UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (AP) - Tony Carr has had some nice second-half efforts lately. Penn State’s top shooter saved most of his best stuff for overtime on Friday.
Carr scored nine of his 17 points, including a game-winning long jumper with three seconds left in overtime, and Penn State beat Nebraska 76-74 and secure Pat Chambers’ 100th win as Penn State’s coach on Friday night.
Lamar Stevens scored 26 points and Mike Watkins added 20 and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Nittany Lions (13-6, 3-3 Big Ten), who led by as many as 16 in the second half.
But it was Carr, who notched 18 of 28 in the second half at Indiana on Tuesday, who wrestled control back with tough makes through crowds of defenders in the final five minutes.
“Tony had the guts to come out and hit some big shots for us when he didn’t have the best shooting night,” Chambers said.
When Carr was working to find his shot, Stevens was taking over in a fashion that’s become typical for him of late. The hybrid forward entered the game averaging 22 points over the last three.
He quickly kept at it with 10 of Penn State’s first 19 points and Penn State closed out the first half on a 21-9 run and led 33-24. Nebraska made just five of its final 14 field goals in that span and finished the first half 9-for-32 from the floor.
“You can’t just get blasted in the first half like that,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “We have to be more prepared to battle with a guy who’s a warrior like that because he just attacks the rim.”
Glynn Watson Jr. and Isaac Copeland scored 21 points apiece while Isaiah Roby and Anton Gill scored 12 and 10, respectively, for the Cornhuskers (12-7, 3-3).
Shep Garner made a 3-pointer to give Penn State its largest lead at 42-26 just over two minutes into the second half.
But the Huskers fought back from there and switched to a press look to slow Penn State’s offense.
They put together a 39-23 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Copeland and Watson that made it a two-point game with 3:28 to play. They combined for four free throws and Watson hit the final shot of regulation moments later to send it to overtime 65-65.
THE BIG PICTURE
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers were on a good stretch with five wins in six tries before Friday’s game. Runs like that could come more often if they shoot better. Nebraska entered the Bryce Jordan Center shooting just 43 percent from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range for the season.
Penn State: All three of Penn State’s conference losses have come by six or fewer points and although they played a poor-shooting team in this one, the Nittany Lions have enough talent committed to playing defense to keep even good offenses at bay. Whether they can outscore those teams, or hold on to big leads, remains to be seen.
Penn State was again without its top defender as Josh Reaves sat out a second straight game for academic reasons. Reaves leads the team and is 15th nationally with 2.47 steals per game. He’s chipped in 10.8 points per game, too.
AWAITING WORD ON TSHIMANGA
Nebraska was without starting center Jordy Tshimanga, who did not make the trip to Penn State as he mulls whether to transfer. Multiple outlets reported Tshimanga’s frustration with the way his season has unfolded.
The 6-foot-11 sophomore started all 18 games previously and was averaging 3.5 points and 5.1 rebounds over 15.2 minutes per game.
Miles said he couldn’t offer an update yet on Tshimanga’s status.
“I won’t know until I get home,” he said.
Nebraska hosts Illinois (10-8, 0-5) on Monday.
Penn State hosts Minnesota (13-5, 2-3) on Monday.
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