NEW YORK -- Penn State's road to a spot in the Big Ten semifinals was a bumpy one. After stalling out at least once on its two-mile trip from the team's hotel to Madison Square Garden, the team bus was in a minor accident Friday afternoon with another vehicle.
Penn State coach Pat Chambers said he and his team took the short delay in getting to the arena in stride. The No. 7-seed Nittany Lions arrived behind schedule, but managed to beat No. 2-seed Ohio State 69-68 to keep their hopes of an NCAA tournament berth alive.
"Unbelievable," Chambers said when asked about the accident after the win. "Little fender bender. We're 1-0 with fender benders. We're in New York. What do you expect?"
Nittany Lions senior Shep Garner said because of the delay he didn't get on the court to start warming up until less than an hour before tipoff against the Buckeyes. Garner, who finished with 13 points and a steal that set up his team's last-second, winning shot, said the combination of engine troubles, the fender bender and traffic had Penn State a bit antsy.
"It just kept cutting off," he said. "I don't know what it was exactly. I was like, 'C'mon, man. We've got a game to get to.'"
The driver of the other vehicle hit the team bus twice and followed it to the gates of Madison Square Garden to confront the bus driver, according to a report from Andy Katz on the Big Ten Network. The driver, Katz said, challenged the bus driver once they arrived at the arena.
"This dude out of nowhere smashed into us twice," Chambers told the Big Ten Network before Friday's game. "I've never seen anything like it. Then he just chased us down. Hilarious. You know what, it's a memory."
Penn State (22-12) will have a chance to make more memories at the Garden on Saturday if it can win again and make an unexpected trip to the tournament championship game.
Garner said following the game, amid hopes of a potential championship game run or a spot in the NCAA tournament, that he was trying to stay focused on the next challenge at hand, which on Friday night was a safe and uneventful trip back to the hotel.