Penn State beats Buckeyes again
NEW YORK — With seventh-seeded Penn State trailing by a point and the clock ticking off the final 10 seconds, almost everyone in Madison Square Garden was waiting for Big Ten Conference leading scorer Tony Carr to launch a game-winning shot attempt against second-seeded Ohio State.
It was a no-brainer, until Carr decided otherwise.
Carr found Josh Reaves for a game-winning dunk with 3.1 seconds to play and Penn State may have punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 69-68 victory over Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament on Friday night.
“It was ‘Fist Two,’ basically try to get the mismatch and I was just trying to make a play,” Carr said. “And Josh basically made the play. He made a great cut. I was just out there dribbling around. Josh made a great play. And I thank God I found him.”
It was a great ending in more ways than one. The Nittany Lions (22-12) scored the final five points in beating the 13th-ranked Buckeyes for the third time this season and advancing to Saturday’s semifinal against third-seeded and No. 8 Purdue.
The game-winning play was set up when Shep Garner made a crucial steal from conference player of the year Keita Bates-Diop with 21 seconds to play.
Penn State elected not to call a timeout and coach Patrick Chambers called out a play.
“I just noticed my man wasn’t looking at me so I took advantage of that,” Reaves said. “And Tony just shows how much of a great player he is to find an open man in a time like that. I was just fortunate enough to make the dunk.”
Lamar Stevens added 15 points for Penn State and Garner had 13
Ohio State (24-8) had a chance to win after calling a timeout, but a last-second shot by C.J. Jackson was not close.
“Give Penn State credit, I thought they made the necessary plays down the stretch,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “Tough back and forth game. We’ll learn from it and get ready for the tournament.”
Bates-Diop carried the Buckeyes in the second half, scoring 17 of his 25 points. However, all he is probably going to remember is losing the ball with 21 seconds to go and his team ahead 68-67.
Kam Williams and Jae’Sean Tate each added 10 points for the Buckeyes, who will wait for their invitation to the NCAA Tournament in a little more than a week.