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Another Extra Time Heartbreaker: Purdue 74, Penn State 70 (OT)

An overall solid defensive effort by the Lions was hampered by some ridiculous three-point shooting from Purdue.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

A fresh-legged Penn State team that had a full week to stew upon an embarrassing blowout loss at Nebraska came out of the gates looking to take out their frustrations on a Purdue team that had similarly waxed them a month ago in West Lafayette. And take out their frustrations they sure did, through a flurry of blocks, steals, and slams on the other end. Lamar Stevens fearlessly drove the to the rim every time the ball was in his hands, and he was rewarded early and often on the scoreboard. Unfortunately for the Lions, the shooting got a little lackluster towards the end of the half, allowing a Purdue team that shot 29% in the first half to merely trail by four at the half.

The second half saw PSU come out with a trio of dunks. A 14-4 run by Purdue midway through the half saw them snatch the lead for the first time all game. The Lions would eventually get some offense going, but it seemed as if every time they scored, Purdue would answer with a debilitating three-pointer and with just a few minutes to play, the Boilermakers appeared to be cruising to a win up by eight points.

Tony Carr would have none of it though, as the fab freshman point guard went on a one-man scoring spree, eventually tying the game at 64 with 17 seconds left. Purdue would fail to get a game-winning shot off, thanks to some tremendous defense by PSU, forcing overtime.

The overtime period saw both teams trade shots in the beginning before Purdue’s Ryan Cline nailed back-to-back threes from deep in the corner to put the Boilers up by four. PSU was able to cut the deficit to two points with 42 seconds left and with a 12-second differential between the game and shot clock, could simply pin their ears back and play defense. Unfortunately for the Lions, Purdue grabbed a critical offensive rebound and subsequently nailed a pair of free throws to effectively ice the game. Oh, what could have been...

Four Factors

Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Penn State 71 1.07 50.0% 35.5% 19.7% 47.3%
Nebraska - 0.94 39.5% 34.0% 11.3% 13.2%

Player of the Game - Tony Carr (21 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds)

Carr single-handled led PSU’s charge from what seemed like an insurmountable eight point deficit late in the game, moving through the lane like a whirling dervish to nail a layup or foul line jumper to chip away at the Purdue lead and ultimately help force overtime. Mike Watkins and his double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds also get a very honorable mention, here.

Random Observations

  • Three-point shooting matters - Shep Garner was the only Nittany Lion to nail a three-pointer, and he was only 2-for-8 from the perimeter. Payton Banks (0-for-5) and Lamar Stevens (0-for-5) meanwhile, shot up a bunch of clunkers. Purdue meanwhile, nailed a ridiculous 12-of-27 from downtown, which made all the difference in the end.
  • The BJC’s Block Party - Penn State finished the game with a whopping ten blocked shots, with eight of them coming in the first half alone. Six different players got in on this block party, but Watkins led the band with three swats while Carr and Julian Moore had a pair of rejections, each. Normally, this is the type of defensive performance that leads to a win, but sadly, it was for naught.
  • Cool it with the #FiurChambers talk - I’m sure I’ll write an individual post on this come season’s end, but if you’re calling for Pat Chambers’ head over this result, step away from the keyboard and collect yourself. This was hands-down one of the best (if not THE best) defensive performances all season from the Nittany Lions, as they made life a living hell inside the paint for a size-advantaged Purdue squad with ten blocks and also forced a total of 17 turnovers. Quite literally, the only reason Purdue won this game was due to ridiculously hot three-point shooting, and a good number of those made threes were knocked down despite having a PSU player in their grill. If PSU’s own three-point shooting had been halfway decent tonight, the program gets yet another scalp over a Top 25 team. Furthermore, the freshman trio of Carr-Stevens-Watkins (and sophomore Josh Reaves) are clearly looking comfortable now leading this team on the court, and they will only continue to gain confidence with each game. Call me naive, but I sense that come next season, this team will win games like tonight’s more often than not.

Up Next

Penn State (14-14, 6-9) travels to Minneapolis to seek a season sweep of Minnesota this Saturday. Tip-off is at 3:00 PM ET on BTN.