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Penn State 76, Maryland 69: The Climb Has Never Been More Fun

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This was a great win at home in front of a great crowd.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State (8-2, 1-1 Big Ten) held the lead against one of the best teams in the country for all but one minute of the game. The win evens out their conference record at 1-1 after facing two of the top programs in the league. The outcome of the game should turn some heads around the country and garner the Lions some much-deserved positive attention.

Five minutes in it was a 1-point game with both teams scoring with relative ease. Penn State put on a push on the defensive end, forcing turnovers while building a lead. Maryland had 8 turnovers in the first 8 minutes. It was 18-10 at the under 12 minute timeout and the crowd inside the Bryce Jordan Center was becoming a factor.

After Maryland’s 12th turnover in the first 11 minutes, Myles Dread hit a three pointer to stretch the lead to 27-15. The Terps came in averaging 11.5 turnovers per game. Maryland cut the lead to 5 with a couple of deep shots but then Dread hit a runner in the lane to end the run.

With 2:26 to play in the half the Lions had built the lead back to 9. It was an advantage of 17 to 2 in the category of points off of turnovers for Pat Chambers’ team. Penn State led 40-30 at the half as Myreon Jones hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer with just 0.6 seconds on the clock.

Lamar Stevens got his first foul three minutes into the second half after having early foul trouble in recent weeks. Maryland cut the lead to five with a nice run but the Stevens hit his second 3-point shot of the game, then Izaiah Brockington had a great finish on a fast break, and just like that it was 49-39 with 15 minutes to play.

Jalen Smith got his 3rd foul with 13:35 to play and Maryland down just 5, forcing him to the bench. Myreon Jones hit a deep ball on the next possession to stop the run. A couple of minutes later Anthony Cowan hit one of his own to cut the lead to 2 and the crowd became quiet, sensing trouble.

Izaiah Brockington stole the ball under the basket and found Mike Watkins for a dunk, energizing the crowd and ending the run. Myreon Jones made a layup to stretch the lead to 56-50 with 8 minutes to play. Brockington made a steal and dunk and the crowd erupted again.

Anthony Cowan answered with a deep 3-pointer late in the shot clock to quiet things down, the lead 58-53. A minute later Izaiah Brockington hit his own with the shot clock buzzer ringing and then a Myreon Jones layup stretched the lead to 8 with 4:13 to play, forcing a Maryland timeout.

Lamar Stevens hit the first two Penn State free throw attempts of the game with just under 4 minutes to play. He got his 4th personal foul on the next possession but stayed on the court. He hit a jumper to stretch the lead to 8 with 2:16 to play.

Maryland was 1 for 12 from the field down the stretch including 0-8 to that point. Their free throw shots kept them within striking distance. Penn State began to get their chances at the line. Mike Watkins hit a free throw to keep the lead at 8 with 31 seconds to play. Lamar Stevens hit one six seconds later and the lead was 7. Maryland cut it to 5 with 19 ticks on the clock.

Izaiah Brockington hit a pair of free throws and Lamar Stevens had a block to ice the game. The crowd inside the Bryce Jordan Center was poised to rush the court, the Lions up 76-69. As you can see, at least one fan made it on the court a little early. You can hit the volume button on the video to hear the crowds’ celebration.

It was a great moment for the Penn State players and a crowd that helped them along the way.

PPP and Four Factor Analysis

Maryland held the advantage in free throws until the final minutes of the game when Maryland was forced to foul. Penn State was able to turn the tables by turning the ball over just 8 times while forcing 20 turnovers.

Random Thoughts

  • It may not have been a capacity crowd inside the Bryce Jordan Center, but the noise was a factor. It was easily the loudest the stadium has been all season. That bodes well for the rest of the year when the team will need that edge at home.
  • Izaiah Brockington showed that he could play on the ball well, disrupting Maryland’s offense before it could get started many times. With Brockington, Wheeler and Jones available to rotate on a great perimeter star such as Anthony Cowan, Penn State does not to have to rely on just one player. Myles Dread played well on defense all game, moving around the court where he was needed. The versatility allows Chambers to work match-ups to Penn State’s favor.
  • Maryland had 19 free throw attempts before the Lions got their first of the game. A lot of that had to do with the way that Penn State was playing offense but there were a few calls that could have been made that weren’t. The Terps hit their first 11, helping keep them within range while struggling from the floor.

Up Next

The Lions will host Alabama on Saturday. The game is at 2 p.m. and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.