EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Lamar Stevens scored 18 points and Penn State beat Northwestern 59-52 to snap an eight-game losing streak on Monday night.
The Nittany Lions (8-14, 1-10) picked up their first Big Ten win and 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, and the Nittany Lions won despite struggling from the floor and the foul line.
They made just one field goal over the final five minutes. They hit 3 of 15 3-pointers in the game and were 16 of 26 on free throws.
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.
Seeking their first win since a lopsided victory over UMBC on Dec. 29, the Nittany Lions led 45-37 midway through the second half after six-point spurt.
Pardon woke up the crowd when he soared in for tip-in dunk off a miss by A.J. Turner before Law nailed a 3 to make it a three-point game. Miller Kopp cut it to 47-45 when he connected from beyond the arc with just over seven minutes remaining.
But in one ugly stretch, the Wildcats’ Law shot a long airball on a 3, Kopp shot another one on a runner and Turner lost the ball going for a fast-break layup after a steal. Law also missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with Penn State leading 53-47 with 4:16 remaining. He also had a layup blocked by Stevens with just under three minutes left and the Nittany Lions leading by four.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions will take the win despite their shooting struggles.
Northwestern: The Wildcats’ postseason hopes took a big hit with a loss to the conference’s last-place team.
Purdue: The Nittany Lions will try to make it back-to-back wins when they visit Ohio State on Thursday.
Northwestern: The Wildcats will try to get back to winning when they visit Iowa on Sunday. Northwestern lost to the Hawkeyes 73-63 on Jan. 9.
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