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Climbing with Trent Buttrick

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Penn State's newest freshmen are on campus and already on the climb ahead of the 2017-18 season. In a three-part series, get to know all three newcomers in a closer look at why they chose Penn State and what to expect this year.

Trent Buttrick

VitalsAt 6 feet 8 inches tall and 220 pounds, it's safe to say the Pennsylvania native certainly isn't lacking in size. Calling Bloomsburg home, the power forward grew up less than 90 miles from Happy Valley, before finishing his last two years in high school at the Community School of Naples in Florida.

With size, it's obvious Buttrick brings length, but having also averaged 18.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game with 17 double-doubles in his senior season, there's also shooting potential, especially around the perimeter. Buttrick also closed out his high school career ranked among the top five in school history with 873 career points.

In His Own Words - For Buttrick, who is the youngest of seven children with five brothers and one sister, Penn State is where he has always wanted to be. Building strong relationships with the coaching staff throughout his recruitment process, Buttrick committed to the Nittany Lions before even coming up the coast to visit, joining his older brother Christain, who graduated from Penn State three years ago.

"I'd been pretty familiar with campus, I'd seen it before and I had never seen any of the basketball facilities but I just knew this was where I wanted to go so I didn't have to visit," Buttick said. "This is the dream, I'm living the dream."

On Penn State Basketball - When Buttrick thinks about Penn State basketball, intensity comes to mind as he noted from the time he arrived, it's been all about maximum intensity each day. It's not entirely surprising that workouts are already completely different from anything he has experienced though. 

"They are just intense every single day," Buttrick said. "You think they are going to keep getting easier but they keep pushing you to that breaking point and you just keep getting mentally challenging every single day."

Climbing with John Harrar

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Penn State's newest freshmen are on campus and already on the climb ahead of the 2017-18 season. In a three-part series, get to know all three newcomers in a closer look at why they chose Penn State and what to expect this year.

John Harrar

Vitals - Coming in at six-foot-nine and 240 pounds, the Central League MVP and Philly News Second Team All-Pennsylvania selection has all the physicality become a disruptive force in the lane for the Nittany Lions. While he calls himself not always the prettiest of players, the Wallingford, Pennsylvania native with a football mentality noted he likes to get thing done. 

From Football to Hoops -  Once a tight end prospect and co-captain on the football team at Strath Haven, Harrar was originally committed to Army to play football, offered a year at the USMA Preparatory School to play football and basketball.

Drawing on trips to the historic Palestra to see future teammates like Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens, he changed his mind after taking a trip to Penn State.

"When I went on my football visits, it didn't feel like the visit I took to Penn State at all," Harrar said. 

On a ride to Happy Valley with his coach in the car, Harrar's coach mentioned that he'd be working out with someone who might be roughly 23 years old and 270 pounds, causing a bit of nerves, but not the kind that he'd plan to shy away from.

"The workout went well, I competed and everything and then I went into coach Chambers' office and he liked me," Harrar said. "Our conversation that we had felt right." 

Part of what made that conversation feel so right is what Harrar calls a sort of "Delaware County connection," having grown up just five minutes away from Chambers' hometown of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. 

"I think he could see that we have similar upbringings, similar attitudes, the Delaware County attitude as people say," Harrar said with a smile. "It's really tough and we don't back down from competition. It's similar to Philly, it's grit, it's grimy." 

Harrar waited only long enough to check in with his mom before committing to the Nittany Lions. Not too long after, an offer from UConn arrived, but his response was quick, he wanted to be at Penn State.

The Terminator - Harrar also already has a nickname, now called "The Terminator" thanks to assistant coach Dwayne Anderson.

"He calls me the terminator because I don't really talk on the court, but I always have a game face on," Harrar said. "Everyone else is talking smack and I'm just doing my thing and not really saying anything."

On Penn State Basketball - When Harrar thinks about Penn State basketball it's all about attitude. 

"We have the word attitude all over the locker room, in the practice facility. Coach Chambers wants us to play with a good attitude, he always says negative energy, wasted energy, we don't want wasted energy."

Climbing with Jamari Wheeler

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Penn State's newest freshmen are on campus and on the climb ahead of the 2017-18 season. In a three-part series, get to know all three newcomers in a closer look at why they chose Penn State and what to expect this year.

Jamari Wheeler

Vitals - Once committed to Duquesne, a coaching change meant that Wheeler would reopen his recruiting. From the family environment to the style of play, Wheeler was drawn to Penn State, later committing.

