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PSU finally earns Big Ten win

EVANSTON, Ill. — Lamar Stevens figured Penn State was due for a game like this.

The Nittany Lions stopped their longest losing streak in six years, picked up their first Big Ten victory and let out one big sigh of relief.

Stevens scored 18 points and Penn State beat Northwestern 59-52 to snap an eight-game slide on Monday night.

“I think it just shows that we can win in this league, for the young guys,” Stevens said. “For veterans, just to get that first one, it’s huge for us and huge for our momentum.”

The Nittany Lions (8-14, 1-10) stopped their longest skid since a 14-game streak during the 2012-13 season. They made just enough stops down the stretch to send the Wildcats (12-10, 3-8) to their third straight loss.

Stevens had seven rebounds and six assists. Rasir Bolton added 14 points, though he shot just 3 of 14. The Nittany Lions won despite struggling from the floor and the foul line.

They made just one field goal over the final 61/2 minutes. They hit 3 of 15 3-pointers in the game and were 16 of 26 on free throws.

That didn’t stop them from improving to 3-10 in games decided by single digits and — finally — pulling out a victory in conference play.

“When you put in the hard work and you put in the film and the extra shots, it’s gonna pay off,” coach Patrick Chambers said. “And they finally got the result that they wanted. We wouldn’t be battling these other Big Ten teams in one-possession games if they were thinking otherwise. … They are focused on getting better. Finally, to see it come to fruition was great for these guys.”

Dererk Pardon led Northwestern with 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Vic Law had 10 points and 10 rebounds. But he committed six turnovers and shot 3 of 17 after missing 6 of 8 in a five-point effort against Maryland last week.

“Is it very disappointing? Yes,” coach Chris Collins said. “Am I very disappointed now? Yes. But I get disappointed after every loss because I feel like we’ve prepared to try to win every game.”

PENN ST. (8-14): Watkins 4-9 0-0 8, Stevens 5-11 8-10 18, Wheeler 3-5 1-4 7, Reaves 1-5 0-0 2, Dread 1-5 0-0 2, Buttrick 0-0 0-0 0, Harrar 1-1 0-0 2, Jones 1-2 0-0 3, Bolton 3-14 6-8 14, McCloskey 1-1 1-4 3. Totals 20-53 16-26 59.

NORTHWESTERN (12-10): Falzon 0-3 0-0 0, Law 3-17 2-3 10, Pardon 8-14 2-3 18, Gaines 3-6 1-1 7, Taylor 2-5 0-0 5, Turner 2-7 0-0 6, Kopp 2-9 0-0 6, Benson 0-1 0-0 0, Greer 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-63 5-7 52.

Halftime–Penn St. 32-30. 3-Point Goals–Penn St. 3-15 (Bolton 2-5, Jones 1-2, Stevens 0-1, Wheeler 0-2, Reaves 0-2, Dread 0-3), Northwestern 7-22 (Turner 2-3, Kopp 2-4, Law 2-8, Taylor 1-2, Greer 0-1, Pardon 0-1, Falzon 0-3). Fouled Out–Gaines. Rebounds–Penn St. 35 (Stevens 7), Northwestern 33 (Law 10). Assists–Penn St. 12 (Stevens 6), Northwestern 13 (Law 6). Total Fouls–Penn St. 15, Northwestern 21. Technicals–Stevens, Gaines. A–6,541 (8,117).

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