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Penn State Basketball Beats Northwestern in OT, Makes First Big Ten Semifinal Since 2018

Micah Shrewsberry, Penn State Basketball Coach
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 09: Penn State Nittany Lions coach Micah Shrewsberry coaches on the sidelines against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on March 9, 2022 during the Big Ten Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire)

It wasn’t pretty, but it was gritty, as Penn State basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry  likes to say, and Penn State survived and advanced, beating Northwestern 67-65 in OT, to advance to its first Big Ten semifinal since 2018 and fourth all-time.

This was the second one-possession OT win Penn State basketball got over Northwestern this season, one on the road and one before a partisan Northwestern crowd in Chicago.

Jalen Pickett and Seth Lundy hit a combine three free throws in the game’s final seconds 26 seconds, and Penn State survived a wild finish to advance.

Penn State got off to a rough start, not scoring a point through the first media timeout. Luckily for Penn State, Northwestern only scored four points in that span. Mikey Henn scored Penn State’s first points on a 3-pointer 5:07 in.

The game continued to be ugly through the second media timeout, and Northwestern led 6-5.  The team’s combined to make seven of their first 33 shots from the field.  Penn State started 1-5 from 3. A three-point play by Seth Lundy with 8:28 left in the half gave Penn State its first lead of the night at 11-10, and that’s how it stayed going into the U8 timeout.

The game picked up during the rest of the first half, and Northwestern led 26-25 at the break.

Penn State shot 9-for-32 (28.1%) overall in the first half and 3-for-13 from 3. Northwestern was 9-for-25 and 3-for-9 in those categories. Seth Lundy led Penn State with seven first-half points.

In the second half, Penn State took the lead early on a three-point play by Andrew Funk 26 seconds in. Penn State made it a two-possession lead about a minute later on a Kebba Njie bucket. Penn State led 31-28 at the second half’s first media timeout. Penn State didn’t let up in the next several minutes, leading 41-36 at the second media timeout of the second half. Northwestern’s Boo Buie hit a 3 to make it 38-36 Penn State with 13-25 left, but Funk responded with a triple on the ensuing possession to make it a two-possession game again.

The teams stayed relatively even through the next several minutes. Penn State had a slim 45-43 lead and the U8 media timeout.

The rest of regulation was wild. Lundy tied the game with 42 seconds left. Neither team scored for the rest of regulation, so the squads went to overtime tied at 56.

Pickett nailed a 3-pointer 34 seconds overtime to put Penn State up. Penn State added to its lead with a pair Pickett free throws with 3:14 left.

Northwestern fought back to tied it with a Buie basket and two Ty Berry free throws. Another clutch shot by Lundy— this one a 3–game Penn State a 64-62 lead with 49 seconds left.

Two made free throws by Pickett one more Lundy made it a three point game. After Lundy missed his second attempt, Northwestern got the rebound and Penn State fouled Boo Buie on purpose.

Buie made the first foul shot and intentionally missed the second one. Northwestern got the rebound, and Chase Audige just missed a 3 at the buzzer.

Penn State now takes on the winner of No. 3 Indiana vs. No 6. Maryland Saturday. Tip-off is 25 minutes after the first semifinal game between No. 1 Purdue and No. 13 Ohio State.

Correction: An earlier version of this article said Penn State was making its first Big Ten semifinal appearance since 2011. It’s most recent one had been in fact been in 2018.

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