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.