NEW YORK — Utah’s impressive postseason run came to a disappointing end Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in the NIT championship game. Penn State’s Lamar Stevens scored 28 points, Tony Carr added 15 points and 14 assists and the Nittany Lions handily defeated the Utes 82-66 for the title.
Turning point: After the Utes cut the Nittany Lions' five-point halftime lead to just two points in the opening minutes of the third quarter, Penn State went on an 11-2 run, taking a double-digit lead in the process. .The Nittany Lions would never surrender that lead and it grew to as large as 20 points.
The hero: Stevens was almost perfect for Penn State, hitting 11 of 15 shots from the field, including 4 of 5 3-point attempts, for a game-high 28 points.
Sedrick Barefield led the Utes with 22 points, including a game-best six 3-pointers.
• Penn State couldn’t miss, led by Stevens and Josh Reaves, who combined to finish 19-28 from the field. The Nittany Lions shot 55.2 percent on the game, 40.9 percent from behind the arc and made 9 of 11 free-throw attempts.
• The Nittany Lions' attack was propelled by the play of Carr, who out-assisted the entire Utah team, 14 to 13. Penn State finished with 22 assists.
• Thanks in part to a frightening injury to senior David Collette, Utah was defeated on the boards as well, 34 to 27.
Utes almanac: 23-12, Lost 1