All-Big Ten guard Jalen Pickett scored six of his 15 points in overtime as 10th-seeded Penn State earned a 67-65 victory over second-seeded Northwestern in Big Ten quarterfinal action Friday night in Chicago.
The Nittany Lions (21-12) claimed their second overtime win over Northwestern (21-11) in 10 days as Seth Lundy provided a game-high-tying 16 points while Andrew Funk added 14 points and Kanye Clary contributed 11 off the bench.
Penn State, which secured its fifth Big Ten tournament semifinal berth, will play the winner of Friday’s last quarterfinal between No. 3 seed Indiana and No. 6 seed Maryland.
All-Big Ten guard Boo Buie paced Northwestern with 16 points and four assists while Brooks Barnhizer notched 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds off the bench.
The Wildcats shot just 31.8 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range, yet they had a chance to win at the overtime buzzer. With 4.7 seconds left, Buie deliberately missed a free throw. The ball pinged through the lane and into Chase Audige’s hands outside the arc. The Northwestern guard fired an off-balance 3-pointer that hit the inside of the rim and rolled off at the horn.
Lundy forced overtime with an off-balance 10-footer with 37 seconds left in regulation, as Buie and Funk missed shots to take the lead in the waning seconds. Pickett opened overtime with a step-back 3-pointer — his only such attempt of the game.
Northwestern claimed its first overtime lead on Audige’s pullup jumper in the lane with 1:16 to go, but Lundy answered with a 3-pointer to regain a 64-62 edge with 46 seconds on the clock.
Neither team allowed the other’s star any space to operate in the frontcourt early. The Wildcats misfired on 11 of their first 13 shots — including five layups — while the Nittany Lions missed 10 of their first 12.
Both teams’ offensive efficiency improved the rest of the half. Penn State reeled off eight straight points to take a 25-21 lead on Clary’s layup with 1:47 to go, but Nick Martinelli cashed a 3-pointer and Buie took Pickett off the dribble for a layup to give Northwestern a 26-25 edge at the break.
Funk scored 11 points in the first seven minutes of the second half to help stake Penn State to a 45-38 lead — the largest of the game. Northwestern reeled off nine consecutive points to regain a 47-45 edge with 6:15 left. Barnhizer started the run with a 3-pointer and a driving reverse layup.
–Field Level Media