Now in Happy Valley, the point guard out of Gainesville, Florida is ready to get to work. Tabbed a three-star recruit and the No. 22 player in Florida, Wheeler has speed, quickness, energy and a competitive edge, which presents him as another complementing option alongside Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection Tony Carr. Wheeler is already taking advantage of the opportunity to get in the gym with Carr.

"I'm very competitive, me and Tone (Tony Carr) go at it every day," Wheeler said. "That's one person who is pushing me every day in practice, we're always going at it back and forth in workouts, drills, things like that."

In His Own Words -  When coach Chambers first came to visit Wheeler, he said there would be no guarantees when it comes to playing time, but rather Wheeler would have to earn it and work for it daily in practice. While we've heard Chambers on this before, it's something that stuck with Wheeler on more than one level.

"That was something different," Wheeler said. "Most coaches say that you could come in and play right away, we don't have a point guard. Coach Chamber told me I'm going to make you better on and off the court, I'm going to make you a better man."

Alumni Relations - In an early May media availability, Chambers likened Wheeler's skill set to that of Nittany Lion alum and current Washington Wizard Tim Frazier, keying in on speed, athleticism and toughness, something he noted the Penn State coaching staff has already mentioned.

On Penn State Basketball - When Wheeler thinks about Penn State basketball is all about toughness, discipline and hard work - even some swag too. For Wheeler, putting in the work is where he thrives, noting that one of his goals this summer includes significant time in the weight room as he looks to put on additional weight.

Frazier's Perseverance Rooted at Penn State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's basketball officially kicked off its annual Coaches vs. Cancer - Penn State Golf Tournament Thursday evening, opening the weekend with a Sponsor/Captain Reception at the Hawbaker Pavilion.

Head coach Patrick Chambers and former standout Nittany Lion and current New Orleans Pelican Tim Frazier both took time to meet with members of the media ahead of the festivities.

Pairing up with the Penn State Coaches vs. Cancer chapter for its 21st consecutive season, the annual event is a tradition that Chambers holds especially close, proudly adding on to an already impactful legacy in each passing year.

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"I'm especially proud of this year and what the committee has done and the sponsors and the volunteers, because last year was such a big year, the 20-year mark - you kind of think we're going to dip off and I don't really see that," Chambers said. "As a matter of fact, I think we're going to surpass $3 million." 

Having raised more than $2.7 million to date, the CVC-Penn State chapter stands as one of the most successful fundraising chapters, but more than dollars and cents, Chambers tied this year's event, which happens to also kick off on the day of his 10th wedding anniversary, to gratitude. 

"We have pillars of excellence and it's my fifth pillar, gratitude, and it's just something where I want to find joy in this," Chambers said. "We've had some tough stretches but I think you have to go through those tough stretches to get where you want to go."

Perhaps no better representation of gratitude and perseverance in the presence of challenges is Frazier, a two-time All-Big Ten selection who earned two degrees from Penn State and went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft before finally re-signing with the Pelicans in late July 2016 after originally being signed for the remainder of the 2015-16 at the end of March 2016.

"His journey getting to the NBA was not easy," Chambers said. "A lot of no's, a lot of 10-day contracts, a lot of we're not going to re-sign you, to trade, then back to the D-league, then going with New Orleans to finish the season and getting a deal."

Much like Penn State's newest mantra to #ClimbWithUs, Frazier has already been on the climb for quite some time. Through the ups and downs and the grind of uncertainty, Frazier has maintained a level head, ultimately focused on achieving his lifelong dream, having already battled through injuries and adversity during his time in the Blue and White.

"Just like coach said, there are going to be obstacles in the way but you have to continue to push through it and I was able to do that and look at me now, I know people would not have thought that when I was 145 pounds when I came to Penn State I'd be playing for the Pelicans," Frazier said.

In 65 games with New Orleans in 2016-17, Frazier averaged 7.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game, but he's not finished. With work to be done in all areas and plans to get bigger and stronger, Frazier will continue on the climb, working toward securing another contract to further his NBA dream.

For now though, Frazier is embracing a bit of what Chambers is currently trying to teach his young group, that's loaded with some already proven potential headed into the 2017-18 season.

"I think in college I was so set on, I want to make it to the NBA, I want to make it to the NBA and now I'm going to enjoy it, enjoy every piece, never take a day for granted and I try to do that every day," Frazier said. "In every workout, every day just reading, beating people, what can you say, I'm in the best game there is in the world there is right now. I'm just taking in everything in and one day at a time."

