Penn State Marches On in Big Ten Tournament With Win Over Northwestern
CHICAGO, Ill. –– Penn State men’s basketball survived an overtime thriller against Northwestern, coming out on top 67-65 in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
The Nittany Lions advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2018 and cement their spot in the NCAA Tournament field.
“I’m pinching myself,” head coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “We get a chance to play tomorrow in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.”
The task was tall for the Nittany Lions as Northwestern secured the double-bye as the second seed in the conference and sat just a half hour drive away from the United Center.
The Wildcat faithful were out in full effect and the Nittany Lions endured a similar environment that they did against Illinois.
The first half did not bode well for either team as they both shot poorly from the floor and resulted in just a one-point lead for Northwestern.
Penn State came out of the break with some fire and quickly took the lead. The Nittany Lions held the lead for a majority of the second half, but Northwestern stayed close.
Andrew Funk got going for Penn State in the second half and continued his confident hot shooting. He nearly called game for Penn State at the end of regulation, but his shot went long.
“It felt great off the hands,” Funk said. “Even going into overtime, I felt great.”
Funk contributed 11 of his 14 total points in the second half and snagged seven rebounds in the game.
Overtime was the result for the second time in two matchups between Penn State and Northwestern this season.
The blue and white jumped out again to a lead at the start of extra play, but the Wildcats continued to claw their way back each time.
Then, a huge Seth Lundy iso triple and a free throw from the senior himself forced Northwestern to find a miracle to win the game.
“Just having confidence in myself,” Lundy said. “I’ve been doing it my whole career.”
Lundy finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in the game.
Chase Audige attempted to save the Wildcats with one final shot at the buzzer, but his shot just missed.
“I was looking at it and my heart dropped for a second,” Jalen Pickett said. “When it popped out, I was full of joy.”
The Nittany Lions get their 21st win of the season and have a tendency to strive for dramatic finishes. The blue and white have taken their “gritty not pretty” mantra to heart.
Their 15 turnovers set a new season-high and allowed Northwestern to hang around, but Penn State prevailed in the end.
“That’s an area we have to clean up. We haven’t been great there in the last four days,” Shrewsberry said.
Despite not playing their absolute best basketball, Penn State is now 4-0 in the month of March and have won seven of the last eight.
The Nittany Lions are heading to the semifinals where they will face the winner of No. 6 Maryland and No. 3 Indiana.
Both teams present interesting matchups for the Nittany Lions, but the vibes are high for the blue and white as they enjoy their run into March.
“I can’t stop smiling,” Shrewsberry said. “I’m enjoying every moment this week. It’s so fun.”
Thomas English is a second-year broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Second-year / Broadcast Journalism
Thomas is a broadcast journalist from Shorewood, Illinois which is an hour South of Chicago. He is a second-year student at Penn State majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. His goal is to be an ESPN broadcaster who covers a variety of sports including professional and college level football and basketball and bring entertainment to people all over the world. His other goal is to spread his love of sports to all cultures through projects that allow children of all ethnicities to learn and play all kinds of sports. He is currently an active member of CommRadio, a student run radio station at Penn State. He plans to create his own sports podcast as well as doing play by play and analysis for Penn State sporting events in the future. In the future, he hopes to use his skills to entertain people all over the world!