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Myles Dread’s Late-Game Heroics Lift Penn State Hoops Over Iowa

When Myles Dread’s career with Penn State men’s basketball is all said and done, his legacy likely won’t be defined by his ability to fill up the stat sheet in bunches or through highlight-worthy stretches of dominance.

However, very few players to recently don the blue and white have been more reliable in late-game situations than Dread during his tenure in Happy Valley. Through his first three seasons, the rangy sharp-shooter notched a trio of game-winning three-pointers against quality opponents in Yale, VCU, and Rutgers, showing his consistent ability to hit big shots in win-or-go-home scenarios.

While the Nittany Lions held on to win without last-second heroics in a 90-86 double-overtime battle Monday night against Iowa, Dread’s poise down the stretch led to his most pivotal game-tying triple of the season with less than 10 seconds in the opening overtime period.

Despite currently holding career lows in points and attempted three-pointers per matchup, there was no question who the Penn State bench wanted taking its most difficult shot of the night. To longtime teammate John Harrar, the end result wasn’t the least bit surprising, despite the difficulty of the heavily contested release.

“I told [Myles], I was like, ‘Bro, just shoot,'” Harrar said. “‘I’ve been with you for years. I’ve seen [about] six game-winners so far. If there’s any guy on the court, I want you to shoot, and I will be going down with you.’ And, I’m happy with the result.”

Prior to the pair of additional overtimes, Dread struggled to find his rhythm against Fran McCaffery’s stout defensive game plan. In regulation, the spot-up specialist registered just two-made field goals at a 22.2% clip. Moreover, the senior uncharacteristically struggled on 1-for-7 shooting from deep in the first 40 minutes, serving as a stark contrast from his current 39.2% downtown conversion rate.

In must-win scenarios, teams typically elect to feed the hot hand without hesitation in critical moments. For the Nittany Lions, the decision to trust Dread’s track record of clutch deliveries far outweighed the pair of impressive shooting displays from Seth Lundy and Jalen Pickett in regulation, who registered showings worth 30 points combined.

“John came into the huddle,” Dread said about the timeout before his game-tying conversion. “He was like, ‘Who’s going to take the big shot? I got Myles, I got Myles. Myles, shoot the ball. Make it.’ And it just kind of happened that way.”

Although Dread ended up “shooting” and “making” the clutch desperation three-pointer just as Harrar drew it up, the forward’s depiction certainly minimizes the difficulty of Dread’s game-changing heave.

Before deciding to fire, Dread received a pass late in the shot clock from Jalen Pickett on the right wing but was unable to gain viable separation from the Hawkeyes’ lengthy two-way centerpiece, Keegan Murray. Despite throwing a pair of shot fakes Murray’s way, the disciplined defender forced Dread to release over the entirety of his 6’8″ frame.

Initially, Dread hoped to draw a foul, leading to three free throws in the comfort of the Nittany Lions’ home venue. Instead, Penn State’s hopes of holding on depended on a look where Dread could hardly see the hoop.

“I kind of got stuck, honestly,” Dread said. “I dribbled, shot faked, and he didn’t move. I was like, ‘Oh, uh oh.’ So, I made the ball fake, and I just kind of put it up there. I really couldn’t see the rim until he landed. Right when the ball went in, I was like ‘Oh, great.’ And then, to be honest, I didn’t even realize how big of a shot it was until we got back on defense. Then, I looked up, and was like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of cool.’”

After willing his squad to another overtime stint, Dread’s impact ultimately helped the Nittany Lions topple the Hawkeyes with four, huge free throws in the final 12 seconds of play, similarly to the timeframe of his initial clutch display.

Through less than 10 minutes of overtime play, Dread amassed seven points, equating to more than his season-long average of 5.9 points per outing. Additionally, although the senior has seen action in all 18 games during his senior slate, he’s started only 10 for first-year head coach Micah Shrewsberry.

Three years ago, Dread started 28 contests as a freshman for Patrick Chambers — a mark that he hasn’t hit in his latest two campaigns put together. Still, Dread has exemplified what it means to be a crucial role player, even while previously posting career-high marks as a full-time starter.

To Dread’s credit, the senior has weathered through three different head coaches in the span of four years, all while remaining dedicated to his craft on the court and in the weight room. According to the combo guard, learning how to tough out offseason challenges served as a better lesson to staving off late-game clashes better than any on-court experience ever could.

“Honestly, and truthfully, we learned how to tough [it out],” Dread said. “[We learned how to] fight through fatigue, fight through pain, fight through adversity in [offseason workouts]. Truthfully, I think helps us a lot.”

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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