No. 21 Maryland collapses at Penn State for one more painful road loss


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — With the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament within reach, No. 21 Maryland needed to win in a place where it has struggled for years.

With just seconds remaining Sunday afternoon, it appeared the Terrapins would do just that. But Penn State’s Camren Wynter intervened to hand the Terps one more frustrating defeat away from home.

The Nittany Lions erased a 15-point second-half deficit, and Wynter’s layup with 0.5 seconds left gave them a 65-64 victory. The loss was Maryland’s sixth in a row at Bryce Jordan Center dating from 2017, and it left the Terps 1-9 in Big Ten road games during Coach Kevin Willard’s first season.

It also ensured the Terps (20-11, 11-9) would not secure a top-four seed and a double bye in the Big Ten tournament. Games scheduled for later Sunday would determine Maryland’s seed; it will begin play in the tournament’s second round Thursday in Chicago.

“We had some lapses that led to threes and gave them momentum,” Willard said. “I thought we made some plays but needed to be a little more solid a few more times on the defensive end. We’ve played well, gave good effort and were physical, but when you struggle at times defensively on the road, teams will take advantage of those moments.”

A Wynter layup with 43 seconds left had given Penn State (19-12, 10-10) a 63-62 lead, but Maryland’s Julian Reese countered with 19 seconds to go, putting the Terps ahead by one. On the decisive possession, Penn State’s Seth Lundy was at the top of the arc as the Maryland defense collapsed on Jalen Pickett, who drove the baseline. Pickett found Lundy, whose contested three-point try was off before Wynter gathered the rebound after three Terps in the area couldn’t corral it. He put the ball in, and Maryland was stuck with another deflating loss.

Willard felt his team played “great” defense on the play, but its inability to box out was costly.

“We tried to slap the ball instead of grabbing the ball [on the rebound], and we slapped the ball right out of our own hands,” he said. “And that’s how it fell right into [Wynter’s] hands. We’ll learn from it. You’ve got to grab the rebound. You can’t slap it.”

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Maryland senior guard Jahmir Young had a game-high 26 points; he shot 9 for 17 from the field, 3 for 6 from the three-point line and 5 for 6 on free throws. He added eight rebounds but was left yearning for more.

“We just came up short,” he said. “I’m not worried about my personal stats if we didn’t get the win. It’s just a tough loss.”

It was the Terps’ second in a row following a 73-62 letdown Wednesday at Ohio State. The Big Ten tournament is next, which means at least the Terps don’t have any more road games ahead. Maryland went 2-1 in neutral-site games this season, including an 88-70 win over eventual ACC co-champion Miami in November.

“We’ve played well [in neutral-site games],” Willard said. “… It’s tough to win on the road in this conference. We had it. The last four road games, we had our chances; we just haven’t been able to finish it.”

Maryland cruised to a 35-22 lead at halftime, extended that edge to 50-35 with 12:11 to go and was still up 57-45 with 6:49 left. But then Penn State rained on Maryland’s parade from the perimeter.

Two three-pointers by Andrew Funk and another by Myles Dread got Penn State within 59-54. Lundy and Funk had baskets to get the Nittany Lions within one point with less than 90 seconds left, setting the stage for Wynter to play hero.

Pickett led Penn State with 16 points and went 2 for 4 from the perimeter. Funk had 14 and was 4 for 9. Dread had 11 and was 3 for 7.

Reese had 12 points and five rebounds for Maryland. Don Carey and Ian Martinez had 11 points apiece, but the Terps managed just 29 points after halftime.

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Carey and Pickett met after the game to share a hug. They played together at Siena in the 2019-20 season. That was the second of Carey’s four college stops; he previously played at Mount St. Mary’s, then suited up for Georgetown for two seasons after leaving Siena. Pickett spent three seasons with the Saints before playing the past two for Penn State.

Pickett blossomed into a Wooden Award finalist with the Nittany Lions. Carey has carved out an essential role in his first season with Maryland.

“Me and Jalen are pretty close,” Carey said. “… I actually redshirted his freshman year. So we got to grow our relationship there and compete a lot. Our love has grown throughout the years. I’m really happy for him. He’s been playing really good this year.”

Young scored at least 20 points for the ninth time this season. He also exceeded 500 points for the season, making him the 50th player in Maryland history to do so, according to the team.

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