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Northwestern 76, Penn State 72: Lions Sputter in Second Half

Wildcats beat Penn State for the first time in 4 years

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State fell 76-72 to Northwestern on Wednesday night, dropping the Nittany Lions back to under .500 in conference play.

The Nittany Lions built a quick 6-0 lead early in the game, but the Wildcats were able to stay within arm’s length. Following a three by Northwestern’s Ty Berry to tie the game at 22, PSU made an 18-10 run over the final six minutes of the first half. Kanye Clary scored 12 of those 18 points after a relatively quiet start. The Nittany Lions entered halftime with a 40-32 lead.

Penn State stretched the lead to 10 points with 16:34 to play on a three by D’Marco Dunn, one of only three triples the Lions made in the game. However, a stretch of nearly six minutes without a made shot from the floor opened the door for Northwestern to climb back in the game. The Wildcats took their first lead of the game at 56-55 with 11:25 left. They finished off a 15-0 scoring run on a layup by Brooks Barnhizer to stretch the lead to seven.

Kanye Clary and Nick Kern Jr. helped the Lions keep pace in the closing minutes, and Kern’s layup with 1:07 left cut the deficit to 72-70. On the ensuing Northwestern possession, Ace Baldwin’s intense halfcourt pressure forced a Northwestern turnover, giving the Lions a chance to tie or take the lead. However, Baldwin turned the ball over to Ty Berry, leading to an easy fast break layup. After a Nick Kern layup, Penn State came close multiple times to forcing another turnover but was forced to foul. The Wildcats missed one of the two free throws, but the Lions were unable to tie the game in the closing seconds.

Player of the Game

Kanye Clary- 25 points, 7-13 FG, 10-10 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 steals

Clary’s play helped the Lions open up a lead late in the first half, and he kept the team afloat after Northwestern threatened to pull away late in the game. He also went a perfect 10 for 10 at the charity stripe.

Random Observations

Live By the 3, Die By the 3- Penn State hit only 3 of its 17 three point shots, tying its season low in three-pointers made. Northwestern made 7 of its 12 threes, the highest percentage allowed by PSU this year.

Rebounding- The Lions outrebounded a major conference opponent for the first time all season (30-25) and allowed only two offensive rebounds.

Where’s the Defense?- It was another difficult night for the defense, as Northwestern shot 61% from the floor in the game.

What’s Next

Penn State travels to West Lafayette for a matchup with #1 Purdue on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:15pm on Big Ten Network.