In a battle between two teams tied for 10th in the Big Ten and fighting for a single bye in the Big Ten tournament, the Ohio State men’s basketball team topped Penn State, 71-70, with a layup in the final seconds by junior forward Jae’Sean Tate.
Penn State’s freshman guard Tony Carr thought he nailed a stake into the hearts of the Scarlet and Gray with a go-ahead 3 with 9.8 left, but Tate’s conversion propelled OSU to a dramatic victory in Happy Valley. Carr led the Nittany Lions with 21 points.
Sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle led OSU with 17 points and six rebounds. Senior Marc Loving had an additional 14 points.
Penn State (14-16, 6-11 Big Ten) had three players including junior Shep Garner with 20 points and five 3s. Freshman Lamar Stevens added 16 points.
OSU’s strong shooting in last Thursday’s game against Wisconsin carried over to the first half of Tuesday’s game with Lyle and Loving each scoring 11 on 9-of-12 shooting combined.
The Buckeyes (17-13, 7-10 Big Ten) shot 50 percent, making 15-of-30 shots in the first half, but the Nittany Lions started their charge early in the second half with a 10-1 run to take a 46-41 lead after trailing by four at halftime.
Penn State pushed its lead to nine points, but a pair of 3s from freshman forward Andre Wesson and Lyle kept OSU in the game. On the next possession, Wesson found fellow freshman center Micah Potter under the rim for a dunk that put the Buckeyes down by two. However, Potter was called for a questionable technical foul for hanging on the rim with 12:32 remaining.
OSU retook the lead 63-60 with 6:39 left after Wesson buried his second 3 of the half. Wesson’s 3 was a part of a 9-0 run that put the Buckeyes up four.
Carr answered on the other end with a 3 of his own to make it 65-63. For the next two minutes, OSU and Penn State missed their next five combined shots heading into the final media timeout.
The two teams traded buckets until Tate’s lifted the Buckeyes to their second straight win.
OSU shot 49 percent and outrebounded Penn State 37-28. OSU had 17 turnovers.
Tate’s layup put OSU in a spot to avoid the first day of the Big Ten tournament with a victory over Indiana on Saturday at noon at the Schottenstein Center.