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Penn State Hoops Stuns No. 21 Maryland 65-64 In Regular-Season Finale

Penn State men’s basketball (19-12, 10-10) upset No. 21 Maryland (20-11, 11-9) 65-64 on another Camren Wynter buzzer-beater. It crawled back from a 13-point deficit at the half to win the game in the final minute of play.

Jalen Pickett led the way with 16 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Andrew Funk added 14 points, while Myles Dread scored 11 points. Each of those players came up clutch down the stretch and willed the Nittany Lions to victory.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions got off to a hot start to begin the game. Jalen Pickett had a great pass to Kebba Njie to get an early bucket, then scored five-straight points to give Penn State an early lead. He then found a wide-open Andrew Funk, and the Bryce Jordan Center was bumping.

Sloppy basketball and multiple turnovers allowed the Terrapins to take the lead, but Pickett ended the run by sinking a floater and then finding Mikey Henn for the go-ahead three. There were several missed foul calls that frustrated head coach Micah Shrewsberry, which ultimately earned him a technical foul. Safe to say, Penn State fans were not happy.

The Nittany Lions got cold very fast and went on a scoreless streak for nearly eight minutes. During that streak, Maryland went on a 14-0 run. The team was never the same after the first media timeout, as they had no rhythm and couldn’t buy a basket. It wasn’t until Kanye Clary sped to the basket that Penn State finally scored.

The end of the first half remained an ugly showing for the Nittany Lions. The only bright spot came at the last second when Pickett hit a buzzer-beating three to end the half. Penn State still went into halftime down 35-22.

Seth Lundy got the second-half scoring started for the Nittany Lions with a baseline layup. He then found Njie for a massive slam dunk that started to get the crowd going, but a Njie foul and a Jahmir Young basket quickly silenced the crowd.

Njie’s second-half performance demonstrated just how much he has grown throughout the season. At the beginning of the year, it looked like he was scared to get physical in the paint. Now, he was fighting for offensive rebounds and actually putting up shots underneath the rim. That development is what kept the Nittany Lions in the game at the beginning of the second half, and cannot be overstated.

Myles Dread started to take over after a Maryland timeout, hitting a three and an over-the-shoulder layup. He also found Funk in the corner for a big three, which suddenly brought the BJC to life. The Terps then committed a shot clock violation, and somehow the momentum was starting to shift to the Nittany Lions’ side.

A Pickett layup and another Dread three cut the lead to seven, and the Nittany Lions went on a 10-2 run. That run was snapped by Young, who sunk an and-one layup and the free throw. Young had a career day for the Terps and scored 26 points.

Funk hit a huge three, but Maryland was just not letting Penn State gain any form of sustained momentum. Every time it scored, the Terps would respond. That didn’t stop Funk or Dread from willing the team back into the game, as they kept making threes and cut the lead to five.

The Nittany Lions kept inching closer to tying the game, but the Terps kept getting to the free-throw line to extend the lead. In the end, it was Lundy who made three free throws and a layup that cut the lead to three. And then, on cue, Funk hit a massive two from distance that made the BJC erupt.

After a Young miss, Pickett drove up the court and found a wide-open Camren Wynter for a layup that gave Penn State its first lead since the very beginning of the game. The Terps got a wide-open look at the basket to take back the lead with 19 seconds left.

And then somehow, Wynter made another buzzer-beater for the second straight game. Maryland had 0.5 seconds left to win it, and it couldn’t convert its attempt as Lundy intercepted the deep attempt. Penn State stunned Maryland 65-64 to close out the regular season on Senior Day.

Takeaways:

  • Camren Wynter has ice in his veins. It takes a special player to hit two straight buzzer-beating, game-winning shots, and he is that player. He may not have had the best game today, only scoring six points, but two of those points were the most important of the entire game.
  • New day, but the same problem against Maryland. The problem against the Terps in College Park was the points off turnovers, and that remained the problem today. In the first half alone, the Nittany Lions committed eight turnovers and the Terps scored 11 points off those turnovers. On the flip side, Maryland committed seven turnovers, but only two points were scored. They shot themselves in the foot and dug themselves a hole they could barely get out of.
  • This team has all of the fight in the world, which is dangerous for ts opponents. Despite an ugly start, the Nittany Lions fought back and made the big shots they needed to. Going into the Big Ten Tournament, Penn State may be the team nobody wants to face. It can beat every team in this conference, and it has the opportunity to prove it this week in Chicago.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will head to Chicago to play in the Big Ten Tournament. When they play, however, depends on the outcome of the remaining Big Ten regular-season games Sunday afternoon.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey was a Secondary Education major before he graduated from the wonderful institution known as Penn State. When he was not writing for the blog, he enjoyed rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor," and yes mom, actually doing school work. All of this work prepared him to teach his own class of students, which was always his true passion. He still can be found on Twitter @theowenabbey and can be reached for questions and comments at [email protected]

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