Penn State Basketball

Penn State’s rally falls short in loss to Colorado

Shep Garner kept Penn State in the game until the final buzzer Tuesday night.

Garner scored 22 of the Nittany Lions’ final 29 points, going 6 for 9 from the field and 7 for 7 during that stretch. He scored nine of those points to help Penn State turn a late 10-point deficit into a one-possession game in the closing seconds.

But the Nittany Lions’ comeback ran out of time in a 71-70 loss to Colorado in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic at Orleans Arena.

Garner finished a layup with 15 seconds left to bring Penn State within two points and drilled a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game with two seconds left. Garner finished with 26 points on 7 for 20 shooting, Payton Banks added 14 points and Josh Reaves finished with 10 for the Nittany Lions (8-4), who face Kent State at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Josh Scott finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for Colorado.

The Golden Flashes (7-3) fell to No. 18 Southern Methodist 90-74 in the first game Tuesday night. SMU and Colorado play at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The Buffaloes (11-1) and Nittany Lions both started slow Tuesday and went into halftime tied 25-25.

They both started to heat up in the final 10 minutes, with Garner leading the way for the Nittany Lions and Josh Fortune highlighting a crucial run by Colorado.

Garner completed a three-point play to pull Penn State within 47-46 with 8:29 left. Fortune answered with a 3-pointer, the first of six straight possessions Colorado scored. Fortune knocked down three 3-pointers during the hot streak. Dominique Collier and Tre’Shaun Fletcher also hit 3s.

Fletcher’s 3-pointer capped the run and gave Colorado a 64-53 lead with four minutes remaining.

Colorado maintained a 10-point lead with less than three minutes to go and led by nine with less than two minutes. Banks and Reaves scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the deficit to five points with just more than one minute remaining.

A pair of free throws by Garner brought Penn State within 68-65 with 26 seconds to play Garner’s layup made it 69-67, but Colorado’s George King responded with two free throws to give his team a four-point lead with eight seconds left.