Saturday's Big Ten Roundup: Williams leads No. 3 Purdue past Penn State 74-67
University Park, Pa. — Trevion Williams, coming off the bench for the first time in five games, scored 21 points including the final go-ahead basket, and No. 3 Purdue held off Penn State 74-67 on Saturday.
The 6-foot-11 Williams was 9-of-12 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds despite sitting out over eight minutes of the second half after picking up his third foul.
“When you come in and out it’s really tough but, you know from a leadership standpoint, you have to understand that … whoever comes in is going to get the job done. And I think that’s how we practice, so any game is not a surprise,” Williams said.
When he did return with eight minutes remaining he scored 10 points including a bucket that restored the Boilermakers' lead after Greg Lee's 3-pointer had given Penn State its first edge since late in the first half.
Williams added a three-point play with a minute left for a five-point lead and the Nittany Lions missed a pair of 3-pointers.
“Anytime you can win close games that helps you as a coach,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “You don’t want to be in them but anytime you can win those games I think it helps with your confidence. But we just have to keep getting better in practice every day. … We just got to do a better job of playing on edge every day.”
Penn State, which was only 1 of 5 from the arc in the first half and missed its first four 3-point attempts in the second, finally found its range hitting seven 3s in the final 12 minutes with the last being Lee's go-ahead shot.
“When you prepare the right way, when you play and you leave everything out there on the court, you can feel okay with the results,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “And I feel OK with the results. ... We were a good version of ourselves and we left everything on the court."
Mason Gillis added 14 points, Sasha Stefanovic 13 and Jaden Ivey 12 for Purdue (13-2, 2-2 Big Ten).
Jalen Pickett scored 21 points with 10 assists for Penn State (7-6, 2-3). Lee added 11 points and Seth Lundy and John Harrar 10 each.
Leading by five at halftime, Purdue built a 13-point lead after Stefanovic's 3-pointer with 12 minutes to go.
Penn State's largest lead was seven points, coming after a 9-0 run midway through the first half. Purdue responded with its own 9-0 run and the rest of the half remained tight with the Boilermakers leading 35-30 at halftime.
The teams’ statistical performances were evenly matched though Purdue’s had an advantage in points off turnovers (16-9) and points in the paint (36-28). It has won 12 of the last 13 meetings with Penn State.
More Big Ten Results
►Rutgers 93, Nebraska 65: Ron Harper Jr. scored 29 points and led five players in double-figure scoring as Rutgers routed Nebraska 93-65 for its fourth straight win Saturday.
The 93 points are the most Rutgers has ever scored in regulation in a Big Ten game.
Harper, who scored 20 points in a win over Michigan on Tuesday and entered the game averaging 15.3 points per game, hit 3 of 6 from behind the arc and was 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.
Aundre Hyatt and Dean Reiber each hit 3-pointers to put Rutgers in front for good midway through the first half. Reiber took a feed from Harper in the paint and dunked with a second left to give the Scarlet Knights a 44-31 advantage at intermission after shooting just under 52 percent through the first 20 minutes.
Hyatt hit both of his 3-point attempts, scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench for Rutgers (9-5, 3-1 Big 10). Clifford Omoruyi, Paul Mulcahy and Reiber each added 10 points and Mulcahy contributed team highs in rebounds (seven) and assists (eight). Rutgers was 35 of 60 from the field (58.3%), knocking down 10 of 18 from deep, and converted 13 of 14 from the line.
Bryce McGowens scored 17 points to lead Nebraska (6-10, 0-5). Derrick Walker added 12 points and C.J. Wilcher chipped in 11 points off the bench. The Cornhuskers were outrebounded 37-21. Nebraska now has lost nine of its last 10 games and dropped its fifth straight to open conference play.