No. 10 Penn State cruises by Maryland in final regular season game

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No. 10 Penn State cruises by Maryland in final regular season game

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Trace McSorley threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as No. 10 Penn State closed out its regular season Saturday afternoon with a 66-3 rout of Maryland.

McSorley threw touchdown passes of two and nine yards to tight end Mike Gesicki, and ran five yards for a score, all in the first half.

In all, McSorley clicked on 22 of 33 passes for 237 yards, while running seven times for 36, as PSU improved to 10-2.

Backup quarterback Tommy Stevens also rushed 12 times for 113 yards and three scores and threw a TD pass to reserve tight end Tom Pancoast.

In addition, Saquon Barkley ran 16 times for 77 yards and two TDs.

Henry Darmstadter kicked a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter for Maryland, which finished 4-8.

• McSorley, identified at one point as “McFlurry” by the press box announcer, put it up 29 times in the first half alone, completing 19 for 205 yards and both his touchdowns. The first was a two-yard shovel pass to Gesicki, the second a nine-yard toss to the tight end, who made a one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone. McSorley also ran for a first-half TD.

• McSorley has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 27 straight games. His 11 rushing scores this season equal a school record for QBs set by Michael Robinson in 2005. He also joined Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett as the only players in Big Ten history with at least 25 touchdown passes and 10 rushing TDs in the same season. Barrett did so in 2014.

• The Lions scored on five of their eight first-half possessions, all but the last of them resulting in touchdowns, and outgained the Terps, 299-179, in the half. PSU, up 31-0 after the first two quarters, had one negative-yardage play in the half, a 10-yard loss on a sack 34 snaps into the game. At that point the Lions led 28-0.

• One of the mysteries of Penn State’s season has been the way in which Stevens, a multi-purpose threat, has been used. Besides serving as McSorley’s backup, he has appeared at running back and receiver, and has been productive in every role. He did not play, however, in the losses to Ohio State and Michigan, when the offense was in need of a jolt, and while there was speculation about an injury, reporters also spotted him dunking a football over the crossbar at the end of one practice.

Stevens — who also did not play against Iowa, Indiana and Rutgers — reappeared last week against Nebraska. And on Saturday, he capped the Lions’ first possession with a 21-yard touchdown run, lining up at running back, taking a handoff, starting right, faking a pitch to Barkley as he headed in the opposite direction and then continuing to the end zone.

• Stevens replaced McSorley at QB with 5:46 left in the third quarter. He finished the day 3 of 7 for 11 yards through the air, with his TD a four-yarder to Pancoast. Stevens also caught one pass for four yards.

• Maryland attempted a trick play on its third offensive snap, on which wide receiver D.J. Moore took a lateral and looked to throw. The Lions diagnosed the play, but as he was being hauled down Moore completed a backwards over-the-head flip to Jahrvis Davenport, albeit for a loss of six.

• Safety Troy Apke did not play the first half while serving a suspension for a targeting penalty incurred last week against Nebraska. Nick Scott started in his place, and Ayron Monroe also saw time. Apke returned in the second half.

• Defensive end Ryan Buchholz (Great Valley) and offensive tackle Ryan Bates (Archbishop Wood) returned, each after missing the previous three games with undisclosed leg injuries suffered in the Oct. 28 loss to Ohio State. Buchholz was part of the defensive line rotation, while Bates, who normally plays left tackle, manned the right side in garbage time.

• Wide receiver/special teams star Irv Charles was also back, after being held out of the Nebraska game for undisclosed reasons. Linebacker Manny Bowen sat out his third straight game after violating a team rule, according to coach James Franklin.

• Lions center Connor McGovern suffered a leg injury in the second quarter and was replaced by Zach Simpson. McGovern returned, however, in the second half.

Penn State tops Utah to win NIT championship

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Penn State tops Utah to win NIT championship

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NEW YORK -- Flavor Flav had his red cap flipped backward as he pulled out his iPhone on the Madison Square Garden court. Flav held the camera steady and recorded cousin Shep Garner clip the final strands of the championship net and wave it toward the Penn State die-hards.

Flav's T-shirt at the NIT said it all for the Nittany Lions: Believe the hype!

Garner hit the 3-pointer that brought rapper and reality star Flavor Flav to his feet and helped send Penn State on its way to an NIT title in an 82-66 victory over Utah on Thursday night.

The fourth-seeded Nittany Lions (26-13) also knocked off No. 1 seed Notre Dame in the tournament en route to winning their first NIT title since 2009.

"This means the whole world to me right now ," Flavor Flav said.

They were pretty pumped in Happy Valley, too.

"I think we set the standard," Garner said. "We preach defense and rebounding, but now we have something we can always go to. We won something. We're champions."

Flavor Flav, member of the seminal `80s rap group Public Enemy, sang along to "Fight the Power" as it blasted in the Garden and had the PSU student section chanting "Flav! Flav! Flav!" as the Nittany Lions pulled away for a program-defining championship under coach Pat Chambers.

Lamar Stevens scored 28 points, Josh Reaves had 18 and Tony Carr had 15 points and 14 assists for Penn State.

Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center has a long-standing reputation as one of the dreariest arenas in college basketball. Penn State fans, from rappers to silver-haired alumni, packed the Garden all the way to the last row of the upper deck.

