Sophomores Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens combined for 40 points, with 27 of their total coming in the second half, but No. 17 Michigan held off Penn State’s second-half surge for a 73-62 win Wednesday at the Bryce Jordan Center. Carr led all scorers with 21 points, but three Wolverines had double-digit totals with Duncan Robinson scoring a Michigan-best 19.
“My hat’s off to Michigan,” said Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers. “John Beilein and his guys did a great job. They came in here in a hostile environment. The end of the first half, we were dealing with some adversity, and I thought our guys competed. I thought they played hard. There’s going to be some positives taken from this, we’ll grow from this, and get better from it, and that’s what I told them in there. It’s all about (getting) one percent better, try to get a little bit better each time.”
Michigan opened the game connecting on 75 percent of its field goals to take a five-point lead by the 12:00 mark. Senior Julian Moore carried a 6-0 run with four points and sophomore guard Nazeer Bostick added a jumper midway through the first half knocked the Wolverine lead to one, 16-15, but a 14-2 stretch gave Michigan its largest lead of the game at 30-17.
A 3-pointer by Carr halted the Michigan run and then three-straight field goals by Stevens in the closing two minutes of the half closed the margin to eight, 34-26.
The Nittany Lions came roaring back with an 11-4 run in the first four minutes of the second half. A Carr trey from the left side brought the Nittany Lions to 34. Reaves sliced through the lane to pull PSU within two 38-36 and then a traveling call on Michigan put the ball back in the hands of Carr. Carr hit a floater in the lane and made the foul shot to give Penn State a 39-38 lead at the 16:12 mark.
Reaves grabbed a Wolverine turnover and passed to Carr who set Stevens up for a dunk to give Penn State its first lead of the second half 41-38. The score bounced back and forth as Wagner tied it with a 3-pointer 50 seconds later and Stevens put the Nittany Lions back up 43-41 with his turnaround jumper just right of the key.
After Josh Reaves tied the game for the fourth time with a trey at 46 all, Michigan had a 10-2 run with 3-pointers by Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Jordan Poole and layups by Zavier Simpson and Moritz Wagner.
Carr added to his offensive totals with five more points in 3:30 for a four-point deficit at 2:55 remaining, 58-54. Michigan got its 10th 3-pointer on the night from Duncan Robinson and then had nine points on 10 trips to the free throw line.
Stevens accounted for four more points in the final 30 seconds after Carr’s three with 52 seconds made it a two-possession game.
Penn State, playing in their second-straight contest against a top-25 opponent, was without the services of redshirt sophomore Mike Watkins who played only five minutes after leaving the floor after a blocked shot attempt early in the game.
Prior to the game, the Penn State men’s basketball program honored its seniors, guard Shep Garner and forward Julian Moore. The two Nittany Lions, who have combined now for 261 games played for Penn State, each received a framed jersey and their letterman’s blanket presented by coach Patrick Chambers and his wife Courtney.
Moore, who has played in 18 straight games, started in one of the forward spots on senior night. He had six points and pulled down three rebounds. Stevens finished the game with a share of the game-high in rebounds with eight while junior guard Josh Reaves had eight points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Penn State heads to Nebraska for its final regular-season and Big Ten Conference game on Sunday, February 25. Tipoff is at 5:15 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.