Penn State 65, Rutgers 64: Nittany Lions Snap Two-Game Skid With a Joyous Feeling of Dread

By John Morgan on February 26, 2020 at 10:00 pm
Feb 26, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions forward Lamar Stevens (11) defends Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard/forward Ron Harper Jr (24) during the first half at Bryce Jordan Center.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State looked like they were en route to an easy win and snapping their two-game slide after taking an 18-point over Rutgers lead into the half. The second half would be an entirely different story as the Nittany Lions lead slipped away as a feeling of dread took over the Bryce Jordan Center. Rutgers had fought all the way back and had managed to take a two-point lead with under a minute to go, their first lead of the game. That feeling of dread quickly turned around when sophomore Myles Dread hit a three with 26.7 seconds to go. 

  1st half 2nd half final
Penn State 42 23 65
Rutgers 24 40 64

Rutgers would have a final shot, but some solid defense forced Akwasi Yeboah into a contested three-point shot that did not fall and the Nittany Lions held on to a 65-64 win.

One again without Myreon Jones, Penn State came out quick and jumped to an early 10-2 advantage before the first television timeout. Aided by a 19-5 run, Penn State cruised to a 42-24 halftime lead. The defense made life tough for the Scarlet Knights offense who were held to 31% shooting in the first half which included 0-5 from three-point range. Not to be outdone by the defense, the Nittany Lions shot 50% in the first half and were 6-13 from three. Izaiah Brockington led all scorers with 12 in the first half, including five from the charity stripe. 

Rutgers started the second half playing with desperation and chipped away at the Nittany Lions lead. After Izaiah Brockington went down with an injury, the Scarlet Knights were able to cut the lead to 1 with ten minutes remaining. Brockington quickly returned and picked up where he left off, pushing the lead to seven before the Nittany Lions' offense went stale. The Scarlet Knights went on an 11-0 run and Penn State was without a field goal for nearly six minutes before the Dread three. 

It was a forgettable night for Lamar Stevens who had five turnovers and was just 4 of 13 from the field and 0 for 3 from the free-throw line. Stevens managed only 9 points and remains 60 points behind the all-time Penn State mark. Brockington led all scorers with 16 and Dread was the only other Nittany Lions player in double-digits with 11.

The win pushes the Nittany Lions 21-7 and 11-6 in conference play. It's quickly become crowded at the top of the Big Ten, so a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament seems like far less of a sure thing than it did two weeks ago. Penn State will head to Iowa Saturday to take on the No. 18 Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. 

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