STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Rutgers hit another speed bump on the road, and it could damage its NCAA Tournament hopes.
Myles Dread hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to lift No. 16 Penn State over Rutgers 65-64 on Wednesday night after the Nittany Lions blew a 21-point lead.
Trailing 40-19 late in the first half, the Scarlet Knights tied the game at 62 with 1:32 left in the game on Geo Baker’s layup. His jumper gave Rutgers a two-point lead with 42 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Dread hit his 3-pointer and Akwasi Yeboah’s shot at before the buzzer was off.
Izaiah Brockington scored 16 points and Lamar Stevens added nine for the Nittany Lions (21-7, 11-6 Big Ten). The Scarlet Knights have had a season to remember, but most of the highlights came in the first half when they went 12-3 up until Jan. 7. Since then they’re 6-8.
Jacob Young scored 13 points for the Scarlet Knights (18-11, 9-9), who lost their third straight. They dropped to 1-8 on the road.
Penn State led for all but 2:04 and by double digits well into the second before the Scarlet Knights rallied.
Beforehand, the Scarlet Knights had cut it to 51-50 with a 15-2 run that began as Young found ways to penetrate Penn State’s defense.
Young, who entered the night averaging eight points per game, hit a layup with 14:45 left and added two more along with a dunk from Ron Harper Jr. and a layup from Myles Johnson to pull the Scarlet Knights within a point with 10:03 left.
Stevens scored the next two baskets and Penn State got some more offense to go back up by 10.
Both teams played sturdy defense early before the Nittany Lions edged ahead 13-10 eight minutes in. Stevens increased his team’s lead with a 3-pointer from the corner two minutes later. Stevens’ first make of the game sparked a 27-9 run to make it a 21-point lead.
Rutgers is expected to give a two-year contract extension for coach Steve Pikiell, according to NJ Advance Media.