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Penn State 85, Marquette 80: Back To Madison Square Garden

The Lions’ season continues.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Purdue vs Penn State Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

The Penn State basketball team will play in Madison Square Garden once again this season. Pat Chambers got win number twenty-four on the year and with it a ticket to the NIT Final Four a week from today.

Each team came ready to play. Just four minutes in the score was 15-9 in favor of the Lions at the first television timeout. The shooting was hot, both teams made five of their first seven shot attempts. Marquette went on a 7-0 run to take the lead before Lamar Stevens answered with a hoop and a foul shot.

Josh Reaves got an early second foul, just five minutes into the game, and Pat Chambers was forced to send him to the bench. Jamari Wheeler came in and played solid defense in replacement of Reaves. The Lions led at the end of the first period, 25-22. Shep Garner had three deep balls and Lamar Stevens was 5 for 6 from the field for 12 quick points.

Penn State was in the bonus with seven minutes left in the second period but was unable to take advantage, getting to the line only once as a result. Midway through the period Chambers’ squad led 31-26. The Golden Eagles continued to fight. Andrew Rowsey hit a three-pointer to cut into an 8-point Penn State lead and the score was 37-32 with 1:41 to go before halftime. Rowsey had 13 first-half points.

Josh Reaves did not return to the court in the first half after picking up his second foul just five minutes in, but Penn State was able to hold a 41-34 advantage at halftime.

The Lions came out of the half with focus, gaining a 52-41 lead three minutes in at the first timeout. After the lead got as high as 13, Marquette cut it to 8 with 3:47 to play in the third quarter. Shep Garner hit a tough basket on a drive through the lane to stop the rally. On the next trip down the court, Garner hit a deep three-pointer for his 17th point of the game, forcing the Golden Eagles to take a timeout, down 13 again so quickly.

Marquette cut the lead to 67-60 with just under five minutes to play in the game after trailing by double digits for most of the second-half. Pat Chambers called timeout and Shep Garner hit a drive in the lane to get the lead back to nine. On the next possession, the Golden Eagles hit a three-pointer to make it a two-possession game. With 3:19 to play it was 69-65 and the home crowd was back in it for Marquette.

Josh Reaves hit a clutch three-pointer from the corner with time running out in the shot clock on the next possession to get the lead back to seven. Both Reaves and Tony Carr played with four fouls late in the game.

Lamar Stevens had two-consecutive finishes to preserve the lead late in the game.

The Lions held on, making enough free throws and taking care of the ball, to finish with a tight 85-80 win.

PPP And Four Factors

Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Penn State 63 1.19 59.5% 28.1% 12.7% 17.2%
Mississippi State 0.95 41.7% 31.4% 17.5% 38.9%

The Lions were very efficient with the ball. Shooting 53% from the floor, 43% from behind the arc and hitting 81% of its free throws was enough grow and maintain a healthy lead.

Player of the Game

Tony Carr (25 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists) Carr played well from the start. Initially he worked to get his teammates involved but he asserted himself with the ball when needed, scoring a basket several times to preserve the lead.

Random Thoughts

  • With very little contribution from Josh Reaves in the first half, and nothing from Nazeer Bostick or Mike Watkins, it was impressive to watch Penn State play so well in a tough road environment. The team is beginning to show its depth out of necessity and the playing time for support players will go a long way in their development.
  • John Harrar has been starting lately and his minutes have been increasing. Harrar played 11 minutes in the first half, which tied for the second-most minutes he has played in a game. Versus Notre Dame he saw the court for more than half the game, a career-high 23 minutes played. This NIT run has provided Harrar with some solid experience as a freshman, after the mountainous former football prospect saw limited action until March. While his play has been inconsistent as to be expected, he will have a good deal of game film to watch this off-season.
  • After giving up a sizable lead, it was nice to watch the team hang in there and regroup, getting high-percentage shots, never relinquishing the advantage.

Up Next

The Lions will head back to Madison Square Garden where it will play in the semifinals of the NIT next Tuesday.