Penn State stunned Maryland, 70-64 last night in the Terrapins’ first road loss of the season. On one hand, the victory was surprising for Penn State fans who just watched their team fall to Rutgers over the weekend. On the other, the Bryce Jordan Center is building some momentum as a tough place to play now that the Lions have defeated the last four ranked opponents to enter.
After the win, Pat Chambers came to the podium and talked about an issue that wasn’t apparent from just watching the game.
Julian Moore and Terrence Samuel were ill during the game
Moore had one of his best games of the year with nine points in 18 minutes, although he also committed four fouls during that span. Considering he averages three points per game, it was a shock to hear that Moore was under the weather for this game. Samuel didn’t even make it into the lineup due to his illness.
“We played some guys sick — Terrence [Samuel] and Julian [Moore]. It's tough for the young guys to play with foul trouble, like Mike [Watkins], but they just battled through. That's what it's about. That's a sign of a team that's getting some good chemistry as we approach the end of February...
Julian was sick... at halftime he went to see the doctor, but gave us all he had. Credit to him.”
Will we see more of Nazeer Bostick and Davis Zemgulis?
With just over three minutes to play, Penn State saw its once-great lead cut to four on a three-pointer by Maryland’s Jaylen Brantley. On the other end, the seldom-used Bostick came up huge with an offensive rebound and put-back to push the lead back up to six. He followed that up by blocking an Anthony Cowan layup attempt on defense.
Bostick may have not even been on the floor during crunch time if not for Samuel missing the game, but his performance was eye-opening for Chambers and Penn State fans.
“He had some huge offensive rebounds and putbacks. He's earned the way into the rotation and get out there with these guys. It was great seeing four freshmen and a sophomore out on the floor. That's exciting stuff. For the fans, we just beat a top 25 team. I hope they keep coming out and they climb with us here. We competed at a high level. I also want to mention Davis [Zemgulis]. He gave us great minutes. All he does is come in and work. You're going to see him a lot more.”
While Bostick played 12 minutes and came away with four points, two rebounds, and a block, Zemgulis had zero points, one rebound, and three personal fouls in his seven minutes. We’ll have to take the coach’s word for it regarding Zemgulis, but Bostick seemed to give the team a kick in the butt on Tuesday night.
Bostick might not have the upside of teammates like Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens, but his tenaciousness on the glass could make him a great role player in the future. Stevens chimed in with some comments on that aspect of the freshman’s game.
“He has the nickname 'Horse,' because he makes plays like that. He comes up big in huge moments, and he's always done this since high school. It's not surprising to see Naz just being that tough physical guy, and he deserved to make that play.”
Carr said that the team has been waiting for Bostick to make an impact.
“It's great to see Naz have that moment, man. We've kind of been waiting for that all year, and for him to go out there and just make those huge plays down the stretch for us, and then ultimately kind of help us win a game this big. That's my best friend. I'm just happy to share that moment with him.”
For all we know, Bostick’s big moment may just be a flash in the pan. After all, he didn’t score any points in his previous eight appearances during Big Ten play. However, in this extended sample, he looked to give Penn State an extra boost of defense and rebounding that it needed to conquer Maryland. That’s the kind of play that the Lions needed from their bench if they are going to develop into an NCAA Tournament contender.