No. 4 Maryland Suffers 1st Loss of Season with 76-69 Upset vs. Penn State

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2019

Penn State forward Mike Watkins (24) hauls in a rebound over Maryland guard Eric Ayala (5) the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in State College, Pa., on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Barry Reeger/Associated Press

Penn State handed No. 4 Maryland its first loss of the year with a 76-69 upset Tuesday night.

The Terrapins entered the day with a 10-0 record but couldn't overcome a season-high 20 turnovers in a rough showing at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions were much more efficient offensively with a balanced attack that included five players scoring in double figures, led by Mike Watkins with 15 points to go with his 11 rebounds and four blocks.

Lamar Stevens added 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

It's the first time Penn State (8-2) has beaten a Top Five opponent since 2016 but the fourth straight year it has beaten Maryland at home.

Maryland had grown comfortable playing from behind this season, including the last game against Illinois where the team trailed by 15 in the second half before pulling out a last-second win. The squad found itself in a similar position Tuesday, falling behind by as many 13 points, including 10 at halftime.

Anthony Cowan Jr. had been the team's hero at times this year, but he struggled in this one while shooting 5-of-17 on his way to 15 points. He had a team-high four turnovers while the squad failed to hold onto the basketball.

It was part of a strong defensive effort for Penn State that included 10 blocks and 10 steals, often leading to easy opportunities the other way.

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Jalen Smith had his seventh double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but he wasn't active enough to help Maryland inside and the Nittany Lions dominated on both ends of the court.

Penn State was coming off a 32-point loss to Ohio State in its last game, but it regrouped in a big way to secure its biggest win of the season so far.

Maryland failed its first true road test and will now have another one in its next game against No. 22 Seton Hall.

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