In his first time back on campus, Frazier is looking forward to meeting and spending time with Penn State's newest Nittany Lions, sharing a little piece of his side of the story. 

Approximately 300 golfers and 60 groups are set to tee off beginning at 7 a.m. Friday morning in the Penn State Golf Tournament concluding with an awards dinner in Beaver Stadium's Mount Nittany Club.

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Bright Future Ahead of Nittany Lions

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com

WASHINGTON - Penn State men's basketball's 2016-17 season came to a close in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 13 Nittany Lions fell to fifth-seeded Michigan State, 78-51 at the Verizon Center.

Opposite of Penn State's fast start Wednesday night, it was the Spartans who came out firing, using an 11-0 run in the early part of the first half to construct a double digit advantage, 14-6. Shep Garner answered back for the Nittany Lions, nailing his first triple before Terrence Samuel went 2-2 from the free throw line, working to close the gap. 

Penn State struggled to settle into a rhythm though, as Michigan State dialed up the speed with a 12-0 run to surge ahead, 30-13. Unfazed, the Nittany Lions buckled down and battled back with a 12-3 run, featuring a 6-6 showing from the free throw line to arrive within nine.

Still the Spartans returned, using a 9-0 run to enter halftime with a 45-27 advantage.

"We needed more energy, more juice, more fire, we needed some baskets to go early," Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers said. "I knew that the first four minutes, eight minutes were huge where we had a few of those in and outs, in and outs and then we got a little bit deflated, then we got it back to nine and I thought boy we're in great shape and then they went on another run."

Despite a first half featuring back and forth runs, Penn State simply couldn't match the Spartan scoring streaks out of the break as Michigan State maintaining the double digit advantage to the final buzzer.

"They outplayed us," freshman Tony Carr said. "They played harder, they sprinted harder, they ran their cuts harder, they just did everything harder than us and that cost us." 

Carr and fellow freshman Lamar Stevens did all they could to power the offense, combining for 32 of Penn State's 51 points. Carr finished with 16 points, including a 9-for-11 showing from the free throw line in addition to collecting five rebounds. Stevens also led the team with 16 points, registering 12 points in the second half alone.

For Chambers though, the Nittany Lions needed the type of balanced offensive performance from Wednesday, but such has been the case this season, Penn State couldn't carry over the consistency. 

"This is a process, an absolute process for this team," Chambers said. "You can't speed up the process. We had a great day yesterday, celebratory day. This is the mental toughness part of it, the inexperience part of it that we have to go through."

Inexperience has plagued the Nittany Lions all season, as Penn State's standout freshman class was thrust into some serious on the job training. Making an immediate impact, the freshman class held its own, contributing just over 50 percent of Penn State's offensive production this year.

Carr and Stevens led the way with at least 400 points on the year, led by 13.2 points per game from Carr and 12.7 from Stevens. On the defensive side of things, redshirt freshman Mike Watkins grabbed a team-high and record setting 267 rebounds, leading the team with 8.1 per game to go along with 90 blocks. 

Although the inexperience stings at times, there's no denying that the future of Penn State basketball is perhaps brighter than its ever been. 

"I would say the future is very bright for us, just knowing that we have the talent and the determination to just do positive things is great so moving forward we're going to keep working our hardest and making this team the best that we can," Carr said.

Nothing but support surrounds the group of rookies, who will soon be sophomores.

"We're a lot closer than everyone thinks," Josh Reaves said. "We're right there, we're about to turn the corner I think. We just need to be a lot more mentally tough and physically tough to be able to push through all the injuries, all the soreness, all the fatigue. When we get there, it's going to be exciting to watch with us."

Evident in the leadership and preparation, the dedication from the freshman class has proved not only infectious but inspiring, especially as it relates to the future.

"I can't wait to get back in the gym with these guys, I know how hungry they are, I know how much they want to win and it drives us all," Reaves said. 

As the process moves along, so will the Nittany Lions, and as Chambers notes, he'll get back to work by making a complete evaluation of the entire team.

Starting now, Penn State will put this loss in the past and continue building off of what it's already started.

"We're a young team, but we have great leaders and we're going to get back up tomorrow and get ready for next year and do everything we can to prepare," Stevens said. "We take every loss, every win as a learning lesson and we're going to build off of that for next year." 


Reach Arielle at ans26@psu.edu or follow on Twitter @arielle_sargent
WASHINGTON - No. 13 seed Penn State is back in action, meeting No. 5 Michigan State in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Nittany Lions knocked off No. 12 seed Nebraska in overtime yesterday to advance to the second round, which kicks off at approximately 2:30 p.m. at the Verizon Center. Follow along for live in-game updates and exclusive content. 


