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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Beat Rutgers 70-58 For Second Straight Big Ten Win

by on February 20, 2016 3:55 PM

In the early going Penn State had ever shot it wanted. After missing the opening look at the basket, the Nittany Lions proceeded to make five straight shots en route to an 8-2 lead that would eventually a ballon to a 15-point margin in the opening half.

But somewhat predictably as often is the case with the Nittany Lions, things rarely come easy. Even against one of the nation's worst teams in Rutgers, a shorthanded team at that on Saturday, Penn State watched that 15 point margin evaporate. The Scarlet Knights eventually finding their offense as Penn State's white hot start cooled.

If not for two free throws in the final second of the opening half Penn State's massive lead would have been just four at the break. But the sophomore guard sank his two free attempts giving the Nittany Lions a 28-22 lead at the half.

By the 15:22 mark of the second half that once 15-point lead was gone and a 33-33 tie stood in its place. Shep Garner's strong outside shooting continued though and a 15-0 run turned a tie game into an eventual 53-40 Penn State lead with just under 10 minutes to go in regulation.

From there the Nittany Lions never looked back. Shep Garner poured in 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting and four assists while Brandon Taylor added 17 backed by freshman Josh Reaves' 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Donovon Jack continued his effective play from Penn State's upset of No. 4 Iowa with a 12 point outing off the bench.

Penn State now sits at 14-13 on the year with a 5-9 mark in conference play. With three of the next four games at home, the Nittany Lions have a very real shot at hitting the seven win mark in conference play, what would be a high under coach Pat Chambers. Penn State is next in action against Nebraska before traveling to Michigan State. The Nittany Lions will close out the year hosting Northwestern and Illinois.

Notes:

  • Penn State's five league wins are the most since posting six in 2013-14. The Lions have captured two road wins in the Big Ten to date, also a first since 2013-14.
  • Garner led the team with his sixth 20-plus outing of the season, highlighting the afternoon with a 5-for-9 showing from 3-point range. He has totaled at least four treys in seven games this season, including each of the last two.


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