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#16 Texas A&M Holds Off MBB for Legends Title

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Final Stats |  USATSI Gallery 

November 21, 2017

PENN STATE VS. COLUMBIA
 
87

98


1st Half 2nd
Half
Final
Penn State 40 47 87
16/19
Texas A&M
42 56 98
POSTGAME LINKS
Box Score  | Box Score ( html)
 
 
PENN STATE LEADERS
Points: Tony Carr (31), Lamar Stevens 25
Rebounds: Stevens (7)
  Assists: Stevens (5)
  Blocks: (2) Mike Watkins, Stevens
  Steals: (4) Josh Reaves, Tony Carr
STAT COMPARISON PSU TAM
Field Goal Pct. 50.8 61.5
Field Goals 31-61 33-54
3-Point Field Goal Pct.
26.3 50.0
3-Point Field Goals 5-19 6-12
Free Throws 20-28 26-29
Rebounds 23 36
Assists 15 18
Turnovers 10 16
Steals 14 5
Blocks 5 5

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. --Penn State men's basketball went toe-to-toe with one of the nation's top 20 teams in Texas A&M in the championship game of the Legends Classic, but fell short in the final score, 98-87. The 16th-ranked Aggies shot 61.5 percent for the game and had five players in double figures with 22 points from point guard Duane Wilson and a 21-point, 10-rebound contribution from sophomore forward Robert Williams off the bench.

Scoring the most points of the season with 87, the Nittany Lion offense relied on sophomores Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens, who combined for 56 points. Carr posted his second 30-plus point game of the season and of his career with 31, scoring 21 in the first half alone. Stevens matched his scoring total high of 25 for a regulation game.

Penn State had its second-best shooting percentage from the field at 50.8 percent after a 57.6 mark in the Pittsburgh win the previous night. Defensively, the Nittany Lions forced 16 turnovers and held the Aggies' leading scorer D.J. Hogg to a third of his scoring average with only seven points. Hogg was scoreless in the first half.

"So many lessons to be learned today, so many great experiences that we will look back on and say, `okay this is what we've got to work on,'" said coach Patrick Chambers. "I give Texas A&M credit, they jumped us in the second half and they got to a big lead, but I was really, really proud of our group, and how they responded. We had a shot to cut it to three and the shot didn't go down, but they kept battling, kept fighting."

Neither team held more than a five-point advantage in the first half with 11 lead changes and seven ties. The opening of the half hinted at more of the same action as in the first, but Stevens went to the bench with three personal fouls at the 18:20 mark. The Aggies turned their field goal shooting up a notch while the Nittany Lions struggled from the floor.

Over four-and-a-half minutes, Texas A&M put together a 20-5 run to take a 17-point lead, 70-53, with 12:09 left in the game. Back-to-back baskets for Stevens and back-to-back steals and scores from freshman Jamari Wheeler and Carr knocked the margin to single digits.

Penn State responded again and again, pulling within six at the eight-minute mark, then five, 77-72, with just under six minutes remaining after another Wheeler steal led to a Wheeler layup. Missed shots over the next five minutes by the Nittany Lions allowed the Aggies to take and hold onto a double-digit lead. Penn State scored 10 points in the final 52 seconds, but the field goals were offset by Texas A&M free throws.

Stevens led Penn State in both rebounds and assists, and he and redshirt sophomore forward Mike Watkins had two blocks each. Junior forward Josh Reaves and Carr each had four steals. For the tandem of Carr and Stevens, it was the second time in their careers they had both scored 20 or more points in a game, the last time was in November 2016 versus Duquesne.

The loss to Texas A&M was the first for the Nittany Lions in 2017-18 after starting their season with a 5-0 mark, its best since the 2008-09 campaign.

Penn State returns to the Bryce Jordan Center Friday for the final game of the Legends Classic University Park Regional versus Oral Roberts. The game tips off at 3 p.m. Single-game tickets are available for all Penn State home games, including Friday's contest versus the Golden Eagles. Visit gopsusports.com/tickets/m-baskbl-tickets.html for more information.

Keep up to date with the latest information from Coach Chambers and the Nittany Lions on Twitter by following @Coach_Chambers and @PennStateMBB, on Facebook and Instagram at @PennStateMBB.


 

 

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