Lamar Stevens and Rasir Bolton split 50 points equally Monday night as Penn State pulled away from visiting Jacksonville State late in the second half to pick up a 76-61 win in University Park, Pa.
Stevens’ 25 points came on 9-of-18 shooting from the field, and he also added a team-high nine rebounds while playing the full 40 minutes. Bolton, a freshman, came off the bench to hit 8 of 14 shots and score 25 as the Nittany Lions upped their record to 2-0.
Tennessee transfer Detrick Mostella paced the Gamecocks (0-2) with 17 points, while Jason Burnell added 14 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. Christian Cunningham chipped in 10 points, but Jacksonville State sank only 39.7 percent of its field-goal attempts.
The Gamecocks were outscored 30-8 off the bench and also committed 16 turnovers, leading to 16 Penn State points.
Trailing 37-32 at halftime, Jacksonville State made up the deficit quickly, answering a Stevens layup with seven straight points to tie the game. Cunningham’s layup with 17:26 remaining knotted the score at 39.
But the Nittany Lions responded with a 20-9 run, with Stevens converting a 3-point play with 8:24 left to make it 59-48. Burnell’s layup with 4:44 remaining drew Jacksonville State within 61-55, but Bolton passed to Josh Reaves for a 3-ball with 3:18 on the clock to up the margin to 66-55.
The teams worked through seven lead changes and three ties in a competitive first half. Neither team led by more than four points until Mostella canned a jumper at the 9:21 mark to put the Gamecocks ahead 18-14.
Penn State made a push from that point on, taking a 37-30 advantage when Myles Dread sank a 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining. Burnell closed the half by leaning in for a jumper that rolled around the rim and went in just before time expired, bringing Jacksonville State within five at intermission.
Reaves finished with 11 for the Nittany Lions.
—Field Level Media