EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Miller Kopp scored 21 points, and struggling Northwestern beat No. 20 Penn State 80-69 on Saturday.
Penn State (21-10, 11-9) came in looking to head into the Big Ten Tournament on a winning note, only to stumble against one of the worst teams in the conference and lose for the fifth time in six games. Northwestern (8-22, 3-17) beat a ranked team for the first time since knocking off No. 20 Michigan on Feb. 6, 2018.
The Wildcats went on a 17-2 run down the stretch to bump their lead to 16 and came away with the win after losing 13 of 14. They moved a half-game ahead of last-place Nebraska.
Kopp made five 3-pointers. Boo Buie scored 13 points, and Northwestern regrouped after blowing an early 14-point lead.
Lamar Stevens continued to close in on Penn State’s all-time scoring record, finishing with 18 points. That gave him 2,207 in four seasons, six shy of the mark set by Talor Battle from 2007-11.
Myles Dread scored 14, nailing four 3s. But the Nittany Lions got knocked off again after losing to Iowa and Michigan State.
Northwestern led 55-54 midway through the second half when Buie converted a three-point play to start the decisive run. Kopp hit two 3-pointers during that stretch, including one from the corner that drew loud cheers from the crowd. Buie then hit one of his own to make it 72-56 with five minutes remaining.
Penn State missed its first eight shots and trailed by as many as 14 in the first half before turning things around.
The Nittany Lions tied it at 32 with 1:31 remaining on Stevens’ hook shot. Two free throws by John Harrar with just under a minute left gave them their first lead of the game, before Northwestern’s Ryan Young hit two of his own with 15 seconds remaining.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions head into the conference tournament reeling after losing to a team that was tied for last in the Big Ten.
Northwestern: The Wildcats haven’t had much to celebrate in the three years since their lone NCAA Tournament appearance.
Penn State: Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.
Northwestern: Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.