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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lion Comeback Falls Short In 71-70 Loss To Colorado

by on December 23, 2015 6:03 AM

Penn State couldn't overcome foul trouble and a late Colorado push, falling 71-70 to the Buffalos on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

The Nittany Lions all but erased a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation but Shep Garner's late three proved to be too little too late as time expeired before Penn State could commit a foul in the game's final second.

All told Penn State was saddled with 27 team fouls while Colorado picked up just 13 over the course of regulation. As a result the Buffalos scored 28 points from the free throw line in victory despite shooting 37-percent from the floor.

Penn State opened the game well with Josh Reaves making his first three shots of the game before picking up two fouls. The Nittany Lions, despite foul issues, managed to put up stout defense for most of the first half holding a usually hot offensive team to just 25 first half points. With the game tied at the break it was clear Penn State faced a real opportunity to pick up a marquee win in the final games of the non conference schedule.

Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions the foul differential did not close in the second half as Penn State continued to pick up both worthwhile and questionable fouls along the way. In turn Colorado's offense eventually stabilized scoring on seven straight possessions late in the game.

In turn Penn State went from a just a three point deficit with nine minutes remaining to trailing 67-57 with 2:27 to go in regulation.

Shep Garner broke his early 1-for-10 slump in the game's final minutes scorning nine of his 26 points in the final two minutes of play. Garner led Penn State with 26 points despite a fairly ineffective 7-for-20 outing from the floor. Garner's layup with 15 seconds to play cut the lead to just three. Penn State seemingly tied up Colorado for a jump-ball situation on the ensuing possession but Payton Banks was called for the foul. George King's two free throws all but sealed the deal with eight seconds remaining.

Garner would make a deep three with two seconds remaining to draw within one but Penn State failed to get a foul in time to send Colorado to the line. 

Aside from Garner, Payton Banks added 14 points to go with 6 rebounds and three steals. Reaves chipped in 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting and Brandon Taylor added nine points on a 3-of-10 effort from the field.

All told Penn State falls to 8-4 on the year but yet again showed a fairly impressive knack for finding a way to stay in a game that could have just as easily gotten out of hand. The Nittany Lions are back in action Wednesday night against Kent State.

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