NEW YORK — Tony Carr found Josh Reaves for a game-winning layup with 3.1 seconds to play and Penn State may have punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 69-68 victory over second-seeded Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday night.
Carr had 25 points for the second straight night and the seventh-seeded Nittany Lions scored the final five points in beating the 13th-ranked Buckeyes for the third time this season.
Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop puts up a shot against Penn State forward Julian Moore.
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Penn State (21-12) will face the winner of the quarterfinal between third-seeded and No. 8 Purdue and 14th-seeded Rutgers in the semifinals on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Lamar Stevens added 15 points and Shep Garner had 13 and a crucial steal from Big Ten Conference player of the year Keita Bates-Diop with 21 seconds to play.
The Nittany Lions did not call time out after the steal and Carr made a pass from the foul line to a wide-open Reaves underneath.
Ohio State (24-8) had a chance to win after calling a timeout, but a last-second shot by C.J. Jackson was not close.
Bates-Diop carried the Buckeyes in the second half, scoring 17 of his 25 points. However, all he is probably going to remember is losing the ball with 21 seconds to go and his team ahead 68-67.
Kam Williams and Jae’Sean Tate each added 10 points for the Buckeyes, who will wait for their invitation to the NCAA Tournament in a little more than a week.
Ohio State, which was blown out by Penn State 79-56 on Feb. 15, rallied from deficits of eight points early in the second half and six with just under 8 minutes to go, riding Bates-Diop, who seemingly wanted the ball on every position.
A layup by Andre Wesson gave the Buckeyes a 64-62 lead with3:59 to play and Bates-Diop hit a jumper with 2:37 left to expand the lead to four points.
A dunk by Julian Moore off a feed from Carr cut the margin to 66-64 with 2:09 to play but Bares-Diop hit a layup with 1:49 left to make it 68-64. It would be the last points for Ohio State.
Carr made one of two free throws with 1:33 to go and Reaves, who finished with nine points on 2-of-12 shooting, cut the lead to 68-67 with two free throws with 47 seconds to play after Bates-Diop missed a 3-pointer.
Ohio State called a timeout, but Garner’s steal near the foul line set the stage for another Penn State win.
Penn State: Has not been to the NCAAs since 2011, but with three wins over a ranked Ohio State it might be enough.
Ohio State: Better hope it doesn’t play Penn State in the NCAA Tournament.
Penn State: faces the winner of the quarterfinal between third-seeded and No. 8 Purdue and 14th-seeded Rutgers.
Ohio State: Waits for the NCAA to call a week from Sunday.
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