight points, but a Nebraska 3-pointer in the final seconds of the first half made it a five-point Lions lead at the break. The Huskers shot just 35.3 percent from the field over the first 20 minutes but scored a combined 18 second-chance points and points off turnovers.

Neither team shot well in the second half, with Nebraska especially struggling and those woes preventing a comeback. Penn State extended its second-half lead, which never got too big as the Lions searched for their shot as well, to nine with about five minutes to play. But that's when the Huskers unleashed a 9-1 run to make it a one-point game, capped by Tai Webster's first points of the second half after he dropped 10 in the first half. After a couple Penn State free throws, Glynn Watson Jr. drained a game-tying triple, and two more Penn State free throws were followed by a game-tying basket from Ed Morrow Jr. The Lions gave the Huskers a shot at the win with a turnover with a couple seconds left, but Watson's hevae was off the mark, sending the game to overtime.

Webster fouled out not long into overtime, and Penn State stretched a modest three-point lead to six with a Shep Garner triple, his fourth of the game. Nebraska couldn't hit at its end, mustering just seven points in the extra period, and the Lions kept knocking down free throws to seal up the win.

The Huskers shot just 34.2 percent on the game and got just 12 points from Webster, the All-Big Ten honoree, with just two of those coming after halftime. The Lions surrendered 17 second-chance points and 11 points off turnovers, but their 10-percent gap in shooting percentages made up for those areas.

Penn State moves on to the second round, where it will meet Michigan State. In one of the more memorable upset victories of this season, the Lions knocked off the Spartans in a game at The Palestra in Philadelphia. Tom Izzo's team gets a shot at revenge Thursday in the teams' second meeting of the season.

Nebraska watched its season come to an end with the defeat. The Huskers finished with a 12-19 record as head coach Tim Miles continues to face questions about his job status.

Northwestern Wildcats pause football workouts after positive COVID-19 test

USA Today

Northwestern Wildcats pause football workouts after positive COVID-19 test

The Northwestern Wildcats have stopped football workouts due to a player testing positive for COVID-19. A university spokesperson says, the school is now undergoing “rigorous contact tracing and quarantine protocols to protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff.”

Some student-athletes have already been placed in quarantine, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The earliest any football activities can resume for the Wildcats is Wednesday, according to the university spokesperson.

Michigan State required their entire football team to go into quarantine in late July after several positive tests among players and staff.

In addition, the Big Ten announced they will play a conference-only schedule in 2020, if they’re able to play at all.

RELATED: Northwestern football will not host Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field

Lou Henson, former Illinois Fighting Illini basketball coach, dies at 88

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Lou Henson, former Illinois Fighting Illini basketball coach, dies at 88

Hall of Fame former Fighting Illini head basketball coach Lou Henson died last Saturday. He was 88 years old.

Henson was the all-time wins leader at the University of Illinois, guiding the team to a 423-224 record from 1975-1996. That included a 214-164 record in Big Ten Conference play, and one Big Ten conference title in 1984.

He also led the Illini to 12 NCAA tournament appearances, the highlight being a Final Four berth with the 1988-89 “Flying Illini.”

"Our Orange and Blue hearts are heavy," said Josh Whitman, Illinois Director of Athletics, in a statement. "We have lost an Illini icon. We have lost a role model, a friend, and a leader. We have lost our coach.

“Coach Henson may be gone, but the memories he provided us, and the legacy he created, will last forever. He was responsible for almost 800 wins in the record book and countless Fighting Illini moments frozen in time, but Coach Henson's true measure will be felt in the lives he touched – the lives of his former players, people on this campus, and friends in our broader community.

“We are all better for whatever time we were privileged to spend with Coach Lou, whether it was five minutes or 50 years. He made everyone feel like a friend. I so enjoyed my time with Coach these last five years, and I will miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mary, Lisa, Lori, Leigh Anne, and the entire Henson family. Their family will always be part of ours."

In addition to his iconic career at the University of Illinois, Henson coached at New Mexico State where he compiled another 289 victories, from 1966-1975 and 1997-2005. Henson is the wins leader at New Mexico State, as well.

His 779 career wins rank 28th all-time in NCAA history. He was inducted into the National Collegiate Hall of Fame in 2015. The same year, the newly renovated court at Illinois was renamed “Lou Henson Court.” The basketball court at New Mexico State is named “Lou Henson Court,” as well.

“He really was ahead of the game, in terms of bringing fan interaction and fan connection to a program,” said Stephen Bardo, one of Henson’s former players in a video on Twitter. “For me, Lou Henson’s voice got louder the longer after I left school. The more of an adult I became, the older my kids became, I would hear coach Henson’s voice more. I would impart the lessons I learned from him onto my children.

“He had an enormous impact on my life.”

RELATED: Big Ten to play conference-only NCAA football schedule 'if able'