Tony Carr scored 21 points, Shep Garner added 18 while breaking a school record for career 3-pointers and Penn State routed Mississippi State 75-60 in the National Invitational Tournament semifinals Tuesday night.
The fourth-seeded Nittany Lions (25-13) will play No. 2 seed Utah for the championship Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
After the score was tied 9-all, Penn State ended the first quarter on a 9-2 run. From there, the Nittany Lions opened the second with a 19-0 spurt capped by Garner's 3 off an assist from Carr to make it 37-11, AP says.
Penn State was up 42-23 at halftime and led by as many as 27, AP reports.
Mississippi State (25-12) wasn't able to get within 20 until there was 7:56 left in the game. Abdul Ado's dunk made it 65-47, but that was the closest the Bulldogs got before the waning moments, AP reports.
Mississippi State was led by Tyson Carter's 19 points off the bench. Ado had 13 points and seven rebounds, the wire news agency says.
Shep Garner's mom, a jazz singer, was going crazy in the stands. She's been to over 100 of her son's games. Shep says he is in the gym at least 300 days a year at Penn State. So, it's a Shep Garner family/Penn State thing. The jazz singer even sang "The National Anthem" last night.
Even John Kasich, Ohio's Governor, was proud as a peacock. "I love Shep and his family," Kasich told The Spoof. "They join me and my family after every game here in Columbus, Ohio. I fly them in on my old Army helicopter. It's a beauty. That boneheaded friend, or fiend, of mine, one Samuel Vargo, got the State of Ohio a good deal on an Apache wing tornado at some Army surplus store he frequents. Vargo comes from a military family, don't you know. He was in Army ROTC back in the day, from 1977-79 at the University of Akron. They say his commanding officers liked Vargo but they didn't like his long hair and his rock music."
Sam Vargo was unavailable for comment. He is too busy writing this story on Penn State.
Patrick Brian Chambers, on the other hand, had a lot to say about the win and when Vargo flew his own Army helicopter to NYC's Mad Garden on Tuesday night, he broke in the back door and interviewed the miracle-working coach.
"I believe in team. And family. And Pennsylvania. Why are you wearing that Army helmet?" Chambers said to Vargo.