Nittany Lions deal possibly fatal blow to Cats' tourney hopes

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.