STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — John Shurna made two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to give Northwestern a 67-66 win over Penn State on Saturday night.
Tim Frazier’s long 3-pointer at the buzzer fell short for the Nittany Lions.
Shurna, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, led three Wildcats in double figures with 23 points. Drew Crawford added 13 and Alex Marcotullio 12 for Northwestern (17-11, 7-9). Marcotullio came off the bench to make 4 of 6 3-pointers.
Penn State (12-17, 4-12) was paced by Frazier, the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer, who scored 23. Jon Graham and Ross Travis each contributed 10 points for the Nittany Lions.
Graham had the opportunity to expand Penn State’s 66-65 lead with 14 seconds to go, but he missed two foul shots. Northwestern rebounded the second miss and raced up court.
With time winding down, the Wildcats dumped the ball inside to Shurna, who put up a shot that was contested by Graham. The Nittany Lion was whistled for a foul and Shurna made the two resulting foul shots.
“It was a late whistle,” said Penn State coach Patrick Chambers. “I thought we had the rebound and were going down to the other end to shoot a 1 and 1.”
Northwestern coach Bill Carmody smiled when asked about the call, saying “Are you trying to get me in trouble? They (Penn State) took a shot. They (the referees) called a foul. It’s a good crew out there.”
The road win kept alive Northwestern’s flickering NCAA tournament hopes, especially on the heels of a tough overtime loss to Michigan on Tuesday.
“We had to get this game,” Carmody said. “We have to win a few games here so we’re not on the periphery.”
Northwestern has two games remaining, home against Ohio State on Wednesday and a road contest at Iowa to close out the season on March 3.
The Wildcats’ win was bolstered by a 15-of-29 effort from 3-point range. Penn State converted just 3 of 14 from beyond the arc.
“We were shooting 3s much better than (other shots),” Carmody said.
Chambers said he wasn’t surprised at the Wildcats’ proficiency from long range.
“I said before the game they would shoot 30 3s. That’s how you win on the road,” he said. “They’re obviously skilled . and they have good shooters.”
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