Penn State Hoops Survives 74-70 Against Maryland At Home
Penn State (17-9, 7-6) defeated Maryland (16-10, 5-8) behind a big game from Lamar Stevens. The team has now won back-to-back games, has obtained a winning record in the conference, and has quietly stayed in the conversation for an NCAA Tournament berth. Anthony Cowan Jr., the leading scorer for the Terrapins, scored 15 points on 4-for-7 shooting but it wasn’t enough to win on the road.
How It Happened
Josh Reaves made the first field goal of the game for the Nittany Lions, tipping in his own miss. He had six of Penn State’s first ten points, in addition to dunks from Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins. Stevens began the night 3-for-3, but Maryland had answers for him in the first nine minutes. The Terrapins shot 64% over this span, forcing Penn State to call a timeout as they trailed by six. Kevin Huerter paced Maryland during this stretch, scoring seven points.
Three-pointers by Stevens and Garner quickly closed the gap, tying the game at 20 with 9:42 remaining in the first half. Tony Carr hit his first shot on a three from the top of the key, giving the Nittany Lions their first lead since the opening minute. Maryland center Bruno Fernando quieted the crowd momentarily with a monster slam off an inbound, but Josh Reaves countered with a floater in the lane.
Mike Watkins slammed home an alley-oop from Tony Carr to make it the sixth lead change of the half with just under four minutes left. Watkins registered a double-double in a win against Iowa earlier in the week, but was held in check in the first half with only one board. Lamar Stevens only missed one shot in the opening frame, and finished the half with 11 points on 5-6 shooting. Both teams shot over 53% from the field, with Maryland making an astounding 57% of their threes. Penn State held its largest lead of the game at the half, however, going up 41-35.
Lamar Stevens continued his hot start with two straight makes to begin the second half. Maryland’s Fernando and Nickens countered with an and-one and three, respectively, to make it a four point deficit for the Terps. They continued to chip away at the Nittany Lion lead, going on an 11-5 run behind more threes from Nickens and Cowan Jr. Right as the lead looked to be slipping away, Penn State guard Josh Reaves threw down a monster dunk in the lane over multiple defenders. He seems to have one every game, showing how he can easily spark a Penn State run at any time.
Stevens added to his impressive night by scorer two buckets in the paint, bringing his point total to 22. After sitting for a few minutes, Carr returned and hit a three to give Penn State its first double-digit lead of the game at 64-54 with 8:11 left. Maryland wasn’t done just yet, quickly adding a 7-1 run with just over four minutes remaining. A turnover from Stevens brought the Terps back to within three, but Watkins showed his presence down low with a tough layup. After Watkins sunk one of two foul shots, Maryland made things interesting. Jared Nickens splashed his fifth shot of the game, making it only a one possession game with under a minute to go. Cowan drove down the lane and tested Mike Watkins, but was unable to get the layup to go. Josh Reaves then made a free throw to put the Nittany Lions up four, and from there the game was out of reach for the Terrapins.
Player Of The Game
Lamar Stevens | Sophomore | Forward
Stevens had an extremely efficient game on Wednesday, finishing with 25 points on 10-for-12 shooting. He even did his own LeBron James impression with a chase down block on Anthony Cowan Jr. late in the second half. The sophomore has been integral to Penn State’s competitiveness in the Big Ten, as he’s averaged 15.3 points on the year. Look for him to continue to complement Carr and Watkins as a scorer when the Nittany Lions go on the road to Champaign.
Penn State will go on the road to take on Illinois on Sunday, February 11. The team will have three days to prepare for a crucial matchup in hopes of keeping its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. The game will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network and begin at 7 p.m.