January 8, 2020 / 2:25 AM / 21 days ago

Harper scores 22, leads Rutgers past No. 20 Penn State

EditorsNote: minor editing; recasts some late play-by-play

Jan 7, 2020; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions forward Lamar Stevens (11) keeps the ball in play after a block against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the first half at Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC). Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Harper Jr. scored 22 points to lift Rutgers past No. 20 Penn State 72-61 on Tuesday at Piscataway, N.J.

Harper was 12 of 12 from the free-throw line.

Jacob Young added 13 points, and Myles Johnson had 10 for the Scarlet Knights, who improved to 12-3 and 3-1 in the Big Ten. It’s the first time since 2002 Rutgers has been two games above .500 in the conference.

Rutgers is 12-3 for the first time since 1975-76 and moved to 11-0 at home this season. The Scarlet Knights have won six in a row overall.

Myreon Jones led Penn State with 21 points while Mike Watkins added 17. Lamar Stevens had 12.

The Nittany Lions (12-3, 2-2) had their five-game winning streak snapped.

Rutgers struggled mightily with its shooting and started 1 for 15, but trailed by only eight, 14-6, midway through the first half.

Watkins made his first four shots, including a rare 15-foot jumper, and Penn State pulled ahead 18-10 with 8:25 remaining.

Despite poor shooting and costly turnovers, the Scarlet Knights hung around, received baskets by Johnson and Harper and cut the lead to 24-18 with 4:05 left.

The Nittany Lions took a 33-28 lead at halftime thanks in large part to Watkins’ 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting.

Rutgers shot just 9 for 29 and missed all five 3-pointers in the first half.

A 7-0 run to open the second half propelled the Scarlet Knights in front 35-33.

Stevens, Penn State’s leading scorer, provided his first four points as Penn State regained the lead, 37-35.

Young later drove to the basket and finished with a twisting layup over Watkins as Rutgers took a 42-39 advantage. On its next possession, Young dropped in a trey, and the lead was six.

Slideshow (26 Images)

Down 47-41, Jones scored eight straight — two 3-pointers and a jumper — and the Nittany Lions went ahead 49-47 with 8:39 left.

Rutgers rallied, helped by eight free throws from Harper down the stretch, including six in a 10-0 run for a 68-54 lead with 1:41 to go.

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