Game Grades: Maryland
Penn State (8-2, 1-1) started fast and finished strong in an upset victory over No. 4 Maryland (10-1, 1-1) on Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. The win is a real confidence booster for this Penn State team as they rebounded from a brutal loss to Ohio State to start conference play. Here are some grades from Tuesday night’s game.
Mike Watkins was valuable inside for the Nittany Lions as he has been all season, scoring 15 points and shooting 7-for-11 from the field. Lamar Stevens was his usual self with 15 points, but the Nittany Lion guards showed up to play. Myreon Jones and Myles Dread combined for 26 points and shoot 40 percent from 3-point range on a night where the Nittany Lions shot 34 percent as a team.
Izaiah Brockington continues to become a huge part of this offense off the bench, scoring 14 points including a breakaway dunk and a huge 3-pointer to beat the shot clock that put the game out of reach late in the second half. The only thing that kept this from being an A is that there was a period in the second half where the offense stalled a little bit to let Maryland back in the game.
The Penn State defense was back tonight. This long, athletic team forced the Terrapins into an astounding 20 turnovers. Penn State held Maryland to 33 percent shooting on the night and continually frustrated the Maryland big men.
Mike Watkins pulled down 11 rebounds and blocked four shots in a duel with 6-foot-10 forward Jalen Smith. Jamari Wheeler and Izaiah Brockington were their usual selves, holding Maryland star guard Anthony Cowan Jr. to a 5-for-17 night from the field.
The Nittany Lions were outrebounded 48-33 including 17 offensive rebounds for Maryland, but the Terrapins didn’t turn many of those second chances into points thanks to the swarming Nittany Lion defense.
The Ohio State game was an ugly loss on Saturday that easily could have lingered into the next game. Pat Chambers made sure it didn’t and his team was ready to play. They started out fast with a Mike Watkins dunk and never took their foot off the gas. Even when things weren’t going their way and shots were not falling for a stretch of the second half, the Nittany Lions never panicked and just kept playing their game.
Last year, Penn State lost many close games in conference play and sometimes those would linger into the next game. After both of Penn State’s losses this year, they have come back strong and played with a fight that hasn’t been seen from past Penn State teams.
Pat Chambers has his best team since he’s been here, and they’re looking to make this season memorable.
Kevin McConlogue is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in political science. To contact him email email@example.com.