Penn State football coach James Franklin, who led the program to a Pinstripe Bowl victory in 2014, was in the house. Flavor Flav stole the show a few rows behind the PSU bench. Wearing a T-shirt that read "33 Shep Garner," Flavor Flav danced all night in his seat. Flavor Flav popped his T-shirt and raised the roof in the same arena where Public Enemy once tore down the house.

"I think we've proven to teams across the country that Penn State basketball is here to stay," Chambers said.

The clutch moment came in the third quarter when Garner -- who became Penn State's career 3-point leader in the tournament run -- hit a 3 for his first basket of the game and a 49-41 lead that had the fans going wild.

"To see my cousin break records, win trophies, all that, he deserves it," Flavor Flav said. "The whole team deserves it."

Reaves hit a crashing layup on a three-point play that stretched the lead to 11 and Stevens wagged his tongue toward the PSU fans on a jumper that helped blow open the game.

Flavor Flav raised an arm in the air when Garner sank a 3 early in the fourth for a 68-49 edge that all but put this one away.

The final minutes certainly put some flava in your ear -- half the MSG crowd chanted "We Are!" and the other half bellowed "Penn State!"

Yeah, boy!

Sedrick Barefield hit six 3s and scored 22 points for second-seeded Utah (23-12).

"You're always kind of watching the NIT and maybe you think of it as the consolation prize or whatever," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "They have no idea how cool this was for us."

Big picture
Utah: David Collette, Justin Bibbins and Tyler Rawson are among the seniors moving on. ... Bibbins scored 15 points.

Penn State: Stevens reached 1,000 career points was named most outstanding player. ... Chambers, a former assistant coach under Jay Wright at Villanova, took over in 2011 and has struggled to find any kind of regular success. The Nittany Lions have never made the NCAA Tournament under Chambers and they'll have just their second winning record in seven seasons. But Penn State's 26 wins are second-highest in program history. The Nittany Lions won a record 27 games in 2008-09.

Big crowd
The 11,175 fans at MSG were the most for an NIT final since 2005.

"And you say we're a football school," Chambers cracked.

Something different
The NIT was a bit of a mad scientist in the college basketball lab. The game featured four 10-minute quarters. The tournament also implemented the FIBA 3-point line (22 feet, 1.75 inches), NBA-width lane of 16 inches, and a 20-second shot clock following offensive rebounds.

Penn State dominates Mississippi State to reach NIT title game

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Penn State dominates Mississippi State to reach NIT title game

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NEW YORK -- Nearly a month after Penn State was bounced out of the Big Ten Tournament, the Nittany Lions are back at Madison Square Garden with another chance to win a championship.

Tony Carr scored 21 points, Shep Garner added 18 while breaking the school record for career 3-pointers and Penn State routed Mississippi State 75-60 in the National Invitation Tournament semifinals Tuesday night.

"Of course we were a little disappointed not to make the (NCAA) Tournament, but we made another goal," Garner said. "We saw we were in the NIT and our goal was to get to New York and win it. That's what everyone wants to do. We put ourselves in position to do so."

The fourth-seeded Nittany Lions (25-13) will play No. 2 seed Utah for the title Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

After the score was tied 9-all, Penn State ended the first quarter on a 9-2 run. From there, the Nittany Lions opened the second with a 19-0 spurt capped by Garner's 3 off an assist from Carr to make it 37-11.

With football coach James Franklin cheering from the stands, Penn State went up 42-23 at halftime and led by as many as 27.

Mississippi State (25-12) wasn't able to get within 20 again until there was 7:56 left in the game. Abdul Ado's dunk made it 65-47, but that was the closest the Bulldogs got before the waning moments.

"We were really impatient," Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. "Once we started falling behind, we got anxious and we were shooting quick. Quick, bad shots and it just like, snowballed."

Tyson Carter scored 19 points off the bench to lead No. 4 seed Mississippi State. Ado had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Lamar Stevens scored 17 for Penn State, which shot 11 of 20 from 3-point territory. Carr had six assists and five rebounds.

Big picture
Penn State: While the Nittany Lions would have preferred to play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011, they made the NIT for the first time under seventh-year coach Pat Chambers. Penn State's last trip to the NIT title game was in 2009, when it beat Baylor for the crown. The school's only other appearance in the final was a loss to Minnesota in 1998.

Mississippi State: With just one senior on the roster, the Bulldogs will return most of their team and have something positive to build off as they try to move up the rankings in the rugged SEC next season.

Record producer
With his six 3-pointers, Garner broke Penn State's record for 3s in an NIT along with the school mark of 332 held by Pete Lisicky (1995-98). Garner also had six 3s in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal loss to Purdue, giving him 12 in his last two games at Madison Square Garden and 334 for his career.

"They say the record is an individual record, but I've had a lot of teammates that had a lot to do with the record," Garner said. "A lot of people that set screens for me to get me open, break passes to them, they put it right on the button for me and I just finish the job. That's a team record. It's a lot of people that had stuff to do with it. I tip my hat to my teammates and my coaches to put me in a position to do something special like that."

Up next
Penn State: Will try to win the second NIT championship in school history when it faces Utah (23-11), which beat Western Kentucky 69-64 in the first semifinal.

Mississippi State: Starts preparing for a promising 2018-19 season.