Harvey Levine/FOS

FOS Takeaways: Nittany Lions Beat No. 21 Terps

The stuff that stood out to us as Penn State ambushed another ranked team at the Jordan Center.

Penn State upset No. 21 Maryland 70-64 at the Jordan Center Tuesday evening. The Nittany Lions improved to 13-12 overall and 5-7 in the Big Ten, while the Terrapins slipped to 20-4 and 8-3.

Here is our take on things:

LESSON LEARNED

The BIGGEST thing to come out of Penn State’s big win Tuesday was not merely the fact that the Nittany Lions beat a ranked opponent for the second time this year. More importantly, Pat Chambers young team learned a valuable lesson:

Play hard and you can run with anybody in the conference. Don’t play hard and you can lose to anyone in the league.

PSU, of course, absorbed the second part of that lesson Saturday. Fresh off a devastating triple overtime loss at Indiana, the Nittany Lions were lethargic for the first 36 minutes plus in a home game vs. struggling Rutgers. They turned on the energy too late, and allowed the Scarlet Knights to escape with the first B1G road win in the history of their program.

It was anyone’s guess if PSU’s season would spiral completely out of control following that loss. But Chambers and his staff spent the next three days driving home the importance of effort.

The Nittany Lions listened. And the payoff was a wire-to-wire (essentially) win over a team that had not lost a road game all year. And Penn State did not play anything remotely close to its best game to get it done.

The Lions shot 2 of 18 from the arc. They got a total of three points from veterans Shep Garner and Payton Banks. They had an off night from glue guy Josh Reaves (five points, three rebounds, three turnovers).

They missed six of their final eight free throws.

Yet none of that negative stuff made a damn bit of difference, because Penn State consistently out-hustled the Terrapins. It was tougher when it mattered, too.

“That's all I want to do right now, compete for 40 minutes,” Chambers said. “I want to teach these young guys how to compete.”

FRESHMEN TAKING OVER

Harvey Levine/FOS

After the Rutgers game, Chambers was done messing around. He clearly realized this team is only going as far as the current freshman class carries it — in this season and beyond.

So he promoted rookie point guard Tony Carr to a captain. And he inserted redshirt frosh center Mike Watkins back into the starting lineup. And he made sure the offense was funneling through first-year power forward Lamar Stevens.

There was another little rookie tweak, too, but we’ll save that for a bit later.

The results were dramatic. So much so that it hardly seemed to matter that Garner and Banks went a combined 1 of 13 from the field.

Stevens was a monster offensively, with 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He scored on everything from a long 3-pointer to a dunk. He continued to show a strong mid-range game, too. He also had seven rebounds.

Watkins had 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in just 21 minutes. He made all six of his free throws.

Stevens and Watkins combined to go to the line 18 times, making 14 of them.

“Their big guys played better than I was expecting,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “I thought they were dominant. They were getting to the foul line in the very beginning of the game. That was probably the biggest surprise. They are good players. Don't get me wrong, they are good players. But they were dominating at the start physically.”

Carr, meanwhile, had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Even though Maryland pressed for much of the second half, he finished the game with no turnovers.

“He goes for 33 minutes and zero turnovers,” Chambers said.

ALL THAT NAZ

Harvey Levine/FOS

During his Monday press conference, Chambers said he intended to get true freshman wing Nazeer Bostick more minutes moving forward. It happened Tuesday, and it turned out to be a stroke of genius by the coach.

If there was a moment when it looked as if the game might get away from the Lions it came when a second-half lead that had once been as much as 14 points was knocked down to 62-58 with just more than three minutes remaining.

Then Garner missed a 3-point shot.

But before anyone in the arena could panic, Bostick rose up and snagged the offensive rebound. He scored to make it 64-58 with 3:04 showing. At the other end of the floor, he blocked Anthony Cowan’s shot. 

Penn State and the 7,063 fans were suddenly re-energized.

Bostick played on the same Philadelphia Roman Catholic team with Carr and Stevens last season. 

“He has the nickname ‘Horse,’ because he makes plays like that,” Stevens said. “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.”

Bostick played 12 minutes. He finished with four points, two rebounds, one assist and one block.

Overall, freshmen accounted for 53 of Penn State’s 70 points in the game.

MELO IS MELLOW

Harvey Levine/FOS

Terrapin veteran guard Melo Trimble is considered one of the best players in the Big Ten. But he disappeared in the second half Tuesday.

After accounting for 10 points and a pair of assists in the first 20 minutes, Trimble scored just one point to go along with a couple of assists in the final 20. He was 0 of 6 from the floor in the second half.

Penn State’s longer guards — Reaves and Carr — did a nice job on him. The Lions also used their big men to hedge out on Trimble.

SHORT SHOTS

• About an hour before the game, Penn State announced that backup guard Terrence Samuel would be out due to illness. Samuel was not even on the bench for the game. In Samuel’s absence, Bostick saw more action.

• Chambers said center Julian Moore was ill, too. But Moore played, and bounced back from a poor game vs. Rutgers with nine points and three rebounds in 18 minutes Tuesday.

• Penn State is now 2-3 vs. ranked opponents this season, with the previous win coming over then-No. 24 Minnesota at the BJC last month.

BOX SCORE

NEXT UP

Penn State is at Illinois Saturday for a 2 p.m. tip. The game can be seen on BTN.

The Nittany Lions beat the Illini (71-67) at the Jordan Center Jan. 28. 

