And that's why the stage for Thursday night's game is important in so many ways for this program. Watkins leads in rebounds with 9.5 while Carr tops in assists with 4.8 per game.
After Watkins' exit, however, Isaac Haas was limited in the post as several Penn State (19-10, 9-7) reserve big men succeeded in denying him the ball without much help from their teammates.
Junior catcher Ryan Sloniger (Punxsutawney, Pa.) and redshirt sophomore Connor Klemann (Royersford, Pa.) drove in the Nittany Lions' runs with a solo home run and RBI-single, respectively, and Klemann accounted for two of Penn State's four hits.
Points in the paint were controlled by Penn State, with 24 points, compared to Purdue's 20. For the third straight half, Edwards was the only Boilermaker to hit a 3, finishing 2 for 5 in the half, while the rest of the team was 0 for 4. He finished with 13 points in the first half on 5-for-10 shooting.
He had only hit a pair of 3-point shots in the last eight games, but he drained two critical ones in the second half Sunday. His surge contributed to a 21-6 run for the Boilermakers to open the second half, as the Boilers built the lead up to 11 points with 12:34 left.
Sucese provided the equalizer for Penn State 3:39 later only for the KHL line to propel the Spartans back into the lead within minutes. The advantage came even as Watkins, Garner, and Bostick picked up two fouls.
Carr is averaging a team-high 19.6 points per game and is shooting 42.1 percent from the field. The Nittany Lions had seven at halftime but had six miscues early in the second half to help fuel the Boilermakers' run.
Penn State wasn't done, though, and began closing the gap.
Penn State snapped an eight-game winless streak, securing a victory for the first time since January 12 as it improved to 14-13-5 on the year and 7-10-5-2 in Big Ten play.
The game wasn't finally decided until the closing seconds. The former finished with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Stevens added 13 points and six boards of his own to pace the Penn State attack. Tony Carr's desperation three was off the mark as time expired and the Boilers hung on to win 76-73. The senior hurt his ankle in practice Saturday and is questionable for the next two games, as well.
Every coach preaches the mantra of "being ready when your time comes", and for Purdue junior forward Grady Eifert that meant Sunday. Purdue has not outrebounded an opponent in 10 games after losing 35-28 on the glass against Penn State. The team's most versatile weapon and best rebounder was relegated to cheerleader, with a walking boot on his injured wheel for Sunday night's game against surging Penn State.
Penn State extended its lead after a strong play in the corner by sophomore Liam Folkes, who won a battle and sent the puck to Kerr at the left point.