EVANSTON, Ill. -- David Jackson and Chris Babb scored 20 points each as Penn State snapped a 12-game losing streak with an 81-70 victory over Northwestern on Wednesday night, dealing perhaps a fatal blow to the Wildcats' NCAA tournament chances.
Aiming for the first tournament bid in school history, Northwestern (17-9, 6-8 Big Ten) has sandwiched losses to league doormats Iowa and Penn State around an overtime victory over mediocre Minnesota.
Penn State (9-16, 1-12) finally won in conference play despite getting only 10 points from Talor Battle. The Big Ten's leading scorer came in averaging 20.3 and had scored at a 23.5-point clip the last eight games.
The Nittany Lions had lost five conference games by six points or fewer partly because they were the Big Ten's worst free-throw shooting team at 64.3 percent. But they went 20 for 23 from the line Wednesday -- and shot 56 percent from the floor.
There's nothing to suggest the Jayhawks won't end up atop the Big 12 for a 13th season in a row. But what about a return to the Final Four?
Colorado State graduate transfer John Gillon has chosen Syracuse, giving the Orange a potential starter at point guard entering the 2016-17 season.
DeSean Murray, who averaged 20.2 points as a sophomore at Presbyterian, will transfer to Auburn to play for coach Bruce Pearl.