NEW YORK (AP) – Carsen Edwards scored 27 points and No. 8 Purdue pulled away from Penn State in the second half of a 78-70 victory Saturday that put the Boilermakers in the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the second time in three seasons.
Third-seeded Purdue (28-5) faces No. 5 Michigan, which will try to repeat as tournament champs on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Purdue frustrated conference scoring leader Tony Carr, holding him to 4-of-18 shooting and 12 points. Shep Garner led the Nittany Lions (21-12) with 33 points.
The Boilermakers will be making their third appearance in the Big Ten championship since the tournament started in 1998. Their one championship came in 2009.
Against Penn State, Purdue used a 12-2 run the middle of the second half to build a 15-point lead. Edwards led the way, spinning through the lane for a driving layup and making a 3 from up top that made the score 59-44 with 9:15 left.
Edwards made back-to-back 3s to make it 74-56 with 3:41 left and Purdue was on its way to play for a title. Edwards was 6 for 9 from 3 and Isaac Haas added 17 points and seven rebounds.
With Carr struggling, Penn State could not keep up. The sophomore faced an array of defenders, including Vincent Edwards, Nojel Eastern and P.J. Thompson. He picked up a third foul in the second half, a push off call that caused Penn State coach Pat Chambers to draw a technical.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions had a chance to work their way into the conversation for an NCAA at-large bid by beating Purdue, but now Penn State seems like a long shot at best.
Purdue: The Boilermakers hit a rough patch losing three straight close games in early February to Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin, but an argument can be made that they have been the Big Ten’s most consistent team this season. With four senior starters, Purdue does most everything well, except rebound. A night after giving up 17 offensive boards to Rutgers, the Boilermakers allowed 16 rebounds to Penn State.
Garner went 4 for 5 from 3-point range, including a four-point play, to carry Penn State in the first half. The Nittany Lions led much of the way, but Edwards made a 3 for Purdue with 2 seconds left in the half to send the Boilermakers to the break ahead 33-31.
Penn State: An NIT bid is likely coming the Nittany Lions way, though the big question beyond March is whether Carr returns for another season or heads to the NBA draft.
Purdue: The Boilermakers swept the Wolverines in two games decided by a combined five points.
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