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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Move On Behind 65-57 Victory Over Northwestern

by on March 01, 2018 9:20 PM

As Penn State walked off the court with a 65-57 victory against Northwestern under its belt, the win was of no small significance. Twenty wins, something of an unofficial benchmark, had been reached, a season unlike most in the Nittany Lions' history of a Big Ten program.

It would be fair to say at this point that Penn State's season comes with the asterisk, one the result of having perhaps come up short. The talent on this roster will render a potential NIT appearance as something less of its best, and with the threat of NBA futures lurking not but months away, a potential last hurrah for this particular roster is lurking in the background.

Nevertheless Penn State found a way to win on Thursday night in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament behind the kind of scoring that has made Tony Carr so special to watch and toughness by a Nittany Lion team that has rarely given up hope.

The game itself was that of two teams missing stars, both looking to find a way to extend their respective seasons. Neither would pull away, neither would fall from any potential knockout blows. The halftime score of 30-30 was a fair representation of that.

In the second half it was more of the same until the game's final minutes when Scottie Lindsay fouled out and Northwestern looked to stagger across the finish line without another key piece to its puzzle.

That was when Carr would shine, two baskets in the final minutes, bringing his total to 25 points, turning a close game into an eventual eight-point margin. Shep Garner would add 12 on four from beyond the arc, Josh Reaves 15 more while Lamar Stevens managed eight on just two made baskets. A 15-5 run to close out the game.

In the end the Nittany Lions will extend this portion of the postseason one game farther. Penn State will face Ohio State tomorrow looking to the unthinkable, beating the Buckeyes for a third time, and on this occasion without Mike Watkins who is sidelined for the entire tournament with a knee injury.

If they can manage that, Penn State will once again find itself on the NCAA bubble, maybe even still on the outside looking in.

But whatever the case, the Nittany Lions reached that 20-win plateau, and during a historic season that still feels a bit liked a missed opportunity, it's an achievement not to be overlooked.  

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