Puff Johnson helps Penn State pull off massive upset with late steal, layup

Puff Johnson is one of those basketball players I really wish worked out for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Puff, the younger brother of former UNC standout Cameron Johnson, only started two of the 65 games he played in Chapel Hill. Tar Heel fans got extended glimpses of Puff’s potential last year, but Hubert Davis’ failure to play his bench helped Puff decide to play at Penn State.

While we sometimes wish that former players could’ve stayed, we’re happy to see their success elsewhere.

During Wednesday’s game, Johnson got a late steal and converted on the layup to cut the Illinois lead to 2. It would also help setup a Nittany Lions’ 90-89 upset victory over ranked Illinois.

Puff finished his night with seven points, including a 3-of-3 mark on free throws.

For a Penn State (13-14, 7-9) squad that’s under .500 overall and in Big 10 play, this was a much-needed win. The Nittany Lions essentially need to win out, including the conference tournament, but this Quad 1 victory goes a long way towards that goal.

Puff has played significantly more minutes during his time in Happy Valley, starting 10 out of Penn State’s 23 games on the season. He’s scored in double-digits four times, with the most recent occurance coming on Jan. 20 against Ohio State.

Being a Pennsylvania native, I can imagine Puff is happy to be playing closer to home. I’m happy to see him succeed, as he provided our Tar Heels with rare, valuable depth it lacked last season.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire