Anthony Cowan Jr. hit two big 3-pointers in the final 2:14, and No. 24 Maryland hung on for a 66-59 win over visiting Penn State Saturday in College Park, Md., in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Maryland (7-1, 1-0) had just a two-point lead when Cowan drilled his second three with the shot clock running down, pushing the Terrapins to a 64-59 advantage with 34.1 seconds remaining.
Cowan had 15 points and four assists, but it was the Terrapin Towers of 6-10 Jalen Smith and Bruno Fernando who did most of the damage. Smith had 16 points, 11 in the second half, and eight rebounds. Meanwhile Fernando notched his third consecutive double-double with 12 points and 13 boards, the first Terrapin to do that three straight times since Jordan Williams in 2011.
Penn State (4-3, 0-1), coming off its upset of No. 13 Virginia Tech Tuesday, got 19 points and eight rebounds from Big Ten scoring leader Lamar Stevens (9 of 24 overall) and 17 from Josh Reaves. The Nittany Lions could not overcome Maryland’s 18-for-25 (72 percent) shooting at the free-throw line, much of that from Smith and Fernando. Penn State was just 4 of 6 at the stripe.
It was a three-point play by Cowan, scoring on a drive and adding a free throw, that put Maryland up for good at 52-50 with 9:09 to play. The Terrapins never trailed again and had a 40-28 rebounding edge to help fend off Penn State.
The Terrapins opened the second half on a 9-2 spree, leading 39-33 a couple minutes in on Cowan’s steal and layup. Maryland’s lead would reach eight, but Penn State erased it with a 9-0 run, Rasir Bolton’s 3-pointer putting the Nittany Lions ahead 48-47 at 10:37.
The Nittany Lions missed 11 of their first 12 shots to open the game but came back to take a 31-30 halftime lead thanks to 17 points from Reaves, who had PSU’s first nine points, all on 3-pointers. His dunk at 9:43 put Penn State ahead for the first time, 13-12.
A 12-4 run put Penn State ahead 29-21 at 3:18 when Reaves hit a baseline jumper. Maryland closed with a 9-2 run, seven points coming at the free-throw line. Four freebies came from Fernando, who was held to just one field-goal attempt in the first half but was 8-for-8 at the line. He started the second-half run with a dunk.
The Nittany Lions host Indiana on Dec. 4, while Maryland, which concluded a six-game homestand, goes on the road to meet Purdue on Dec. 6, just the Terrapins’ second game away from Xfinity Center this season.
—Field Level Media