With Penn State’s top two scorers on the night stuck on the bench and Maryland threatening, freshman reserve Nazeer Bostick added to his team’s lead with just over three minutes left.
Bostick crashed the glass for an offensive rebound and finished a layup as point guard Tony Carr and forward Lamar Stevens made their way to the scorer’s table to check back in. Stevens had carried the Nittany Lions offensively in the second half and Carr had been productive, but both went to the bench after picking up their fourth fouls.
Stevens and Carr sat at the scorer’s table and watched their former high school teammate block a shot immediately after his crucial layup put Penn State ahead by six.
“He has the nickname ‘Horse’ because he makes plays like that,” said Stevens, who played with Bostick and Carr at Roman Catholic. “And he comes up big in huge moments, and he’s always done it since high school so it’s not surprising to see Naz being that tough, physical guy.”
Bostick’s play helped the Nittany Lions hold off No. 21 Maryland to earn a 70-64 win Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Stevens scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Carr finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Mike Watkins added 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks for the Nittany Lions (13-12, 5-7 Big Ten), who were coming off a loss to last-place Rutgers.
“Confidence is back,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “It’s restored.”
After taking a 35-29 lead into halftime against Maryland (20-4, 8-3), Stevens and Carr took over.
Stevens hit a pull-up jumper in transition to push the Nittany Lions ahead 38-31. He then pulled down an offensive rebound in the paint and finished before cutting down the lane for a two-handed dunk off an inbounds pass.
Carr followed with a short jumper in the lane, leaning into Maryland’s Jaylen Brantley and rising over the defender to make it 44-31.
The Nittany Lions went ahead 52-38 after Carr found Watkins for a layup inside, forcing Maryland to take a timeout with 9:51 left.
“You got to trust Lamar. Lamar had the hot hand,” Chambers said. “You got to trust Tony’s decision-making. I thought they did a really good job.”
Penn State then had to deal with foul trouble to beat the Terrapins.
Carr went to the bench with his fourth foul with less than seven minutes to play.
Stevens scored the team’s next five points.
He attacked the rim for a dunk attempt to draw a foul on Justin Jackson and hit both free throws before knocking down a jumper over Jackson on the next possession.
Stevens held his follow-through as he turned to go back down the court with the Nittany Lions ahead by 11. Less than one minute later, after hitting a free throw to complete his five-point run, he joined Carr on the bench with his fourth foul.
Maryland sliced Penn State’s lead to 62-58 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Jackson and Jaylen Brantley.
But Bostick, who came into the game averaging 5.8 minutes per game, put an end to Maryland’s run on the ensuing possession with his offensive rebound and layup.
“That ultimately kind of got us over the hump to win the game,” Carr said. “It’s big, man. That’s my best friend. I’m just happy to share that moment with him.”
Notes: Terrence Samuel missed Tuesday’s game due to illness, Penn State announced on Twitter before the game. Chambers said Julian Moore was also sick. Moore had nine points in 18 minutes. ... Maryland star Melo Trimble finished with 11 points and was limited to one point in the second half. Jackson led the Terrapins with 14 points. ... Penn State faces Illinois on the road at 2 p.m. Saturday.