For a 3rd time, Penn State stuns Ohio State

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For a 3rd time, Penn State stuns Ohio State

BOX SCORE

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.

No. 10 Penn State goes off in 4th quarter to rout Illinois

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No. 10 Penn State goes off in 4th quarter to rout Illinois

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Miles Sanders set career highs by rushing for 200 yards and three touchdowns, Trace McSorley threw for three TDs and ran for a personal-best 92 yards, and No. 10 Penn State scored 35 points in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 63-24 victory over Illinois on Friday night.

The Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) broke this one open after getting all they could handle from a team showing signs of a turnaround in coach Lovie Smith's third season.

Penn State fell behind by three early in the third before Sanders scored on a 48-yard run and put away Illinois (2-2, 0-1) with two touchdowns in the opening minute of the fourth.

McSorley threw a 16-yard TD to Juwan Johnson on the first play of the quarter. Ian Johnson intercepted Illinois' M.J. Rivers, and McSorley hit KJ Hamler with a 21-yarder on the next play, making it 42-24.

Sanders easily surpassed his previous highs of 118 yards and two TDs. He had 113 yards and two scores in the first half alone.

McSorley showed why he is a Heisman Trophy hopeful, eclipsing his previous rushing high of 81 yards against Maryland in 2016. The senior also completed 12 of 19 passes for 160 yards with an interception.

Ricky Slade added a 61-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, and the Nittany Lions racked up 591 yards.

Rivers, a true freshman, was 17 of 28 for 149 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his second start with AJ Bush nursing a hamstring injury.

Reggie Corbin ran for 87 yards. Mike Epstein finished with 73after back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.

Sanders broke a tackle and plowed through three defenders near the goal line for a 14-yard touchdown that gave Penn State a 7-0 lead.

Illinois tied it on a 2-yard run by Corbin. Then the Nittany Lions scored back-to-back touchdowns and looked ready to blow it open.

Sanders scored from the 2 after the Illini's Sydney Brown got flagged for interference on an overthrown pass intended for Hamler in the end zone. McSorley then threw a 5-yard TD to Pat Freiermuth, who skidded into the end zone as he lost his footing, to make it 21-7.

But a 51-yard run by Corbin set up a 6-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Ricky Smalling, after the Illini's Daniel Barker fumbled a reception near the goal line, to make it a seven-point game midway through the second quarter.

Illinois' Delano Ware intercepted a deep pass by McSorley into double coverage with about 30 seconds left in the half when Penn State could have opted to run out the clock. That led to a 42-yard field goal by Chase McLaughlin as time expired, making it 21-17.

The takeaway

Penn State: Though they didn't put this one away until the fourth, the Nittany Lions got another lopsided win after outscoring Pittsburgh and Kent State by a combined 114-16.

Illinois: Whether Bush returns to the lineup or not, Rivers is showing he could be a major contributor for the Illini.

Up next

Penn State: Hosts No. 4 Ohio State next Saturday.

Illinois: Visits Rutgers on Oct. 6.

Penn State overcomes slow start, dominates Pittsburgh

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Penn State overcomes slow start, dominates Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- Trace McSorley threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as No. 13 Penn State pulled away for a 51-6 victory over sloppy Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

KJ Hamler ran 32 yards for a score and hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from McSorley as the Nittany Lions (2-0) bounced back from an opening week scare against Appalachian State to dominate their 99th meeting with the Panthers (1-1).

McSorley finished 14 of 30 for 145 yards in the rain at soggy Heinz Field, giving him a measure of redemption. Two years ago, Pitt edged the Nittany Lions at home, a loss that ultimately cost Penn State a spot in the College Football Playoff.

The memory stuck with McSorley, who had a far different feeling this time around.

"I think it's something, it might have fueled me a little bit more knowing we were returning here and had an opportunity to get that bad taste out of our mouths and things like that," McSorley said. "It's a lot sweeter, able to leave the field with a good victory tonight."

Miles Sanders ran for 118 yards for the Nittany Lions, DeAndre Thompson returned a punt 39 yards for a touchdown and Penn State limited Pitt to just 89 yards in the second half.

"We played really clutch defense," Nittany Lions coach James Franklin said. "So I think we made some really good strides."

There are no plans for the rivalry to continue beyond next year's game at Beaver Stadium.

Considering how things went in the second half that might not be a bad thing for either side. Penn State's margin of victory was the third-largest by either team in a series that dates to 1893. The chants of "We Are ... Penn State" rang throughout the stadium in the final minutes.

Pitt senior Qadree Ollison ran for 119 yards and a 13-yard score for Pitt, but went nowhere after halftime. Neither did the Panthers. Sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett struggled in the steady rain, completing just 9 of 18 passes for 55 yards. Pickett also ran for 30 yards, but spent most of the night under heavy pressure. He was sacked four times and took a handful of jarring hits when he was able to scramble for positive yardage.

"Ultimately, everything lays right on my chest," Panther coach Pat Narduzzi said. "I'll take it all. We obviously didn't have them ready to go in any capacity: offensively, defensively or special teams."

The blowout finish seemed unlikely late in the first half. Penn State led just 7-6 with a minute to go before Pitt began self-destructing. Punter Kirk Christodoulou dropped a snap and the Nittany Lions took over in Pitt territory. McSorley needed just three plays to find Hamler to put the Nittany Lions up 14-6 at the break.

It was all Penn State after that. McSorley scored on a 4-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, a Pitt penalty in the end zone resulted in a safety minutes later, and when Thompson took a punt at the 39 and veered to his left to race untouched to the end zone, the Nittany Lions were firmly in control.

Pitt did plenty to help Penn State pull away. The Panthers were flagged 14 times for 116 yards -- including an unsportsmanlike call on Narduzzi -- turned it over three times and provided no response when the Nittany Lions got serious.

"I've never seen so many penalties in one game," Narduzzi said. "It starts with my 15 yarder. But 14 penalties . embarrassing. There were some good calls, too. I'm not saying the officiating was bad. We just had some stuff that just snowballed on us. It starts with me."