Live Blog Men's Hoops Gameday Live vs. Michigan State (Big Ten Tournament)
 

Watkins Powers Penn State Past Nebraska

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Arriving at seemingly just the right time, the ball bounced toward Penn State today as the No. 13 seeded Nittany Lions knocked off No. 12 Nebraska in a 76-67 overtime decision in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Penn State's metaphorical bounce in the right direction wasn't all luck though, as Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers has routinely preached the Nittany Lions would have to earn the right for the ball to bounce the right way, often on the other end of some unpleasant bounces in the regular season.  

Come tournament time, Penn State jumped out to fast start, using a 7-0 run to featuring a dunk and a block by Mike Watkins to send the Nittany Lions ahead by nine, 22-13. As Watkins collected his first foul of the evening, the Huskers went 1-2 from the free throw line to trim the gap. Following Lamar Stevens' first 3-pointer of the day, Watkins connected on a layup to push the Penn State advantage to double figures. 

Nebraska came storming back, tying the score at 30-30 with less than five minutes to play off of a 3-pointer from leading scorer Tai Webster, who the Nittany Lions later limited to just two second-half points. Penn State regrouped, ratcheting up the defense before heading into the locker room with a five-point lead, 38-33.

At the very core of Penn State's regrouping effort, Watkins led the way, entering halftime with a team-high 10 points, five blocks and five rebounds, breaking a Nittany Lion single season freshman rebounds record originally set in 1952.

"Before the game in warmups, I just saw how locked in he was," Josh Reaves said. "Every time we get that Mike it's a problem."

"That Mike" was merely heating up.

Despite Nebraska shaving the Penn State advantage just one in the early part of the second half, Watkins sparked a 10-4 run with a jumper and a slam, before Shep Garner drained consecutive triples to lift the Nittany Lions ahead by nine, 50-41, with 11:27 to play.

As quickly as Penn State built its advantage though, the Huskers responded, arriving within one twice more, tying the score off of a 3-pointer from Glynn Watson Jr. with less than a minute to play.

Finding his way to the foul line, Carr went 2-2 to put Penn State on top by two, but Nebraska responded again to tie the score, 60-60.

With Carr unable to get to the line again, an audible inhale swelled among the Penn State bench as the Huskers heaved a near half court shot out of the break with just a few seconds on the clock. 

Dinging the left side of the backboard, the shot was no good and the Nittany Lions were headed to overtime.

The ball had bounced toward Penn State and it was time for the Nittany Lions to step up and earn it.

Pulling up for his second attempt of the day, Sevens opened overtime with his second 3-pointer on the night the Nittany Lions didn't look back.

"It was huge," Chambers said, reflecting on the perfectly timed 3-ball. "The other thing is, he earned the right to make that shot. He's in the gym shooting those shots so it goes in and I wasn't surprised."

Equally as undeniably huge though, was the performance from Watkins, who took control of the Nittany Lion defense that limited the Huskers to fewer than 70 points for the 11th time this season. Penn State's magic number, the Nittany Lions are 11-0 when holding opponents to 70 or fewer points on the year. 

Watkins led the Nittany Lions on the boards with 11 rebounds, adding a Big Ten Tournament record eight blocks. His presence was also critical to the offensive side of the ball, finishing with a team-high 18 points for his eighth double-double of the season.

"He has the ability to do that every night on any given night against any given team," Reaves said. "It's crazy to watch and it's very comforting to have a big guy back there who is able to do that and he just cleans up the glass like - well it is his job, but it's crazy to watch."

For Chambers, Watkins played with pure desire, which ultimately proved key when it came down to execution, staying on his feet and keeping high hands to avoid costly foul trouble.

"He knew exactly how he was going to go out and compete," Chambers said. "He bought into the game plan since Monday, that kid is absolutely invested in Penn State basketball and I think that's what you saw today," Chambers said.

It wasn't just Watkins who arrived at the Verizon Center with a laser-like focus though.

"Everyone just dialed in playing defense and they made their runs but we didn't deflate, we banned together and we played a lot harder," Reaves said. "It was definitely one of the better games defensively that we've played all year and I'm just so proud that we were able to get it done." 

All part of the process, the "dialing in" began days in advance, as Chambers noted the Nittany Lions asked to return to their October style practices, their roots, in order to prepare for a Big Ten battle between two tough teams.

"We had a good practice," Chambers said. "Short and hard, we went old school a little bit. A little dive drill, a little charge drill, keeping everybody on their toes." 

