Maryland men’s basketball puts away pesky Penn State, 74-68, for program-record 10th straight Big Ten home win

COLLEGE PARK — It wasn’t pretty, but it was productive.

The Maryland men’s basketball team relinquished a 12-point advantage in the first half and watched visiting Penn State take its first lead in the second before finishing off a 74-68 victory Saturday afternoon before an announced crowd of 17,950 at Xfinity Center.


Before the program’s first sellout since March 8, 2020, the Terps relied heavily on Hakim Hart. The senior shooting guard scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, including 11 during a 5:14 stretch in which Maryland turned a 55-52 lead into a 70-57 advantage with 57 seconds left.

Hart finished with a career-high scoring output against a Big Ten opponent and his first 20-point showing since a 75-45 romp over Saint Peter’s on Dec. 22.


Hart, who also finished with five rebounds and four assists, attributed his performance to “penetrating the defense and doing well and just seeing my teammates and getting floaters and layups and stuff like that.”

Graduate student point guard Jahmir Young chipped in 18 points, four rebounds and four assists but was needed to be the primary defender against Nittany Lions fifth-year senior shooting guard Jalen Pickett. So Maryland coach Kevin Willard asked Hart to handle ball-handling duties in the late stages of the game.

“I thought Jahmir, he got us back into the game in the second half, but he was expending a lot of energy on the defensive end,” Willard said. “So I wanted to get the ball to Hak and give Jahmir a break. I thought [Hart] did a great job of just probing and being aggressive and finding guys and, obviously when the game was close, getting to the basket.”

With the win, the Terps (17-8, 8-6 Big Ten) not only bounced back from Tuesday night’s 63-58 loss at Michigan State but continued to distance themselves from being forced to play in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Maryland is at least three games ahead of the bottom four teams in the conference, which are scheduled to play March 8, the first day of the league tournament. The Terps currently sit in position for the No. 7 seed, which means they would play March 9.

Maryland also continued its strong play at home, earning a program-record 10th straight home victory against a Big Ten opponent to move to 13-1 at Xfinity Center this season.

In addition to Hart and Young, sophomore power forward Julian Reese, a Baltimore resident and St. Frances graduate, amassed 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks, and senior small forward Donta Scott added nine points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

Armed with a 31-28 lead at halftime, Maryland watched Pickett score seven points in the first 1:53 and managed just two points to cede the lead to Penn State for the first time.


The Terps appeared to right the ship with a 9-0 run fueled by four points from Reese, but the Nittany Lions continued to chip away at the deficit, drawing to within 55-52 with 7:12 left.

That’s when Maryland scored nine unanswered points, including five from Hart. He added six more points on a layup-and-one and a 3-pointer to help the Terps put away a pesky Penn State squad.

Maryland converted 19 fouls by the Nittany Lions into 23 trips to the free-throw line, where the team sank 18 attempts. By comparison, Penn State attempted just four free throws, making two.

The Terps also scored 17 points off of the Nittany Lions’ 13 turnovers, while Penn State managed just six points off of Maryland’s 10 miscues. The Nittany Lions did overwhelm the Terps in bench points, 28-8.

Freshman point guard Kanye Clary came off the bench to pace the Nittany Lions (14-11, 5-9) with 17 points, Pickett racked up 15 points, five assists and three rebounds, fifth-year senior shooting guard Andrew Funk added 14 points and five rebounds and senior shooting guard Seth Lundy compiled 11 points and seven rebounds.

But Penn State dropped its third game in a row and fell to 3-8 on the road due in part to the team committing 10 of its 13 turnovers in the first half, which Maryland turned into 10 points.


“They play different,” Nittany Lions coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “You go to some leagues or you play some teams where you’re seeing the same things every day. This is different. You’ve got to prepare for their pressure in the backcourt, you’ve got to prepare for the zone, you’ve got to prepare for their man-to-man. They’re switching, they’re physical, and it takes time to do that.”

The Terps opened the game with a 3-pointer from Scott but then went 3:15 without a point. That opened the door for Penn State to tie the score at 3 when Lundy drained a 3-pointer at the 17:13 mark.

A jumper by graduate student shooting guard Don Carey at 16:24 not only ended the drought, but also kicked off eight unanswered points by Maryland. The run was aided by eight straight missed shots by the Nittany Lions, who finally got a 3-pointer from fifth-year senior shooting guard Myles Dread at 11:49 to stop a 5:24 scoreless skid.

The Terps responded with another 7-0 spurt with the last four points coming from junior shooting guard Ian Martinez to enjoy their largest lead of the half at 18-6 with 8:27 remaining.

The teams went back-and-forth for the next four minutes before Penn State found some semblance of offensive rhythm to end the final 3:26 on a 12-7 burst. Clary scored four points during the Nittany Lions’ closing stretch.

Still, Maryland maintained a 31-28 lead at halftime thanks to five straight points from Young, who drained a 3-pointer and a midrange jumper within a 62-second span.


No. 1 Purdue at Maryland

Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

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