PHOTO GALLERY | Penn State basketball | Purdue No. 9 drives Nittany Lions away in spirited Big Ten quarter-final | Sports


INDIANAPOLIS — Eleventh-seeded Penn State’s Big Ten tournament ended Friday with a 69-61 loss to third-seeded Purdue in the quarterfinals at Bainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Penn State finished its first season under coach Micah Shrewsberry at 14-17.

“It’s always a tough emotional game for me to play against these guys that you spend so many years with,” said Shrewsberry, who was an assistant at Purdue before being hired at Penn State last spring. “These guys are just warriors. I love our fight. I like the way we compete. The guys who are seniors blindly trusted me, and they didn’t have to. The way they fought and competed all year, I’m so proud of these guys.

Purdue led by no less than 12 points after Eric Hunter Jr. uncorked a 3-pointer at 8:15 in the second half, which gave the Boilermakers a 56-44 advantage.

Penn State’s Jaheam Cornwall made a 3-pointer with less than four minutes remaining to put the Nittany Lions within three points of tying the score at 60, and Sam Sessoms made a layup with 2:30 to play the game. Purdue’s advantage at 62-61, prompting Boilermakers coach Matt Painter to call a timeout to stem a 17-6 Penn State run.

Purdue’s Jaden Ivey followed with two free throws and a layup to give Purdue the cushion needed to preserve the win as the Boilermakers led a 7-0 run in the final two minutes.

Ivey finished with a game-high 17 points.

Purdue shot 50% (26 of 52) from the field, while Penn State was 40.7% (13 of 33).

Penn State had its hottest start to the tournament, leading by as much as 10 points in the first half thanks to a pair of first 3-pointers from Myles Dread. Jalen Pickett kept the offensive push going with a 3-pointer at 5:24 to give the Nittany Lions a 27-20 lead.

Pickett led the Nittany Lions with 16 points, while John Harrar finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

“I love these two guys,” Shrewsberry said of Harrar and Pickett. “I will go to war with them any day of the week, and I appreciate everything they have done for this program.”

Purdue recovered from its slow start on offense and began a torrid run in which the Boilermakers scored on nine of their last 10 in first-half attempts to take a 35-31 lead. in the break.

Ivey scored 11 points in the first half and Purdue shot 50% from the field in the first 20 minutes of their Big Ten tournament opener.

Penn State’s 31 first-half points were the most the team scored in the first period of its Big Ten tournament. Harrar and Picket each contributed nine points in the first half. The Nittany Lions made 11 of 26 field goal attempts in the first half.

The Nittany Lions opened the tournament on Wednesday, beating 14-seeded Minnesota 60-51 in the first round. On Thursday, Penn State defeated sixth-seeded Ohio State, 71-68, to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals.

“Not wanting to go home, play for our seniors, I think that’s something we all knew we had to do this tournament,” Pickett said. “The energy we gave every night, picking up wins, really gave us the motivation to keep playing.”

Elton Hayes is a veteran sportswriter who covers Penn State for CNHI LLC publications. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.


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