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Penn State Basketball: Carr Scores 29 As Nittany Lions Fall 85-78 To NC State

by on November 29, 2017 10:00 PM

This game was a little bit of everything you've seen before if you have watched any amount of Penn State basketball in your life.

The Nittany Lions had a lead, an 11-0 one in fact early in the game.

But predictably it didn't last. NC State slowly chipping away at the early margin and by the half the Wolfpack rode a hot shooting half from beyond the arc to take a 37-30 lead into the break. The double-digit margin Penn State once enjoyed a thing of the past, and a 1-of-13 shooting performance to close out the half doing little to keep pace with an NC State team that had already beat No.3 Arizona earlier in the year.

The second half, you've seen that too. Penn State struggled to slow down a suddenly hot three-point shooting team that was among one of the worst in the nation coming into the night. By the end of the game NC State had hit 10-of-16 from beyond the arc, many contested by Penn State defenders.

So the Nittany Lions trailed by more and more. By the 4:09 mark Penn State was trailing 74-61 and seemingly with no real answer on either end. Lamar Stevens struggled going just 4-of-12 and Shep Garner making just 2-of-6 from deep. Mike Watkins had a rare off night 4-of-10 but chipped in 14 rebounds.

But for all of the bad shooting and defensive errors, Penn State somehow found a way back into the game, Tony Carr shooting the Nittany Lions into contention with 29 points and seven rebounds. And suddenly it was just a three point game with 1:49 to go.

Penn State would get no closer, but would cut the lead to just three on three occasions in that final span. 

So this game really was a little bit of everything. Penn State played well, cooled off and its opponent pulled away. On the brink of defeat the Nittany Lions surged back, but couldn't find a way to retake a lead that should have been theirs all along. And in turn, Penn State found itself on the wrong end of another game. If you're reading this, chances are you've seen this game before.

Penn State now faces an uphill battle towards the offseason just eight games in. The Nittany Lions are on track to finish the out of conference slate with 11 wins, but will lack a meaningful road victory outside of the Big Ten. A brief two-game stretch against Iowa and Wisconsin awaits before the return to the out of conference slate. 

But if there is any consultation it's that Penn State has played well against a great Texas A&M team and a talented NC State squad. The Nittany Lions haven't looked out of their league, an argument could be made that Penn State could or should have won both games, the team just has not been consistent enough to finish the job.

If the consistency comes, Wednesday's loss won't sting as much come March. If it doesn't, a talented Nittany Lion team will only have themselves to blame.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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