Saturday’s Big Ten: Watkins lifts Penn State

Travis Johnson
Associated Press

State College, Pa. — Penn State coach Patrick Chambers discussed end-of-game scenarios often over the last several days with his young team. He reminded Tony Carr about those conversations with three words and a slap on the rear end as the point guard trotted out to attempt two big free throws Saturday.

“You’ve got this,” Chambers said.

Sure enough, he did.

Carr made two foul shots with 5 seconds left, and Penn State beat No. 24 Minnesota 52-50 for its first victory over a ranked opponent in almost a year.

“He wanted the basketball,” Chambers said. “Make or miss, no matter what happened today, you’ve got yourself a really good point guard who’s got a lot of courage.”

Mike Watkins had 15 points and 15 rebounds and Payton Banks added 10 points for the Nittany Lions (11-7, 3-2 Big Ten) who recovered from a 32-22 halftime deficit.

It was Penn State’s first win over a Top 25 team since Feb. 17 against then-No. 4 Iowa at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Reggie Lynch scored 12 points for the Golden Gophers (15-4, 3-3), who were outscored 26-15 over the final 17 minutes after leading by as many as 14 in the first half.

“It was about as disappointing as it gets,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “Not sure what we were doing at the end. We didn’t block out twice, we got stops obviously, you hold a team to 30 percent, you think you have an opportunity to win the game.”

Penn State grabbed its first lead of the game on Watkins’ three-point play with 9:59 remaining. Banks made a big 3 with 2:12 remaining and Watkins hit two key free throws, setting up Carr’s big play in the final seconds.

Maryland 62, (at) Illinois 56: Anthony Cowan scored a career-high 19 points. Maryland (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) faced a better team than the one it dominated early in the season, but a sloppy second half from the Illini allowed the Terrapins to come back and hold off the Illini in the final five minutes.

The Terrapins had a cold start, including a 3-for-13 first half from beyond the arc, but Maryland responded to shoot 43 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point range to make up for earlier mistakes.

Melo Trimble and Jaylen Brantley each added 12 points.

Maverick Morgan led the way for Illinois (12-6, 2-3 Big Ten) with 15 points and five rebounds. Leron Black scored 14 points and added nine rebounds.