Penn State and Ohio State both made runs and took control at different points.
The Nittany Lions used a 10-point run to take a seven-point lead and rode that momentum to a 10-point advantage late in the first half. The Buckeyes pulled closer by halftime and started strong out of the break, going on a 14-point run to seize control.
After No. 10 seed Penn State came back to take a one-point lead with more than four minutes to go, seventh-seeded Ohio State quickly responded and took the lead for good en route to a 79-75 win in the second round of the Big Ten tournament Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Ohio State (20-12) advances to take on No. 2 seed Michigan State in the quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Penn State’s Shep Garner scored a game-high 25 points, Donovon Jack added 18 and Brandon Taylor finished with 14.
Marc Loving led the Buckeyes with 24 points, and JaQuan Lyle had 22. Loving and Lyle combined to score Ohio State’s final 13 points as the Buckeyes pulled away late.
“I was trying to explain to these guys this week that if you hang onto something in this tournament, you’re going home,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “You’ve got to really play forward. And fortunately for us, I thought probably the last 24 minutes with a few blips, they did a pretty decent job of that.”
Ohio State finished 26 for 39 from the foul line.
“We lost our aggressiveness because we were in foul trouble most of the day. I mean 39 free throws says it all,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “We’ve got to get better, we’ve got to get bigger, we’ve got to get stronger.”
The Nittany Lions (16-16) knocked down seven of their first 11 3-point attempts to take the lead in the first half. Jack and Taylor each hit 3-pointers during a 10-0 Penn State run that gave the Nittany Lions a 25-18 lead.
Penn State took a 35-25 lead on a 3-pointer by Jack with 4:18 left in the first half. Ohio State responded with a 9-0 run, and the Nittany Lions went into the break with a 37-34 lead.
Ohio State went on a 14-0 run to go ahead 48-39 with 16:33 left.
But the Nittany Lions never trailed by double digits and climbed back into the game. A pair of free throws by Garner gave Penn State a 67-66 lead with 4:12 left.
The Buckeyes tied it and then took the lead on free throws by Loving and held off the Nittany Lions in the final three minutes.