Garner Seals The One Point Victory
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State Nittany Lions (15-13, B1G 6-9) hosted the Nebraska Cornhuskers (14-15, B1G 6-10) Thursday night in the Bryce Jordan Center and after a grueling 40 minutes the Nittany Lions were able to pull out a 56-55 victory.
After only seeing the free throw line only seven times in this game, the deciding basket ended up being a Shep Garner free throw with just seven seconds left.
“He made the one that counted,” Said head coach Patrick Chambers.
In the closing seconds of the game, Penn State had the ball under there own hoop with just 24 seconds left in the contest. After swinging the ball around the perimeter, Garner found himself with the ball, splitting the defense and getting fouled on his way up to the basket.
“He saw that alley way,” said Chambers.
Garner would drain one of the two free throws, leaving seven seconds on the clock for Nebraska’s leading scorer Shavon Shields, who was back for his first game from injury. Donovon Jack was able to contest Shields shot enough to force an air ball and a third straight win for the Nittany Lions.
Leading the way for the Nittany Lions were Brandon Taylor, who recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Garner, who had 22 points.
“I think that’s a great win for us. We grinded it out and in past years we might not have won that,” said Taylor. “You only got to win by one, so we’ll take it.”
Nebraska didn’t see a lead since there was just under 14 minutes left in the first half. Penn State was able to open up an 18 point lead in the second half, which was their largest lead of the game.
Nebraska would mount a comeback with Shields leading the way, scoring a team high 25 points. A key to the Cornhuskers’ second half success were Nittany Lions turnovers.
“Turnovers for myself and other players is what got them back in the game,” Taylor said.
Taylor has turned into a leader for this Penn State team and it seems to be working as of late. This week, Taylor was named the Big Ten Player of the Week after averaging 17.5 points and 11.5 rebounds against Rutgers and Iowa. He continued this success against Nebraska and will hope to keep it rolling through the end of the season.
“He comes into everyday like a professional, trying to get better,” said Chambers. “He doesn’t want anything to be handed to him. It was a proud moment for him and this program being named co-player of the week.”
Chambers would continue to comment on how outstanding Taylor’s leadership has been all year and especially of late.
“He commanded some of those huddles late in the second half, he was the one being more vocal,” said Chambers.
The Nittany Lions will travel to East Lansing to take on another Big Ten opponent on Sunday in No. 6 Michigan State (23-5, B1G 10-5). Penn State has already taken down two ranked opponents in No. 22 Indiana earlier in the year and No. 4 Iowa last week. The game will be covered on the Big Ten Network Sunday at 12:00 PM.
Mark Fagnani is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact, firstname.lastname@example.org