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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Roll Past Notre Dame 73-63

by on March 17, 2018 3:00 PM

Penn State basketball's season extended for yet another few days as the Nittany Lions went wire-to-wire with a 75-63 victory over No.1 seed Notre Dame in South Bend on Saturday.

It was a performance that resembled far more of what the Nittany Lions had looked like all season after a offensive struggle against Temple in the first round. Penn State got 24 points from Tony Carr while Lamar Stevens, Shep Garner and Josh Reaves poured in 11, 15 and 18 points respectively.

A 21-10 first quarter marked a much more capable start for Penn State as Carr got to the line and Garner hit from deep to land the first few punches in the opening 10 minutes of play. A far less explosive second quarter drew the game closer, but the Nittany Lions would force a total of 12 turnovers to constantly prevent the Irish from ever getting too close to take control.

Even so, a 28-23 halftime margin was far from a mission complete for the Nittany Lions but what amounted to a 45 point second half backed by that same tenacious defense kept Notre Dame at bay.

The Irish would make one final push to cut into Penn State's 14-point lead, getting it all the way down to an eight point margin with 2:00 to go in regulation.

And then Carr sized up the moment, dribbling between his legs with a chance to finish off Notre Dame and extend the season.

A deep three with 1:23 to go would do just that.

Penn State will travel to face the winner of tomorrow's Oregon/Marquette game. The winner of that quarterfinals contest on the 20th will head to Madison Square Garden for semifinals and beyond. 

The Nittany Lions now sit at 23 wins on the year, four shy of the program's all-time single season record. Penn State won't be able to tie it with a maximum of three games left on the schedule, but 26 and a NIT Title would likely be an accepted second-best.

For fans who recall Penn State's 2009 NIT Title run, the Nittany Lions are still following that script. A slow win to open the tournament coupled with a win on the road at an established program. The 2009 title including a win at a still Billy Donovan coached Florida team. 

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