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Penn State Basketball Beats Illinois 79-76, Likely Punches NCAA Tournament Ticket

Penn State beat Indiana, 85-66, led by coach Micah Shrewsberry
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 09: Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Micah Shrewsberry on the sidelines during the menÕs Big Ten tournament college basketball game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and Minnesota Golden Gophers on March 9, 2022, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

It looks like Penn State basketball is going to the NCAA Tournament.

No. 10 Penn State held off No. 7 Illinois 79-76 for its third win over the Illini in as many tries this season, and advanced to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.

Four Penn State (20-12) players scored in double figures.

Andrew Funk scored an even 20 points for the second time in three games against Illinois (20-12), going 6-for-9 from the field with every shot being a three pointer. Seth Lundy had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Cam Wynter had 15 on 7-for-8 shooting and Jalen Pickett had 12 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Penn State led 8-7 at the first media timeout, with Lundy and Wynter each scoring four points to account for all of Penn State’s scoring.

The Lundy and Wynter show continued in the next four+ minutes. Penn State led 17-12 at the U12 timeout, with Lundy having nine points and Wynter eight.

Penn State pushed the lead to as many as 10 and led by seven at the next media timeout. Kanye Clary gave the team a spark off the bench in the first half with four points.

Illinois fought back to cut the deficit to one. It went on a 9-0 run starting when Penn State was up 10. Penn State went more than five minutes without scoring. The Illini ended the half on an 11-2 run and went into the break down 31-30. Lundy led Penn State with 11 points and seven rebounds. Wynter added 10.

The lead changed three times in the first four minutes of the second half. Illinois led by one at the first media timeout. Penn State’s big men, Kebba Njie and Mikey Henn, each had three fouls by the first media.

The lead changed two more times over the next four minutes. Illinois built a 46-40 lead at one point, but the game turned on the 3-point play that pushed the lead to six. While celebrating an and-one opportunity, Illinois’ Dain Dainja accidentally headbutted Penn State’s Myles Dread. After review, Dainja received a technical foul. He competed the three-point play, but Penn State made two free throws as well.

The teams continue to trade punches. Illinois lead by one at the U8 timeout.

It was all Penn State from there. Penn State outscored Illinois 17-7 over the last eight minutes and continued its combination of Brad Underwood’s team.

Penn State now faces second-seeded Northwestern in the quarterfinals Friday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 ET.

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