Penn State hosts Temple in NIT Tournament
UNIVERSITY PARK — The Penn State men’s basketball team has been selected for its 21st postseason appearance, accepting an invitation to play in the 81st National Invitation Tournament. The Nittany Lions (21-13) will host in-state foe Temple (17-15) Wednesday, March 14 at 8 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State is a No. 4 seed in the 32-team tournament and will welcome the fifth-seeded Owls. The teams are meeting for the first time since Temple won at the buzzer in a 2011 NCAA Tournament first round game. The teams are meeting for the 93rd time overall and the first time in State College since the 2008-09 season.
“Playing in the postseason provides us with an incredible opportunity for our team to continue to develop and get better,” said Penn State coach Patrick Chambers, who has directed the Nittany Lions to 21 victories in 2017-18, the third-highest win total in program history. “I’m proud of what our team has accomplished this season. We’ve made incredible strides and a lot of memories and there’s more basketball to be played.”
The Nittany Lions are making their first postseason appearance since 2013-14 and first NIT appearance since 2009, when Penn State won the NIT crown.
Penn State finished 9-9 in the Big Ten Conference and advanced to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals for its best season since the 2010-11 campaign as it enters the NIT. The Nittany Lions have just two seniors, Shep Garner and Julian Moore, on their 2017-18 roster.
The Nittany Lions own a 22-9 all-time mark in their 10 previous NIT appearances and are 6-4 in NIT first round games.
The NIT first-round contest will air on ESPNU, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com. The NIT second-round will feature the winner of the Penn State-Temple game against the winner of Tuesday’s Notre Dame-Hampton contest, with second round date, location and time to be announced.
Among some of the other 2018 NIT participants are: Boston College, LSU, Louisville, Marquette, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Saint Mary’s, Southern California, Stanford, Utah, and Washington.
Penn State advanced to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals in Madison Square Garden, before being eliminated by eighth-ranked Purdue, 78-70. Sophomore guard Tony Carr was selected first-team All-Big Ten and USBWA All-District and to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team. Junior guard Josh Reaves and sophomore forward Mike Watkins were named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team and Watkins and sophomore forward Lamar Stevens were selected honorable-mention All-Big Ten.
Led by Coach Fran Dunphy, Temple was 8-10 in the American Athletic Conference and the No. 7 in the AAC Tournament. The Owls defeated Tulane and lost to No. 2 seed Wichita State in the AAC quarterfinals.
Ticket information for Wednesday’s NIT first round game has been distributed to season ticket holders and will be posted on GoPSUsports.com and on Penn State Athletics’ social media channels. Public tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.com.
For information or to make a 2018-19 Penn State men’s basketball season ticket deposit, fans should go to nittanylionfeedback.com/se/3FF63F244373D7BF or call 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.