PISCATAWAY, NJ (AP) — Senior Ron Harper Jr. scored 15 points and hit a 1:41 free throw to play as Rutgers beat Penn State 59-58 after scoring a 15 point in the second half on Sunday – leadership had gambled away.
Caleb McConnell added two more free throws with 31.4 seconds left and Geo Baker made one to give the Scarlet Knights (18-12, 12-8 Big Ten) a 59-55 lead with 17 seconds left.
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Sam Sessoms closed the lead at 59-58 with a 3-pointer with 11 seconds to play. He had a chance to win the game after Paul Mulcahy threw away an inbound pass next to the Penn State bench with four seconds left.
Sessoms took a cross-court pass and his very competitive 3-pointer to the buzzer came up short.
The Nittany Lions had a chance to level the game by 58 points with 20 seconds remaining, but Greg Lee also missed a 3-pointer.
Cliff Omoruyi and Dean Reiber each added nine points for Rutgers, who didn’t score in the final with 5:35.
John Harrar had 15 points and 17 rebounds for Penn State (12-16, 7-13), which lost its third straight game. It was his 11th double-double of the season. Seth Lundy added 17 points and Sessoms finished with 13. The Nittany Lions were 6 of 24 from afar.
Rutgers led twice in the second half by 15 points, the last time at 46-31 with 12:39 before the end of regulation.
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At this point, it seemed like the Scarlet Knights were one step closer to a second straight NCAA tournament berth. They almost screwed up, and the way the game ended didn’t help their chances of getting a big spot. Rutgers was 9 of 17 from the free throw line.
Omoruyi committed two fouls in the first 61 seconds and it didn’t hurt the Scarlet Knights. Reiber came off the bench and quickly hit a 3-pointer and converted an ally-oop dunk that sparked an 18-7 run. Reiber finished the half with all nine points as the Scarlet Knights built a 29-21 lead.
The Scarlet Knights used an 11-0 run that bridged the end of the first half and the start of the second to build a 36-21 lead.
Penn State: Will be No. 11 in the Big Ten tournament and will have an opening round game.
Rutgers: The 12 conference wins were the most in the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights are seeded somewhere between Nos. 4 and 6 depending on Sunday’s other results.
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https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/03/06/penn-state-nearly-comes-back-against-rutgers/ Penn State almost finishes big comeback vs. Rutgers, failure 59-58 – CBS Pittsburgh