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Maryland men’s basketball loses 16-point lead in 66-61 defeat to Penn State on Senior Day

COLLEGE PARK — An all-too-familiar sight spoiled Senior Day for the Maryland men’s basketball team.

The Terps led by as many as 16 points in the first half Sunday night but fell flat late as Penn State ended the game on a 15-4 run in a 66-61 loss at Xfinity Center.

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Maryland (15-12, 9-11 Big Ten Conference) missed five of its final six shot attempts after missing its final seven in a late-game collapse to Northwestern last Wednesday night.

“You have losses in life that are devastating. This is one of them,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “A lot of tears in the locker room.”

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The Terps end the regular season on a two-game losing streak and will play ninth-seeded Michigan State as the eighth seed in the Big Ten tournament as they look to solidify a spot in the NCAA tournament field. The Spartans are one of the hottest teams in the conference with three wins over top-10 teams in the past two weeks, including a 70-64 upset of No. 2 Michigan on Sunday.

Forward Seth Lundy scored 31 points, one shy of his career high, to lead Penn State (10-13, 7-12), including a jumper to give the Nittany Lions their first lead of the game, 58-57, with 1:23 left. Aaron Wiggins led the Terps with 15 points with 10 rebounds, while fellow junior guard Eric Ayala scored 14 points.

Senior Day began in joyous fashion for Maryland. A limited number of family members from both teams were in attendance for the first time at Xfinity Center this season. The Terps’ three seniors, Darryl Morsell (Mount Saint Joseph), Reese Mona and Galin Smith, were recognized before the game as part of the night’s festivities. Turgeon started the three seniors; it was the first start for Mona, who spent his first three seasons as a walk-on before being awarded a scholarship.

“It hurts. Senior Night, you’re supposed to send the seniors out on a good note,” said Wiggins, who recorded his fifth double double of the season. “And everybody loves our three seniors, the managers, all those guys. We wanted to end it on a good night and we just didn’t finish the game. It hurts but [we’ve] got to put it past us. We’ll remember it. [We’ve] got to put it past us and be prepared for the tournament ahead of us.”

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Morsell finished with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block, while Smith, a graduate transfer from Alabama, had four points and three rebounds in 15 minutes.

For the third straight game, Maryland scored at least the first nine points of the game. The Terps scored 12 straight points to start; the Nittany Lions, who missed their first nine shot attempts, did not score until the 14:28 mark of the first half.

Maryland led 33-23 at halftime, shooting 55.6% from the field. Penn State shot 30% from the field in the half.

Penn State got to within three with 14:10 left in the game but Maryland responded with an 11-0 run, including consecutive 3s by sophomore forward Donta Scott (nine points), to take a 50-36 lead with 11:24 left. The 14-point margin was the Terps’ largest lead of the second half.

An 11-0 run by the Nittany Lions got them within three again, 50-47, with 6:36 remaining before a corner 3-pointer by junior forward Jairus Hamilton (seven points) broke a five-minute scoring drought for Maryland.

Penn State scored 12 straight points as it took the lead late and a Maryland team that had won five straight games in February to seemingly rid itself of early-season inconsistencies couldn’t find that form late.

“If we just keep guarding, we win the game,” Turgeon said. “We stopped guarding, so that was the frustrating part. ... All we do is talk about rebounding and they had [10] offensive rebounds [Maryland recorded one offensive rebound]. ... It gets old, it gets frustrating. And we’re small, we’re different, but it’s no excuse.

“When you get to 10-10 in a great conference, it would have been a really, really good thing,” he added. “To go from 4-9 to 10-10 would have been great but we didn’t get there. So, it’s just devastating in a lot of ways. Our guys are just devastated. We expected to win the game and it just snowballed and we really couldn’t stop it. And those are hard. Those are really hard.”

Big Ten tournament

MARYLAND VS. MICHIGAN STATE

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Thursday, 11:30 a.m.

TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM

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