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Penn State

Penn State men fend off Northwestern in Big Ten Tournament

| Thursday, March 1, 2018, 9:21 p.m.
Penn State guard Tony Carr (10) and forward John Harrar (21) scramble for a loose ball against Northwestern center Barret Benson, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 10 men's tournament Thursday, March 1, 2018, in New York.
Penn State guard Tony Carr (10) and forward John Harrar (21) scramble for a loose ball against Northwestern center Barret Benson, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 10 men's tournament Thursday, March 1, 2018, in New York.
Penn State forward Lamar Stevens (11) drives against Northwestern forward Rapolas Ivanauskas (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 10 men's tournament Thursday, March 1, 2018, in New York.
Penn State forward Lamar Stevens (11) drives against Northwestern forward Rapolas Ivanauskas (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 10 men's tournament Thursday, March 1, 2018, in New York.

NEW YORK — With the game and quite possibly a trip to the NCAA Tournament on the line, Tony Carr didn't hesitate to put Penn State on his back.

Carr scored 25 points and hit two 3-pointers and set up another in the final minutes as the seventh-seeded Nittany Lions made a late rush to hold off Northwestern, 65-57, in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday night.

“He was huge down the stretch of the game,” fellow guard Shep Garner said. “Big play after big play after big play. And that's what he does for this team. He makes big plays on the offensive end. We're kind of used to it at this point. We don't take it for granted, but we're kind of used to it at this point.”

Penn State (20-12) broke its school record for a Big Ten game by hitting 13 three-pointers in snapping a three-game losing streak and setting up a quarterfinal game Friday against No. 13 and second-seeded Ohio State at Madison Square Garden.

The Nittany Lions, who posted their first 20-win season since 2008-09, beat the Buckeyes twice in the regular season.

Beating banged-up Northwestern (15-17) wasn't easy. The Wildcats hung tough most of the game and didn't falter until the end when Penn State scored 13 straight points.

“We defended and rebounded when we had to for most of the game,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “But really at the end, the last four minutes when we went on that run, just everybody really buckled down and got some stops there.”

Carr hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4 minutes, 6 seconds to play to give Penn State a 55-54 lead and ignite the game deciding run. He later set up a 3-pointer by Josh Reaves that expanded the lead to 58-54 with 3:03 to go, and he followed with his sixth 3-pointer a minute later for a seven-point lead.

“They went to some of their favorite action and just got him in ball screens,” Northwestern guard Bryant McIntosh said of Carr. “And he obviously knew it was winning time, and he stepped up and got aggressive offensively and was just looking to make plays. To his credit, he did.”

Reaves finished with 15 points, and Garner had 12.

Dererk Pardon has 14 points and eight rebounds for Northwestern, which finished its season on a seven-game losing streak. It was a major disappointment for the Wildcats, who went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time last season and had high hopes coming into this season.

“Although I'm disappointed to lose the game, I'm more disappointed I won't get a chance to coach these guys anymore,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said.

Scottie Lindsey added 12 points for Northwestern before fouling out with 3:15 to play on an offensive foul.

McIntosh gave Northwestern its last lead at 54-52 with 4:33 to go with an off-balance jumper from the left baseline.

Carr, who scored 15 points in the first half and was blanked for the opening 13 minutes of the second half, then gave Penn State the lead with one of his high-arcing shots.

The first half ended in a 30-30 tie, but the most interesting play was a flagrant foul called against Lindsey with 4:47 left in the half and Northwestern ahead 25-19. Carr seemingly had a shot blocked on the offensive end, and Lindsey had his shot blocked on the other end.

Carr then came to the bench with his mouth bleeding. The officials reviewed the videotape of his blocked shot and assessed the flagrant.

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