After committing a travel to set up Tony Carr's go-ahead three-pointer late in the game, Jae'Sean Tate redeemed himself by making a layup with three seconds left to give Ohio State a 71-70 win over Penn State at University Park, Pa., on Tuesday night.
Trying to make a move around a defender, Tate was called for traveling with 28 seconds remaining. Following a timeout, Carr nailed a triple from the wing to give the Nittany Lions (14-16, 6-11 Big Ten) a 70-69 lead with 11 seconds on the clock. Tate then received a pass from JaQuan Lyle and completed a spin move before tossing in his game-winning layup for the Buckeyes (17-13, 7-10).
"We told our guys if we score that was the play that we were running and then when (the officials) stopped the clock (after Carr's three to check the time) Penn State was able to set their defense," said OSU head coach Thad Matta. "That was what we wanted to do. Trevor (Thompson) played it perfectly. If (Tate) would have missed, Trevor had a great opportunity to rebound the basketball, but a tremendous finish by J.T."
To start the game, Marc Loving and Lyle combined to shoot 9 of 12 from the field in the first half to lead OSU with 11 points each at the intermission.
The Buckeyes led by as many as eight points three times in the first 20 minutes. Loving’s layup at the 3:56 mark put OSU ahead by eight for the third instance at 36-28. Carr made a layup with five seconds left in the half to bring PSU within four, as OSU took a 40-36 lead into the locker room.
"I thought we helped (OSU) in the first half with our live-ball turnovers," said PSU head coach Patrick Chambers. "I felt like our turnovers, which was eight in the first half, they had a lot of points off of our turnovers in the first half (11) so that hurt us. It wasn’t our half-court defense as much as it was our live-ball turnovers."
The Nittany Lions then outscored the Buckeyes, 12-1, in the first 3:04 of the second frame to build a 48-41 advantage. Shep Garner scored a team-high six points during that span by hitting a pair of threes.
OSU did not go away, however, using a 9-0 run to take a 65-60 lead with 6:02 left in the game. Loving tied it at 60 on a pair of free throws with 7:06 remaining. Andre Wesson then connected from long distance to give the Buckeyes a 63-60 lead at the 6:39 mark. Thompson capped the spurt via two foul shots.
With 2:53 remaining, Lamar Stevens had a chance to draw the Lions even with the Buckeyes, but he split his two free throws, making it a 65-64 game in favor of the visitors.
A jumper from Lyle gave the Buckeyes a 69-65 lead with 1:07 left to play. Carr's layup with 42 ticks remaining pulled PSU within two, 69-67. The aforementioned chaos in the final 30 seconds ensued.
Lyle went 7 of 10 from the floor to pace OSU with 17 points while coming off the bench. Sophomore guard C.J. Jackson was the team's starting floor general. Tate finished with 12 points, hitting 6 of 8 field goals.
Carr led PSU with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting.
The Buckeyes held a significant margin for points in the paint (34-16) and bench points (29-5), the latter having much to do with Lyle's performance as a reserve.
The Scarlet and Gray committed 17 turnovers on the night, the last of which being Tate's traveling violation in the final seconds. The Nittany Lions were charged with 11 giveaways.
With the win, Matta has become the second active Big Ten coach to accrue 150 career conference wins. Michigan State mentor Tom Izzo has 256 Big Ten victories.
OSU hosts Indiana (16-14, 6-11) on Saturday in both teams' regular-season finale.
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