Nebraska basketball rallies to force overtime, but falls short in final seconds at Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nebraska made up a 16-point deficit in the second half Friday night at Penn State to force overtime. The Huskers then took the lead three times in the extra period.

But a 17-foot jumper from guard Tony Carr with 2.7 seconds left gave Penn State a 76-74 victory.

Carr, who was 2 of 17 from the field in regulation, hit 3 of 4 shots in overtime.

Nebraska had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but guard Glynn Watson’s off-balance 3-pointer rimmed away. At game’s end, forward Isaiah Roby tried a 45-footer that was short.

“Tough game and a disappointing loss,” coach Tim Miles said on his radio show. “I thought we had done enough things to come back and earn the win. But we didn’t do enough with discipline and execution.”

The execution of the final attempt in regulation drew criticism from Miles.

Nebraska flipped the game by going to a 1-3-1 zone with about eight minutes left and trailing by 13. The Huskers went on a 19-6 run, which Watson capped with a tying jumper with 1:25 to play.

With 25 seconds left, guard Evan Taylor stripped the ball from Penn State’s Lamar Stevens, who led all scorers with 26 points, and Watson collected it to give NU a chance at the final shot.

“We run a play late and break it off and take a bad shot at the end of regulation,” said Miles, who wanted Watson to drive to the basket after a screen from Roby at the top of the key.

“Isaiah is coming in to set the screen and is getting held up a little bit, and couldn’t quite get in position. Then Glynn broke the play off and unfortunately took a tough shot. Tough shots are usually bad shots.”

In overtime, Roby scored five quick points and guard Anton Gill hit a tying 3-pointer with 13 seconds left.

But Carr hit a 3-pointer with 3:10 left, a 2 with 1:09 left, two free throws with 23 seconds left and the winning jumper from the left elbow with 2.7 seconds to go.

The Nittany Lions’ four field goals in overtime were double what they produced in the final eight minutes of regulation against Nebraska’s zone.

Miles said he considered going zone earlier.

“I talked to some of the coaches,” he said. “But the first half, our defense wasn’t awful. They shot 38 percent the first half. It’s just that our offense got worse as the thing went on.”

Nebraska led 15-14 with 10 minutes to go in the first half, then made three baskets the rest of the half, allowing Penn State to take a 33-24 lead.

The Nittany Lions scored the first six points of the second half and built the lead to 16 points twice — the second at 47-31 with 16:28 to go.

But NU forward Isaac Copeland sparked a comeback. He scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half, and Roby added seven of his 12 in that span.

Copeland, Roby and Watson, who finished with 21 points, scored Nebraska’s final 19 in regulation to get to overtime.

Nebraska (12-7, 3-3) played without starting center Jordy Tshimanga, who stayed in Lincoln and is considering a transfer. Miles said that decision should come soon.

Penn State (13-6, 3-3) played without starting guard Josh Reaves, who missed a second straight game because of academics.

NU’s leading scorer, guard James Palmer, had his worst night as a Husker. He scored five points — 10.8 fewer than his average — and made 1 of 9 shots.

Nebraska, which could have been alone in fourth place in the Big Ten with a victory, plays Illinois at home Monday.