Emphasizing all week that the tougher team would emerge with the victory, Chambers took his Nittany Lions back to the grind and the team returned with just the amount of grit needed to advance. 

"They wanted it, they said we have to go back a little bit to get our roots and get our identity," Chambers said. "We found our identity today."

Penn State returns to action tomorrow at approximately 2:30 p.m. (BTN), meeting fifth-ranked Michigan State. The Spartans went 18-13 overall and 9-8 in conference games earning first round bye heading in to the Big Ten Tournament.

Reach Arielle at ans26@psu.edu or follow on Twitter @arielle_sargent
WASHINGTON - Earning the No. 13 seed, Penn State (14-17, 6-12) is set to meet No. 12 Nebraska (12-18, 6-12) in the opening matchup of the event Wednesday, March 8 at 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2) in Washington, D.C. at the Verizon Center. Follow along for live in-game updates and exclusive content. 



Live Blog Men's Hoops Gameday Live vs. Nebraska (Big Ten Tournament)
 

By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com

Big Ten Tournament Live Blog - Penn State vs. Nebraska

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For Penn State men's basketball, the start of the Big Ten Tournament means the Nittany Lions are back at 0-0 with a fresh start and limitless opportunity ahead.

Earning the No. 13 seed, Penn State (14-17, 6-12) is set to meet No. 12 Nebraska (12-18, 6-12) in the opening matchup of the event Wednesday, March 8 at 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2) in Washington, D.C. at the Verizon Center.

Although coming off of a bit of a bitter end to the regular season, Penn State's 90-79 loss on the road at Iowa didn't come without a fight.

"The kids kept competing and they kept fighting and they kept battling and that's our culture, that's the core of their being, Chambers said. "We had chances to roll over, even at Minnesota a few weeks prior. They kept battling and the fact that they're doing that bodes very, very well for this week and for our future."

Among the Big Ten battles this season, Penn State has seen six losses decided by five points or less, proving that the Nittany Lions are most definitely within reach when it comes to turning the corner.

"Mentally, that can wear you down a little bit.  But I think the culture that we have here is very positive, very upbeat, they're learning-type losses," Chambers said. "We're going to learn from these types of experiences and we're going to flip these and hopefully we can start it on Wednesday and start it right now and not think about next year." 

For Chambers, the Nittany Lions simply aren't ready to look toward next year though, with a lot of basketball still very much a possibility in the future. 

"We're right here, right now and we're focused on Nebraska and the Big Ten Tournament," Chambers said.

Penn State and Nebraska met just once during the regular season, with the Huskers capturing an 82-66 win on the road in Lincoln. Despite the outcome though, Penn State has put the past in the past, focusing its energy on the present.

"Just try to take it one game at a time, try to get the job done," Shep Garner said. "You know you can't look forward, you can't even think about the past, you have to try to get it done that one day. One day at a time. I think one day at a time is basically the best way to describe it at this point in the day."

The one day at a time mentality begins Wednesday, as Penn State officially gets underway in the Big Ten Tournament. At 11-19 in the event, Penn State last met the Huskers as the No. 13 seed in 2015, advancing as far as the quarterfinals before falling short against Purdue.

Carr's Big Ten Honor
Penn State's Tony Carr earned Big Ten All-Freshman team honors, making him the first freshman Nittany Lion to earn the honor since 2006, also picking up honorable mention distinction.
 

"The kid's a fierce competitor and he wants to win," Chambers said.

Since stepping into a leadership role on the team, Carr has made an immediate impact on the court for the Nittany Lions. Leading the team with 13.2 points per game, Carr has closed out the season averaging nearly 17 points per game and 5.4 assists across the last 10 games.

"I've always been a guy who tries to lead by example per say, I was kind of vocal with my high school team but we were winning most of the games so we kind of just led ourselves, but just being here and dealing with the adversity of losing some games has definitely made me a much better player," Carr said. "Just trying to get through certain nights and certain matchups where we might be under-manned or overwhelmed, it definitely gives me a different perspective of how to lead on a team where we're not winning as many games as I'm used to."

A Closer Look at the Huskers
Similar to the Nittany Lions, Nebraska also enters the Big Ten Tournament with a young roster, featuring just one senior in Tai Webster. Webster was recently selected to the All-Big Ten team by both the coaches and media, entering the Big Ten Tournament ranked third in the conference averaging 17.2 points per game to go along with 5.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

Glynn Watson Jr. is just behind Webster in the team standings averaging 13.4 points per game, while Michael Jacobson is leading the way on the glass with 6.5 boards per game. All together, Nebraska is averaging nearly 71 points per game in conference play, which marks the Huskers' highest scoring output in conference play since the 2001-02 season.

