Williams, Terrapins Shell Penn State
Going into halftime of Wednesday night’s game with Maryland, Coach Ed DeChellis said he wasn’t panicking about being down after twenty minutes. After all, with two starters out of the game and a 22.5 percent shooting performance in the first half, being down by only six points was a welcome sight to DeChellis. Unfortunately for him and the rest of the Nittany Lions, that was their best half of play.
In a game that was billed “The Biggest Non-Conference Game In BJC History”, maybe the biggest let-down in Bryce Jordan Center history occurred as the Terrapins dominated the Nittany Lions 62-39.
A sea of white was spread about the student section and they were raucous as a Talor Battle three-point play, a Jeff Brooks put-back and an Andrew Jones dunk gave Penn State an early 7-0 lead. After a television timeout, Brooks drove baseline and delivered a tomahawk jam to put the Nittany Lions up 9-2 at the 13:46 mark of the first half. And that’s when the fun stopped.
Brooks and fellow senior DJ Jackson were both saddled with two fouls quickly and watched most of the rest of the first half from the bench. With the team’s second and third leading scorers not in the game, memories of the past two seasons became a reality as the offense became nothing more than a dribble fest centered around Battle saving the team as the shot clock neared zero. This continued even as the starting lineup returning in the second half as Battle scored 13 straight PSU points over a nearly 15-minute span. He ended up with 21 points, good for his 34th career 20-point game but also good enough for 54% of his team’s points, something that cannot happen against competition like Maryland.
Jordan Williams of the Terps got his usual double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds as he ran the floor well while also playing a great game inside. He led four Terrapin players who scored in double figures. Coach Gary Williams has happy with his team’s effort, saying after the game that they beat a “good, quality team” in Penn State.
Penn State now falls to 5-2 on the season, missing out on both opportunities to nab a signature out-of-conference win which makes the Dec. 12 game against Virginia Tech almost a must-win if the Nittany Lions finally want to reach the NCAA Tournament. They return to the court on Saturday when they host Duquesne.
Cleaning the Glass:
- Some stats that are mind-boggling to say the least: Penn State grabbed 20 offensive rebounds and had only eight second-chance points. They also forced 17 Maryland turnovers but had only 10 points off of them.
- Jeff Brooks grabbed 10 rebounds, but was only able to add six points, ending his streak of six straight double-figure scoring games to open the season.
- Andrew Jones grabbed seven rebounds with many missed opportunities for more after letting the ball stonewall off his hands.
- Taran Buie, who has become Penn State’s go-to guy off the bench, shot 0-9 from the field.
- Even with the Penn State loss, the Big Ten won the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the second year in a row by a count of 6-5.