CHICAGO – D.J. Newbill scored 26 points, Shep Garner added 19 and Penn State hung on to beat Nebraska 68-65 Wednesday in the Big Ten tournament opener.
The 13th-seeded Nittany Lions (17-15) advanced in the tournament for the first time since a run to the final in 2011, despite letting a 16-point lead in the second half dwindle to one.
They came away with their second straight win after dropping six in a row when Shavon Shields missed a three-pointer at the buzzer for 12th-seeded Nebraska (13-18).
"We're disappointed in how we finished in Big Ten play," Newbill said. "We've got another opportunity to come out here and prove to ourselves and prove to everybody we're better than what we showed."
Penn State blocked a tournament-record 16 shots.
The loss was the ninth straight for Nebraska, which had high hopes for this season after making the NCAA tournament last year.
"As excited as I was last year is as disappointed as I am this year," coach Tim Miles said. "And I talked a lot of trash on the golf course last year so I was pretty pumped up."