College Basketball: Penn State sloooooows it down
INDIANAPOLIS ó Taylor Battle looked better than anyone else on the ugliest night in Big Ten tournament history.
The record-breaking guard finished with a team-high nine points Friday, but hit a 3-pointer and a free throw in the closing minutes to lead Penn State past No. 13 Wisconsin 36-33 in the lowest-scoring game in the 14 years of the event.
And it wasnít even close.
The previous record low was 85 points, set in 2008 when Wisconsin beat Michigan 51-34. The Badgers have now been involved in four of the tourneyís six lowest-scoring games.
The Badgersí top scorers, Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor, struggled all night, and it took nearly 36 minutes for Wisconsin (23-8) to put a third player in the scoring column. Taylor finished with 16 points and, fittingly, missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds to go. Leuer had 10 points.
The third-seeded Badgers, who lost their second straight for the first time in more than two years, were just 15 of 51 from the field and a dismal 2 of 21 from beyond the arc.
The No. 6 seed Nittany Lions werenít much better offensively, and the final score evoked a game from the 1930s or so, decades before there was a shot clock in college basketball.
Penn State was 13 of 39 from the field and 3 of 12 from 3-point range. But that was good enough to move into Saturdayís semifinals against another upset winner, Michigan State. The Spartans knocked off No. 9 Purdue 74-56.
The Nittany Lions (18-13) opened the game with a statement by making four of their first five shots, scoring 14 straight points and not committing a turnover. And when Tim Frazier drove in for a layup with 9:58 to go, they led 18-2.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, looked more like the team that was blown out Sunday at No. 1 Ohio State than a Big Ten contender. The Badgers missed their first eight shots and many werenít even close.
Taylor threw up an airball on a 3-pointer and Leuerís shots repeatedly bounded high into the air.
It was just downright ugly.
Battle closed it out, scoring on a layup, hitting a 3-pointer to break the school’s career scoring record and making one for two free throws to give the Nittany Lions a 36-33 lead.