The Penn State men’s basketball team punched its ticket to the NIT semifinals Tuesday night.
The No. 4-seed Nittany Lions beat No. 2-seed Marquette 85-80 to earn a trip to Madison Square Garden, where they will face Mississippi State on Tuesday, March 27. The Bulldogs defeated Louisville 79-56 later Tuesday night.
Lamar Stevens tied a career-high with 30 points to lead Penn State (24-13) at the game in Milwaukee, while Tony Carr finished with 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Shep Garner finished with 19 points. Stevens, Carr and Garner combined to shoot 58.3 percent from the field.
Andrew Rowsey paced Marquette with 29 points.
The Nittany Lions led 67-53 with 7:14 left in the fourth quarter, and held off a late rally by Marquette. After the Golden Eagles pulled within 72-68 with 2:39 left, Penn State regained control and took a 78-70 lead into the final minute.
Carr knocked down a pair of free throws to push his team ahead 85-80 with five seconds left.
Player of the game: Penn State forward Lamar Stevens: Stevens finished 14 for 22 from the field on his way to his second 30-point game this season. He started hot, going 7 for 10 from the field to score 16 points in the first half. In the fourth quarter, when Marquette rallied to within 72-68, Stevens scored Penn State’s next six points to give his team a 78-70 lead.
Bostick suspended: Penn State’s Nazeer Bostick was suspended for the second straight game Tuesday night.
Bostick, whose suspension was announced before the game against Marquette, was charged with possession of marijuana last week.
He is averaging 4.9 points in 34 games this season
Record-setting season: Garner set the single-season Penn State record for 3-pointers, surpassing Joe Crispin’s mark of 108 in 2001.
Garner now has 112 3-pointers this season after going 5 for 8 from beyond the arc against Marquette. Garner, Crispin and Talor Battle are the only Nittany Lions to hit more than 100 3-pointers in a season.
Garner is also closing in on the program’s career record for threes. With 328 3-pointers, he ranks second all-time behind Pete Lisicky, who finished his career with 332.