Brockington, Defense Lead Charge in Upset over No. 4 Maryland

Story posted December 11, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Andrew Destin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Despite being outrebounded by 15 and shooting half as many free throws, the host Penn State Nittany Lions (8-2, 1-1) shocked the college basketball world with a 76-69 victory over the previously-undefeated No. 4 Maryland Terrapins (10-1, 1-1) Tuesday night.

A stifling Penn State defense forced 13 turnovers in the first half and 20 in total, allowing the Nittany Lions to attempt 11 more field goals than the Terrapins. While Izaiah Brockington’s three steals paced the defensive unit, head coach Patrick Chambers credited the season-high crowd of 8,643 for creating a hostile Bryce Jordan Center.

“What a home court advantage we had tonight,” said Chambers. “There were situations where I couldn’t hear in the huddles. I couldn’t hear talking to our guys on the bench, that’s fantastic. I really appreciate the students.”

For the only marquee home matchup before Penn State’s students head home for winter break, the “Legion of Blue” student section provided ample energy for the Nittany Lions from the opening tip. Jumping out to a 22-12 advantage with 10 minutes to play in the first half, the Nittany Lions generated 10 turnovers prior to ceding possession for the first time.

The Terrapins crashed the glass all night and especially so in the first half, securing 25 rebounds. Their last possession in the opening 20 minutes featured four consecutive offensive rebounds, ultimately being capped off by a Darryl Morsell layup to trim Penn State’s lead to seven. Myreon Jones would answer quickly with a corner three to beat the buzzer for the Nittany Lions, giving Penn State a 40-30 lead at the break.

Despite playing in its sixth game in 13 days, Maryland roared back in the second half to trim its deficit to two at 52-50 after a 3-pointer from Anthony Cowan Jr. With 16 points, Cowan Jr. led the Terrapins in scoring on 3-of-9 shooting from distance and 5-of-17 overall, both well below his season averages.

Trading baskets for the next few possessions, the Nittany Lions clung to a 3-point lead with 5:15 to go. With the shot clock winding down once more, Penn State turned to defensive stopper Izaiah Brockington to beat the buzzer from distance. Coming into the game shooting 25 percent from beyond the arc, Brockington doubled the Nittany Lions lead en route to a game-high 10 second half points.

“Brockington’s three, with really good defense, was a big time shot,” said Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon. “They deserved to win. We’ve got a long way to go as a team, and sometimes when you keep winning, you don’t realize it.”

The Nittany Lions and Terrapins mostly traded baskets from that point on as the Penn State lead never dipped below five points. The win marks Chambers’ 15th win over a ranked opponent, the most by any Penn State coach in program history. The Nittany Lions also extended their home winning streak to 10 games.

Though star Lamar Stevens tied for the team lead in scoring tonight with 15, Penn State saw five players score 12 or more points. With unprecedented depth, Stevens believes this Nittany Lions squad could be one for the history books if it plays like it did Tuesday night.

“In previous years, it was always a hero that would step up and be the reason that we won those games,” said Stevens when referencing past upset victories. “Tonight, it was everybody.”

 


Andrew Destin is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ajd6360@psu.edu.