Sophomore point guard Shep Garner went off for a career-high 30 points as Penn State dispatched Boston College 67-58 in a Big Ten-ACC Challenge game in Chestnut Hill, Mass., Wednesday.
Garner’s torrid shooting (he set a Conte Forum opponent record with eight 3-pointers) fueled the Nittany Lions (4-2) to start both halves. But his court leadership took over when the game was on the line.
He had one field goal on one shot in the final 15:55 of the game, but directed a patient offense that picked apart the Eagles (3-4) and a stifling defense that allowed only 28 second-half points.
Garner’s big night also included four rebounds, three assists and two steals. He logged the 30 points on only 16 shots, which included an 8-of-12 showing from the arc.
The Philadelphia native’s offensive explosion came at the best possible time, as PSU leading scorer Brandon Taylor had by far the worst game of his senior season. Saddled with foul trouble throughout, Taylor made only 1-of-5 shots for two points.
Though Garner was the only Lion to reach double figures in scoring, State also received nine points each from starting forward Payton Banks, as well as backup big men Jordan Dickerson and Donovan Jack. Jack added eight rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Center Dennis Clifford led BC with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting. His dunk with 18:21 left in the game gave the Eagles a 36-31 lead. But a short while later, Garner ripped off three straight 3-pointers to give the Lions a 42-40 lead, and PSU led the rest of the way.
• The PSU record for 3-pointers in a game is nine, and was set by Pete Lisicky vs. Penn in Atlantic City in 1996.
• Penn State starting center Julian Moore did not score and went 0 of 2 from the field.
• The Lions crushed the Eagles on the boards, 40-27.
• PSU got 20 points from the bench, as compared to eight for BC.
• Next up for the Lions is a Saturday home game with Eastern Michigan. It tips at noon and can be seen on BTN.