Tony Carr didn’t let a poor shooting performance deter him from taking over when Penn State needed him most Friday night against Nebraska.
He didn’t shy away from firing and hitting big shot after big shot in overtime to lead the Nittany Lions to a 76-74 win at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Penn State point guard capped his brilliant overtime — he accounted for nine of his team’s 11 points in the extra period — with the game-winning shot with 2.7 seconds remaining.
“My teammates and my coaches put that trust in me to take shots like that,” Carr said. “I’m going to keep taking ’em as the season goes on.”
It’s why Carr kept attacking during overtime after going 2-for-17 from the field during regulation. He didn’t allow the missed shots to get him, and he finished with 17 points and eight assists for the Nittany Lions (13-6, 3-3). In overtime, the point guard finally found success attacking the 1-3-1 zone Nebraska used to rally late in the second half and force overtime.
And his shots started to fall — beginning with a 3-pointer to tie the game 68-68 with 3:17 left in overtime. He later knocked down a pull-up jump shot and hit a pair of free throws before he let the game-winning shot fly.
With the game tied 74-74 after Nebraska’s Anton Gill drilled a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left, Carr brought down the ball down the floor and attacked the 1-3-1 zone. Carr received a screen on the perimeter before dribbling toward the left elbow, where he created enough space to fire.
He swished the jumper with 2.7 seconds left with the fans on their feet inside the Bryce Jordan Center.
“It felt great,” Carr said. “My last game-winner didn’t go. This one did.”
In early December, Carr missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds of a one-point loss to Wisconsin. Penn State coach Patrick Chambers expressed his trust in his point guard after that disappointing finish, and the same trust proved to be crucial to Carr’s performance Friday night.
His teammates and coaches encouraged him throughout the game.
“When you’re telling a kid that, he tends not to think about what’s happening as a negative,” Chambers said. “He tends to think, ‘All right, these guys really support me. I’m going to go get the next one.’ He hits a big 3, he hits a couple floaters. It’s big time.”
It was quite a turnaround for Carr after his forgettable shooting effort in regulation.
In the first three minutes against Nebraska, Carr missed two layups. The struggles at the rim continued for Carr — both of his field goals during regulation were 3-pointers.
“We started laughing actually in the middle of the game, like this is crazy — I can’t make a layup right now,” Chambers said.
But by the end of the night, Carr stood along the sideline with both arms raised in triumph after the final buzzer. Lamar Stevens wrapped him in a hug, and more teammates surrounded him as they made their way toward the handshake line.
“We have the ultimate confidence in ourselves to keep getting wins, so hopefully we just keep on this pace that we’re at right now,” Carr said.