COL­LEGE BAS­KET­BALL

PENN STATE FALLS TO MARY­LAND 66-59 IN BIG TEN OPENER

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Sports - BY DAVID GINS­BURG

Af­ter Jalen Smith and Bruno Fer­nando car­ried Mary­land to the brink of vic­tory, An­thony Cowan Jr. em­phat­i­cally fin­ished off Penn State.

Cowan made two clutch 3-point­ers in the clos­ing min­utes, and the 24thranked Ter­rap­ins opened Big Ten play with a 66-59 vic­tory Satur­day.

Smith scored 16 points, and Fer­nando had 12 points and 13 re­bounds. But Cowan, who strug­gled for much of the game, came up big when Mary­land needed it most.

The ju­nior guard buried a 3 with 2:14 left to make it 61-55. Af­ter the Nit­tany Lions got within two points, Cowan hoisted a 27-footer as the shot clock ex­pired, and it swished through the net to clinch it with 34 sec­onds to go.

“Cowan made the plays at the end. That’s what a great player does,” Penn State coach Patrick Cham­bers said.

Prior to those two shots, Cowan had six turnovers and was 4 for 10 from the field.

“He’s got a very short­term mem­ory. He’s got am­ne­sia,” Cham­bers said. “He had six turnovers, but that’s not go­ing to af­fect the way he plays.”

No, it won’t. Not for the team leader on a squad filled with fresh­men and sopho­mores.

“I wasn’t mak­ing the best de­ci­sions with the ball,” Cowan ac­knowl­edged. “But when it came down to it, I just wanted to make sure I made shots, give our team the best chance to win the game.”

Mary­land ( 7-1, 1-0) held on to se­cure a bounce-back vic­tory fol­low­ing a 76-71 loss to No. 4 Vir­ginia ear­lier in the week.

Com­ing off a 63-62 up­set of No. 13 Vir­ginia Tech on Tues­day, the Nit­tany Lions (4-3) nearly knocked off an­other ranked team. They led 31-30 at half­time, erased an eight-point deficit in the sec­ond half and gave Mary­land all it could han­dle on its own floor.

La­mar Stevens scored 19 on 9-for-24 shoot­ing, Josh Reaves had all 17 of his points in the first half, and Rasir Bolton fin­ished with 15 for Penn State.

“De­fen­sively, we did enough to win the game,” Cham­bers said. “But we need an­other scorer out there. We can’t just rely on Stevens for 20 Big Ten games. That’s un­fair to the kid, it’s un­fair to our team.”

Penn State sim­ply couldn’t han­dle the Ter­rap­ins’ inside game. With Fer­nando and Smith lead­ing the way, Mary­land fin­ished with a 40-28 re­bound­ing ad­van­tage and outscored the Nit­tany Lions 18-4 at the foul line.

Fer­nando be­came the first Terp to notch three straight dou­ble-dou­bles since Jor­dan Wil­liams in 2011.

Mary­land went up 47-39 with 12:53 left when Fer­nando sent an al­ley-oop pass to Smith for a dunk. As he headed the other way down the court, Fer­nando raised his arms and waved his hands, ask­ing the crowd of 15,481 to cheer the Terps on.

The en­thu­si­asm waned when Penn State re­sponded with a 9-0 run to move back in front.

Nei­ther team could pull away, which was typ­i­cal of this bud­ding ri­valry. Since Mary­land joined the Big Ten, each of the seven games be­tween the teams has been de­cided by seven points or less.

WEIRD HALF

Penn State missed 12 of its first 13 shots while fall­ing be­hind 12-3, then held the Ter­rap­ins score­less for more than four min­utes dur­ing a 10-0 run. The Nit­tany Lions took 12 more shots than Mary­land in the first half, lim­ited the Terps to 8-for-21 shoot­ing and forced 10 turnovers.

Yet Penn State got points from only three play­ers, was out­re­bounded 21-16 and missed both its free throws, which ex­plains the 31-30 score at the break.

BIG PIC­TURE

Penn State: The Nit­tany Lions could make some noise in the Big Ten if they can get con­tri­bu­tions from play­ers other than Stevens and Reaves, the only starters with more than one year of ex­pe­ri­ence.

UP NEXT

Penn State: Hosts In­di­ana on Tues­day night, the lone reg­u­lar-season meet­ing be­tween the teams.

PATRICK SEMANSKY AP

Penn State for­ward La­mar Stevens grabs a re­bound in front of Mary­land for­ward Jalen Smith, left.

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