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 6½ 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. Now, the message is we just have to stick together. We have no other choice.”
No. 16 Louisville 72, (at) No. 11 Virginia Tech 11: Ryan McMahon scored 12 points in a span of 83 seconds in the second half and Louisville used a 14-3 run to pull away and beat Virginia Tech.
It is the Cardinals’ 15th consecutive victory against the Hokies.
McMahon had scored just three points when he made three free throws with 11:53 to play. He then added three 3-pointers, the last with 10:30 left after a 3 by Ty Outlaw for the Hokies, to bolster the Cardinals (17-6, 8-2 Atlantic Coast Conference).
McMahon finished with 17 points, and Jordan Nwora and Dwayne Sutton each scored 15 for the Cardinals.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored 21 points and Nickeil Alexander-Walker 17 for the Hokies (18-4, 7-3), who lost for the first time in 12 home games. Virginia Tech has not beaten its old Metro Conference rival since Feb. 13, 1991.
No. 17 Iowa State 75, (at) Oklahoma 74: Lindell Wigginton scored 17 points to help lead Iowa State to a victory over Oklahoma.
Marial Shayok added 16 points, 10 in the final eight minutes, including a crucial off-balance 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 1:19 remaining, for Iowa State (18-5, 7-3 Big 12). Shayok, who shot just 2-of-7 for six points through the first 32-plus minutes, also had eight rebounds and five assists as the Cyclones won their fourth straight.
Kristian Doolittle had 19 points and nine rebounds, while Brady Manek scored 16 for Oklahoma (15-8, 3-7), which had a very short turnaround after a game at West Virginia on Saturday. The Sooners have lost three in a row.
(At) No. 18 Texas Tech 81, West Virginia 50: Brandone Francis scored a season-high 16 points and Texas Tech overwhelmed cold-shooting West Virginia.
The Red Raiders (18-5, 6-4 Big 12), who lost four of their previous five Big 12 games, took control with a 13-0 run midway through the first half. That was part of a longer stretch during which the Mountaineers missed 11 consecutive shots during a span of more than 15 minutes.
West Virginia (10-13, 2-8) finished with only nine made field goals, the fewest ever for a Big 12 team and matching North Carolina State’s total in a 47-24 loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday for the fewest by any team in a game this season. The Mountaineers were 9-of-39 (23 percent) shooting overall, and made 29 free throws.
Freshman Derek Culver had 15 free throws among his 23 points for WVU.