Gar­ner sparks Penn St. by Ge­or­gia Tech

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Travis John­son

STATE COL­LEGE >> Shep Gar­ner’s con­fi­dent if he’s not mak­ing shots, one of his team­mates will.

It’s why Penn State’s for­ward had no qualms — de­spite hav­ing the hot hand him­self in the Nit­tany Li­ons’ 67-60 win over Ge­or­gia Tech on Tues­day — swing­ing the ball to Josh Reaves, who’s still work­ing off some rust af­ter a pre­sea­son leg in­jury forced him to miss the first five games.

Reaves made good on Gar­ner’s pass with Ge­or­gia Tech threat­en­ing. He pulled up on his sore left leg and sank his first 3-pointer of the sea­son along with any hopes the Yel­low Jack­ets had for a come­back.

“He picked a huge spot in the game to get his first 3,” Gar­ner said. “We’re proud of him. My team­mates put the ul­ti­mate con­fi­dence in me and I put the ul­ti­mate con­fi­dence in my team­mates.”

Gar­ner didn’t let them down. He scored 17 points and Mike Watkins added 12 and grabbed 12 re­bounds to help se­cure the win in the ACC/Big Ten Chal­lenge game. Penn State (5-3) led for 20:57, in­clud­ing most of the sec­ond half, and closed out the game on a 10-5 run keyed by Reaves’ shot.

It was one of just four 3-point­ers that landed for the Nit­tany Li­ons, who at­tempted 15.

“We didn’t make shots, but we found a way” Penn State coach Pa­trick Cham­bers said. “And that’s a sign of a team that’s ma­tur­ing, grow­ing up.”

Quin­ton Stephens led Ge­or­gia Tech (4-2) with 13 points and 11 re­bounds while Ben Lam­mers had 12 points and 11 re­bounds. Josh Oko­gie added 13 points for the Yel­low Jack­ets.

The teams spent more than six min­utes tied and swapped the lead seven times in the first half be­fore Penn State took con­trol with a 7-0 run.

Oko­gie gave Ge­or­gia Tech its last lead on the first shot of the sec­ond half. His 3-pointer put the Yel­low Jack­ets up 31-30 be­fore Penn State jumped back out front. Oko­gie pulled his squad into a tie with an­other 3 to make it 39-39 with 13 min­utes re­main­ing.

“We’re a team that our mar­gin of er­ror is none, so we have to play nearly perfect,” Ge­or­gia Tech coach Josh Past­ner said. “We had some break­downs here and there and Penn State cap­i­tal­ized.”

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