The one constant among Penn State basketball fans is no matter how big of a lead or deficit they have in the first half, the outcome will likely result in a loss. Penn State entered the Big Ten Tournament needing to put together a miracle run if they had any chance of making the NCAA Tournament. After a disastrous first half, Penn State overcame a 15-point deficit with an inspired second half to beat Nebraska 72-66.
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The first half looked bleak for the Nittany Lions as they went into the half down 37-23. Penn State shot just 9 of 31 from the field in the half and added 10 turnovers for good measure. On the other hand, the Huskers shot 46% led by guard Thorir Thorbjarnarson who scored 9 points on 3 of 5 shooting from behind the arc.
The second half could not have been more opposite from the first as the Nittany Lions stormed out to a 10-0 run to make it a one-possession game. Penn State was able to tie the game with 11:40 remaining in the game after two Sam Sessoms free throws. Nebraska got into foul trouble in the second half and after two more free throws, this time by Izaiah Brockington with 9:27 to go, Penn State regained the lead. It was back and forth, but with 2:49 remaining, Myles Dread who had not made a shot to that point, hit a huge three-pointer to give Penn State a huge two-possession lead. From that point, the Nittany Lions never looked back.
This Penn State team has flaws, but they certainly have guts and clamped down on defense and cleaned up on the boards with a decided 43-27 advantage, of which 14 came on the offensive end. Senior Jamari Wheeler had a career-high 19 points and was the most consistent offensive player throughout the game. Myreon Jones was held scoreless in the first half, but found a rhythm in the second half and finished with 14 points. John Harrar was once again a monster on the boards and finished with 14 rebounds to go along with his 5 points. Nebraska star Trey McGowens was in foul trouble for much of the second half, but led the Huskers with 13 points.
Penn State will face Wisconsin at 9 PM EST on the Big Ten Network Thursday Night. The two teams split their games in the regular season.