Stevens sets BJC record
UNIVERSITY PARK (AP) — On a night where Penn State’s guards deferred to their bigs, Nittany Lions forwards Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins were too much for Northwestern to handle.
Stevens set a Bryce Jordan Center record with 14 field goals and scored 16 of his career-high 30 points in the first half and Watkins had 18 points and 17 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season as Penn State beat Northwestern 78-63 on Friday night.
“They beat us up in the paint,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “They beat us on drives and post-ups and it was just too much for us to overcome tonight.”
Both played with a visible edge — Watkins backed his marks violently into the paint and Stevens screamed in exaltation after numerous dunks. It was a needed release after a somber ride home from Maryland where the Nittany Lions lost a game they thought they should’ve won Tuesday.
“Sometimes, a loss like that, where you’re winning for 36 minutes and you come up short, it can fracture a young team,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said.
Tony Carr added 12 points for the Nittany Lions (12-5, 2-2 Big Ten), who led the Wildcats (10-7, 1-3) for all but 61 seconds.
Bryant McIntosh returned to the Northwestern lineup from a one-game injury absence and led the Wildcats with 18 points.
Penn State took control with its best shooting half in more than a decade. The Nittany Lions made 71 percent (17 of 24) of their field goals in the first half and led 41-34 at halftime. Penn State last made at least 70 percent of its shots against VMI in 2006.
The Nittany Lions used a 9-0 run that spanned four-plus minutes midway through the second to keep the game out of reach. In that time, the Wildcats went 0 for 7 from the field and wouldn’t come closer than six points.
Carr struggled scoring the ball for much of the game. He went just 3 for 13 from the field, but Penn State’s top shooter made other contributions.
He finished with five assists and four rebounds and made 5-for-7 free throws. He also helped hold the Wildcats in check defensively.
Penn State travels to Indiana (8-7, 1-2) on Tuesday.