Terps men’s basketball fend off Penn State, 74-68

COLLEGE PARK – On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Maryland men’s basketball team had its biggest sellout at the Xfinity Center since March 2020, right before the world changed.

The Terps (17-8, 8-6) hosted Big Ten foe Penn State (14-11, 5-9), and while the game was relatively close for the most part, Maryland pulled away late for the 74-68 victory over the Nittany Lions.

“Our building is loud,” said Terps head coach Kevin Willard. “It’s a great home court. You need it in this league because winning on the road in this conference is unlike anything I’ve experienced.”

This win marks Maryland’s 10th straight conference home win, a streak dating back to last season.

Hakim Hart had his best game all season for the Terps, as he went off for 23 total points, including 15 in the second half. The performance marked the most points Hart scored during his career in a Big Ten game.

“Me penetrating the defense went well,” said Hart. “Just getting to my teammates and getting my floaters and my layups worked.”

Jan. 08, 2023: Maryland guard Hakim Hart (13) dribbles the ball during a Big Ten men’s basketball game between the Terrapins and Ohio State at Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland. (Michael R. Smith/The Sports Pulse).

In addition, Jahmir Young, usually Maryland’s leading scorer each game, scored double figures for the 11th game in a row with 18 points in the win.

“Hakim is the heart of the team,” said Young. “He does all the stuff offensively and defensively. He was on tonight, and I was feeding off of him.”

Also, Julian Reese dropped 11 points and blocked three shots, while Donta Scott put up nine points and 10 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Penn State’s leading scorers were Kanye Clary with 17 points and Jalen Pickett with 15 points.

Early on, the Terps led 11-3 for the first eight minutes after going on an 8-0 run, as the defense held the Nittany Lions to only one of 10 shots from the floor during that span. For the first 13 minutes of the contest, Penn State didn’t score a field goal.

One of the highlights in the first half was an Ian Martinez alley-oop dunk off a feed from Young on a fastbreak to improve Maryland’s lead to 18-6 with 8:27 left in the first half.

Seth Lundy hit a 3-pointer for the Nittany Lions to tie the game late in the second quarter, but Young answered with a couple of buckets as the Terps led 31-28 at the half.

After Penn State briefly led 35-32 off a 3-pointer made by Pickett, Maryland then scored nine consecutive points, capped off by a Young triple for a 41-35 lead.

The Nittany Lions kept it close for much of the second half, but the Terps eventually went on another 9-0 run to make it 64-52 with 2:30 left.

Maryland held Penn State without a point for more than five minutes en route to a 12-point lead in the final minutes.

The Terps defense stepped up big time by scoring 17 points off turnovers.

Next up, Maryland will be back home on Thursday, Feb. 16, as they host top-ranked Purdue at 6:30 p.m.

Feature photo by Michael R. Smith/The Sports Pulse

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