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WASHINGTON (AP) Junior guard Shep Garner, who already had made a 3-pointer that rattled in as the shot-clock buzzer sounded in overtime, stepped to the foul line with 80 seconds left. Garner coolly made both attempts and wound up with seven of Penn State's 16 points in OT, leading the 13th-seeded Nittany Lions to a 76-67 victory over Nebraska in the conference tourney's opening game Wednesday.
Garner made his mark on this game, scoring 16 points while going 4 for 7 on 3s, all despite a recent foot injury.
''That experience of playing in the Big Ten these last couple years really shined through today,'' Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. ''He gutted it out, for sure.''
Penn State (15-17) never trailed and ended a five-game losing streak, advancing to face Michigan State in the second round.
''We've had a lot of games this year where we get into one- and two-possession games and one point and two points and we've been coming up short. So I felt like I had to make a play for my teammates, for my team,'' Garner said. ''I wanted to do it.''
Freshman Mike Watkins produced 18 points, 11 rebounds and a Big Ten Tournament-record eight blocks.
''There's more consistent effort there,'' Chambers said. ''There's more willingness there.''
Evan Taylor led 12th-seeded Nebraska (12-19) with 15 points. Tai Webster shot 4 for 16 and fouled out in OT with 12 points, only two after halftime.
Watkins helped limit Nebraska to 34 percent shooting.
''We just couldn't get anything going at the rim,'' Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. ''That hurt us.''
Penn State plays Thursday against No. 5 seed Michigan State, winner of a record five Big Ten conference tournament titles. Penn State beat the Spartans 72-63 on Jan. 7 at the Palestra in Philadelphia.