Penn State picked up an enormous victory in a must-win game Friday night, holding on to beat Maryland, 55-50, at the Bryce Jordan Center.
PSU improved to 4-7 in the Big Ten (7-8 overall) and helps keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Maryland, also on the bubble, dropped to 4-8 in the Big Ten.
**What it means: Penn State has a path to get to 8-10 in the Big Ten, which I believe would be good enough to reach the NCAA Tournament. The Lions needed to win this game to stay on that path and start building some momentum.
**This game also was the start of a massive three-game stretch, in which the Lions could go 3-0 and be right back in it at 6-7 in the league. The next game is at struggling Michigan State (2-7 in Big Ten) on Tuesday, then a home game against Nebraska on Feb. 14.
**Incredibly, Penn State won despite getting only 2 points from Myreon Jones and 2 from Seth Lundy. That’s only four points from your leading and third-leading scorers, respectively.
**The Terps didn’t hit a field goal in the final 7:32. They had six free throws in that span, but Penn State’s defense was tough, and Maryland also kept making big mistakes on the offensive end with turnovers and empty possessions.
**Maryland shot itself in the foot several times in the closing minutes, including blowing an open layup with 2:49 left and down five. The Terps forced a turnover and had another chance to get closer, but turned it over inside.
**Shot of the game: Penn State was up 47-46 when Maryland’s Eric Ayala had a wide-open 3 from the right wing. Had Ayala’s shot gone down, things could have unfolded differently. But he missed, and PSU responded by scoring six straight points, including a huge 3-pointer by Myles Dread for a 53-46 edge with 4:34 remaining.
— Penn State On BTN (@PennStateOnBTN) February 6, 2021
**Jamari Wheeler buried a huge 3-pointer to help PSU take the lead and go on a little run, with the shot just beating the shot clock buzzer. Did the shot beat the buzzer? See below.
Shot that changed the game so far, a 3 by Wheeler at shot clock buzzer.
If you look at shot clock in bottom right corner, the shot did not get off before 00.
But … you can see there is time on clock above rim when shot is released.
TV clock was wrong. https://t.co/gfu1vsd5Fo
— Cory Giger (@CoryGiger) February 6, 2021
**Maryland is a very good second-half team, so the fact that the Lions outdueled them in a game with so much on the line for both teams is impressive.
**The first 15 minutes of the game were painful to watch. Just some horrendous offensive basketball. Now, I know we’re supposed to give credit to the defense and all, and both teams were playing tough D, but goodness, the offense on display was absolutely terrible. The teams started off a combined 4-of-22 from the field.
**Shockingly, despite a lousy first half offensively, Penn State found itself tied, 23-23, at the break. The Lions trailed 23-14 before closing on a 9-0 run to even things up. PSU shot just 34 percent from the field and 21 percent from 3, but Maryland shot itself in the foot with 11 turnovers. The Lions scored 10 points off those turnovers.
**PSU was tied at the half despite leading scorer Myreon Jones being held scoreless and Seth Lundy having just two points.
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