Illinois picked up a nice road win (68-61) over Northwestern Tuesday to improve to 14-11 overall and 4-8 in the conference.


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Penn State upset No. 21 Maryland 70-64 at the Jordan Center Tuesday evening. The Nittany Lions improved to 13-12 overall and 5-7 in the Big Ten, while the Terrapins slipped to 20-4 and 8-3.

Here is our take on things:

LESSON LEARNED

The BIGGEST thing to come out of Penn State’s big win Tuesday was not merely the fact that the Nittany Lions beat a ranked opponent for the second time this year. More importantly, Pat Chambers young team learned a valuable lesson:

Play hard and you can run with anybody in the conference. Don’t play hard and you can lose to anyone in the league.

PSU, of course, absorbed the second part of that lesson Saturday. Fresh off a devastating triple overtime loss at Indiana, the Nittany Lions were lethargic for the first 36 minutes plus in a home game vs. struggling Rutgers. They turned on the energy too late, and allowed the Scarlet Knights to escape with the first B1G road win in the history of their program.

It was anyone’s guess if PSU’s season would spiral completely out of control following that loss. But Chambers and his staff spent the next three days driving home the importance of effort.

The Nittany Lions listened. And the payoff was a wire-to-wire (essentially) win over a team that had not lost a road game all year. And Penn State did not play anything remotely close to its best game to get it done.

The Lions shot 2 of 18 from the arc. They got a total of three points from veterans Shep Garner and Payton Banks. They had an off night from glue guy Josh Reaves (five points, three rebounds, three turnovers).

They missed six of their final eight free throws.

Yet none of that negative stuff made a damn bit of difference, because Penn State consistently out-hustled the Terrapins. It was tougher when it mattered, too.

“That's all I want to do right now, compete for 40 minutes,” Chambers said. “I want to teach these young guys how to compete.”

FRESHMEN TAKING OVER

\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS

After the Rutgers game, Chambers was done messing around. He clearly realized this team is only going as far as the current freshman class carries it — in this season and beyond.

So he promoted rookie point guard Tony Carr to a captain. And he inserted redshirt frosh center Mike Watkins back into the starting lineup. And he made sure the offense was funneling through first-year power forward Lamar Stevens.

There was another little rookie tweak, too, but we’ll save that for a bit later.

The results were dramatic. So much so that it hardly seemed to matter that Garner and Banks went a combined 1 of 13 from the field.

Stevens was a monster offensively, with 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He scored on everything from a long 3-pointer to a dunk. He continued to show a strong mid-range game, too. He also had seven rebounds.

Watkins had 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in just 21 minutes. He made all six of his free throws.

Stevens and Watkins combined to go to the line 18 times, making 14 of them.

“Their big guys played better than I was expecting,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “I thought they were dominant. They were getting to the foul line in the very beginning of the game. That was probably the biggest surprise. They are good players. Don't get me wrong, they are good players. But they were dominating at the start physically.”

Carr, meanwhile, had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Even though Maryland pressed for much of the second half, he finished the game with no turnovers.

“He goes for 33 minutes and zero turnovers,” Chambers said.

ALL THAT NAZ

\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS

During his Monday press conference, Chambers said he intended to get true freshman wing Nazeer Bostick more minutes moving forward. It happened Tuesday, and it turned out to be a stroke of genius by the coach.

If there was a moment when it looked as if the game might get away from the Lions it came when a second-half lead that had once been as much as 14 points was knocked down to 62-58 with just more than three minutes remaining.

Then Garner missed a 3-point shot.

But before anyone in the arena could panic, Bostick rose up and snagged the offensive rebound. He scored to make it 64-58 with 3:04 showing. At the other end of the floor, he blocked Anthony Cowan’s shot.

Penn State and the 7,063 fans were suddenly re-energized.

Bostick played on the same Philadelphia Roman Catholic team with Carr and Stevens last season.

“He has the nickname ‘Horse,’ because he makes plays like that,” Stevens said. “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.”

Bostick played 12 minutes. He finished with four points, two rebounds, one assist and one block.

Overall, freshmen accounted for 53 of Penn State’s 70 points in the game.

MELO IS MELLOW

\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS

Terrapin veteran guard Melo Trimble is considered one of the best players in the Big Ten. But he disappeared in the second half Tuesday.

After accounting for 10 points and a pair of assists in the first 20 minutes, Trimble scored just one point to go along with a couple of assists in the final 20. He was 0 of 6 from the floor in the second half.

Penn State’s longer guards — Reaves and Carr — did a nice job on him. The Lions also used their big men to hedge out on Trimble.

SHORT SHOTS

• About an hour before the game, Penn State announced that backup guard Terrence Samuel would be out due to illness. Samuel was not even on the bench for the game. In Samuel’s absence, Bostick saw more action.

• Chambers said center Julian Moore was ill, too. But Moore played, and bounced back from a poor game vs. Rutgers with nine points and three rebounds in 18 minutes Tuesday.

• Penn State is now 2-3 vs. ranked opponents this season, with the previous win coming over then-No. 24 Minnesota at the BJC last month.

BOX SCORE

\"\"

NEXT UP

Penn State is at Illinois Saturday for a 2 p.m. tip. The game can be seen on BTN.

The Nittany Lions beat the Illini (71-67) at the Jordan Center Jan. 28.

Illinois picked up a nice road win (68-61) over Northwestern Tuesday to improve to 14-11 overall and 4-8 in the conference.

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