Brockington key to Lions’ upset victory
UNIVERSITY PARK — Maryland hadn’t led since the fourth minute of the game, but when Anthony Cowan hit a fastbreak lay-up with just under six minutes to play in the second half, the Terrapins were down just three.
Then 30 seconds later, Penn State’s Izaiah Brockington nailed a 3-pointer, his first and only of the game, putting the Nittany Lions up by six as they went on to upset fourth-ranked Maryland, 76-69, Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State improved to 8-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten while Maryland lost for the first time (10-1, 1-1).
After Brockington’s 3, Maryland never pulled back within five over the final five minutes.
Penn State’s halftime 10-point lead shrunk to as little as two during the second half, but each time, Brockington seemed to make a play to keep the Terrapins at arms-length.
“He’s fearless,” senior Lamar Stevens said of Brockington. “We wanted him to come in and be that spark off the bench and he was that tonight. That 3 was a huge, huge shot and I knew it was going in because how he practices, he makes big time shots like that.”
Brockington scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half, including a steal and coast-to-coast dunk that capped a 6-0 Nittany Lions run after Cowan hit a 3-pointer to pull within two.
Nine of his points also came off the fastbreak, one such play coming the possession after a Stevens 3-pointer in the second half to open up a 10-point lead.
On the night, Penn State led Maryland in points off turnovers, as the Nittany Lions only turned the ball over eight times compared to the Terrapins’ 20.
“I thought defensively, they were great for 40 minutes,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “They were quick, fast, fly-around, they run you off the 3-point line.”
However, Penn State was sorely outrebounded, 48-33, despite both Stevens and Mike Watkins collecting double-doubles.
Penn State also failed to draw a free throw attempt until there were under four minutes remaining in the game.
Despite the double-double, Stevens was not his usual mark of efficiency. Aside from making 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, the forward was just 5-of-13 from the field for 15 points. He also picked up his fourth foul with over 3 minutes to play in the game.
In the past, Penn State would have needed huge games out of its top scorer in order to beat a top-5 team.
But on Tuesday, five Nittany Lions scored more than 12 points, but none more than 15.
“I just trusted everybody on this team,” Stevens said, whose scoring is down from last year, despite Penn State’s improved record. “This year, I really don’t feel like I have to do more than necessary.”
Brockington and Myeron Jones helped pick up the slack, combining for 28 points. Jones, the team’s second leading scorer on the season behind Stevens, connected on a buzzer beating 3-pointer to close out the opening half with the double-digit lead.
They were also contributors on the defensive side of the ball with Jones grabbing two steals and Brockington adding three while guarding Cowan for most of the game. The Nittany Lions were plus-12 with the St. Bonaventure transfer on the floor.
Penn State coach Pat Chambers nearly compared Brockington’s energetic style of play to former Nittany Lions guard Josh Reaves.
“What a spark he gives us off the bench with his speed and his athleticism and his toughness,” Chambers said. “And his ability to guard but also get us critical baskets.”
MARYLAND (10-1): Makhi Mitchell 0-4 0-0 0, J.Smith 3-5 5-6 12, Ayala 4-10 6-6 15, Cowan 5-17 3-6 16, Wiggins 3-12 6-7 13, Lindo 0-0 2-2 2, Morsell 3-6 1-1 8, S.Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Hart 0-1 0-0 0, Scott 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 19-57 23-28 69.
PENN ST. (8-2): Stevens 5-13 3-4 15, Watkins 7-11 1-2 15, M.Jones 5-15 2-2 14, Dread 4-9 2-2 12, Wheeler 2-4 0-0 4, Harrar 0-1 0-0 0, Lundy 0-0 0-0 0, Brockington 5-12 3-4 14, C.Jones 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 29-68 11-14 76.
Halftime–Penn St. 40-30. 3-Point Goals–Maryland 8-23 (Cowan 3-9, Morsell 1-1, Scott 1-1, J.Smith 1-1, Ayala 1-4, Wiggins 1-6, Hart 0-1), Penn St. 7-19 (Stevens 2-3, M.Jones 2-6, Dread 2-6, Brockington 1-1, C.Jones 0-1, Watkins 0-1, Wheeler 0-1). Fouled Out–J.Smith. Rebounds–Maryland 44 (J.Smith 11), Penn St. 31 (Watkins 11). Assists–Maryland 9 (Cowan 3), Penn St. 19 (M.Jones 6). Total Fouls–Maryland 16, Penn St. 16. A–8,643 (15,261).