Big Ten: No. 19 Maryland holds off Penn State
State College, Pa. — A three-point win on the road was enough to put a postgame smile on the face of Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. Knowing he has three go-to players to carry the Terrapins was even more comforting.
Dez Wells scored 22 points, Melo Trimble had 20 and Jake Layman added 13 as No. 19 Maryland used strong shooting in the second half to scramble past Penn State 76-73 Saturday night.
The Terrapins (21-5, 9-4 Big Ten), the nation's No. 2 team in free throws made with 447, sank 21 of 26 and were 9 of 19 from 3-point range. Trimble, a freshman, was 12 of 12 at the foul line.
"It's really a good feeling," Turgeon said. "I have three guys to go to. Some guys have zero, some have one. I can call on any one of them. They are carrying us offensively."
Penn State (15-11, 3-10) was led by 25 points from D.J. Newbill, who reached double figures for the 100th time in his career. Geno Thorpe added 17 points and Brandon Taylor had 11 for the Nittany Lions, who have lost four of five.
Maryland's win broke a three-game losing streak in conference road games.
"Everybody's talking how we can't win on the road," Turgeon said. "We're getting traction, we're getting better.
"We've been hard to watch offensively at times, and we'll continue to get better defensively. We can become a lot better basketball team than we are and I think our guys are beginning to believe that."
The Terps led 72-70 with a minute remaining when they committed their 11th turnover. Newbill then slipped and lost control of the ball while heading to the basket — only the seventh turnover for Penn State, a season low. Trimble was fouled and hit a pair of free throws.
Newbill recovered with a long 3-pointer to bring the Nittany Lions to 74-73 with 13.6 seconds left.
Trimble was fouled on the inbounds pass and put the Terps up by three. Newbill took a 25-foot shot that bounced high off the rim and then off the top of the backboard, ending the game.
"We put a lot into this," Turgeon said. "We're 3-4 on the road; that's not bad in the league for a team that was picked No. 10 and has a lot of new guys."
Penn State coach Patrick Chambers watched another potential win slip away. The Nittany Lions have lost six games by six points or fewer.
He also watched Newbill's final shot bounce away.
"He had just hit the same one," Chambers said. "I have to trust him on that shot. The back iron looked good; I thought it was good."
Jared Nickens' consecutive 3-pointers pushed the Terps to a 55-42 advantage during a 22-8 run by Maryland to open the second half.
An 11-0 surge for Penn State a couple of minutes later with 3s from Shep Garner and Taylor knotted the score at 60 with 8:57 left.
The game's pace slowed with multiple fouls called. But Layman blocked Thorpe's fast-break layup attempt and sank a short jumper of his own to put the Terps up 70-64 before Newbill's 3 brought the Lions within three at the 2:09 mark.
Penn State's Jordan Dickerson fouled out with 1:50 remaining. It was the team's 10th foul of the half, giving the ball back to Maryland and infuriating Chambers in the process.
"It's the worst call I've ever seen in my entire life," he said. "They're pulling Jordan Dickerson down.
"It's frustrating and disappointing, but we have to take the refs out of the game and we didn't. With 1:50 left, it was a huge play."