Nebraska closed out the regular season with a 93-57 loss against Michigan at home on senior night. The Huskers shot 29 percent in the second half, plagued by 16 turnovers. Nebraska carries a 3-5 all-time record in Big Ten Tournament games, having recorded a 2-1-mark last year, knocked out by Maryland in the quarterfinals. 

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Bracket Picture
Since moving to a five-day format, the 2017 Big Ten Tournament features all 14 teams represented in the bracket with six teams earning either a bye or double bye.

Should the Nittany Lions defeat Nebraska, Penn State will advance to game four of the Big Ten Tournament, set to meet No. 5 seed Michigan State at approximately 2:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9 on the Big Ten Network.

Reach Arielle at ans26@psu.edu or follow on Twitter @arielle_sargent

Buckeyes Clip Penn State at the Buzzer

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Tony Carr did all he could down the stretch, scoring each of the last five points for the Nittany Lions, but his late-game heroics weren't enough.

 

With less than a minute remaining and Penn State down by four, Carr knifed through the middle of the defense and finished a tough layup in traffic to cut Ohio State's lead to two, 69-67. After a Jae'Sean Tate turnover on the other end, it was Carr's turn again.

 

With the shot clock off, Penn State moved the ball swiftly around the outside ticking time off until only 10 seconds remained in the game. Receiving a pass from his former high school teammate Shep Garner on the left wing, he hoisted up a deep 3-pointer that hit nothing but cotton to put Penn State in front by one.

 

On the next possession, Tate redeemed the earlier turnover with a coast-to-coast run and left-handed game winner with three seconds left to seal the 71-70 win for the Buckeyes, as a hushed silence fell over the Bryce Jordan Center crowd.

 

"That final deciding play that we had on offense, Shep made the decision and made the play," Carr said. "I was just trying to be a good teammate and get open. It just means a whole lot to me to know that [my teammates] trust me."

 

While the lack of tallies in the win column don't necessarily reflect the quality of play in the last four games, Carr's teammates have put full faith in him to make plays in the waning minutes when the game is on the line.

 

Just in the last home game against Purdue, Carr scored 14 of the team's final 18 points to bring Penn State back and send the game to overtime. Still, Penn State did not emerge with the win.

 

In Penn State's last 10 games, Carr is averaging 17.5 points and 5.1 assists per game. The freshman has been visibly more confident with the ball as of late, especially with the pressure on at the end of the game.

 

"Kid's a confident kid and most importantly, he's a winner and he's learning how to lead. We have a special player on our hands for sure," head coach Pat Chambers said.

 

Carr's 21 points Tuesday night marked his third straight game with at least 20 points. He also chipped in five rebounds and four assists.

 

Garner also joined Carr with a 20-point game against the Buckeyes. Garner made five threes on a career-high 14 attempts from beyond the arc. Garner scored eight of the team's first 13 points to keep Penn State within striking distance early.

 

"I think trying to get him going early was really good," Chambers said. "Tony did a lot of that. He saw the ball go through the basket a few times."

 

Garner also started off just as hot in the second half with two threes in the team's first three possessions, serving as the catalyst in Penn State's 17-4 run coming out of halftime to grow the lead to nine.

 

"He looked like a different kid tonight," Chambers said. "He looked like he had some energy in his feet, he was ready to play, play with confidence. I think trying to get him going early was really good."

 

While taking fewer shots per game this year, Garner has shown flashes of just how effective he can be, especially from 3-point line. Garner is shooting 35% from deep and leads the team in minutes per game. His role as a captain on such a young team is taking precedence over his role as a scorer, and he's accepted it.

 

"I think we're playing great," Garner said. "I think teams make certain plays and we don't. That's what it comes down to. They are all learning experiences. We take every game as a learning experience win or lose."

 

Tuesday night's late heartbreaking loss to Ohio State was just another chapter of the close losses that have piled up all season long.

 

Penn State has now lost five games decided by four points or less this season, which doesn't include the triple overtime loss to Indiana.

 

With more time, experience and chemistry, those close losses can surely flip into wins. Add a few up and the season is an entirely different story.

 

"That's a good thing for this program," Chambers said. "That's a good thing for the fans out there that these guys care this much. We have winners in that locker room who are invested, who want to get better, and they want to see this thing turn."

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