NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Penn State men’s basketball advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) with a 73-63 win over Notre Dame Saturday at the Joyce Center. The Nittany Lions never trailed in the game, but held off a late Notre Dame rally to become the first team to register a road win in the 2018 NIT.
Penn State had four players in double figures, led by sophomore guard Tony Carr with a game-high 24 points. Junior forward Josh Reaves, who narrowly missed a double-double with 18 points, and Irish senior forward Bonzie Colson shared the high-rebounding honor with nine each. Senior guard Shep Garner had 15 points and sophomore forward Lamar Stevens 11.
The Nittany Lions advance to the quarterfinals either against Oregon or Marquette on Tuesday, March 20 on ESPN. That second-round game between the Ducks and Golden Eagles will be broadcast by ESPN2 on Sunday, March 18 with a 4:30 p.m. tipoff.
“I’m really proud of my team, the way they fought, the way they competed, especially on the road here at Notre Dame on St. Patrick’s Day, you figured everything would be going against us,” said Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers. “These guys came out and were ready to play. We really buckled down and did some really good things on the defensive end. It always goes back to our identity, defending and rebounding…We’re fired up to move on.”
Two field goals from Notre Dame’s Austin Torres and a 3-pointer by T.J. Gibbs sliced the Penn State lead down to eight in the fourth quarter. The Irish couldn’t convert from distance, going 3-11 from beyond the arc and put the Nittany Lions on the free line. Penn State had six baskets in the final period, three from Carr, and had 10 points off free throws.
With nine points from Garner, on three 3-pointers, and seven from Reaves in the third quarter, the Nittany Lions were able to pull out to an eight-point lead midway through the period. A minute span with Reaves’ scoring five points, including a layup off a steal, and Garner’s second trey of the period allowed Penn State to extend the lead to 12, 45-33.
The Nittany Lions had their largest lead of the game at 14, 50-36, with Garner’s fourth 3-pointer coming with five seconds left in the period.
Defense ruled the afternoon as Penn State forced Notre Dame into four early turnovers and capitalized on 12 Irish miscues to score 19 points. The Nittany Lions allowed Notre Dame only four 3-point baskets, half its game average of 8.5, and the Irish were 0-7 in the first half from beyond the arc.
Penn State used a 10-1 run over the final minute of the first quarter to pull out to a 21-10 lead. Senior guard Shep Garner scored five points in the stretch with a 3-pointer and a jumper. He finished the game with 15 points, including four 3-pointers, bringing his 2017-18 total to 107. That total ties Indiana’s Steve Alford for 10th on the Big Ten Conference single-season list.
The Irish rebounded in the second quarter and made up ground in the half, down 28-23 at the break. The Nittany Lions were 2-12 from the floor overall for 16.7 percent. Notre Dame didn’t fare much better, at 4-16, but had four field goals and added five free throws to outscore Penn State 13-7 in the period.
As part of the 2018 NIT, experimental rules were in place which included utilizing a wider lane, the international three-point line, and four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves.

For information or to make a 2018-19 Penn State men’s basketball season ticket deposit, fans should go to nittanylionfeedback.com/se/3FF63F244373D7BF or call 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

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