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Nittany Lions pick Up B1G Road Win over Michigan

Penn State’s 72-63 victory was only third-ever win at Ann Arbor

ANN ARBOR — The Penn State men’s basketball team (14-5, 4-4) defeated the Michigan Wolverines (11-7, 2-5) 72-63 Wednesday night, winning only their third-ever game in Ann Arbor. The Nittany Lion bench, propelled by graduate guard Curtis Jones Jr.’s 18 second-half points, outscored Michigan’s bench 31-4. Curtis Jones Jr. had a stretch of 11 straight points with just under 13 minutes left in the game to help maintain Penn State’s lead in the second half.

Senior forward Lamar Stevens finished with a game-high 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, including six in the second half. Sophomore guard Myreon Jones and Stevens helped the Nittany Lions get off to a hot start as Myreon Jones had 12 of his 16 in the first half and Stevens scored 15 in the first 20 minutes.

“Our team really had great belief headed into Ohio State and tonight,” said Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers. “I think that’s 75, 80 percent of the battle is believing in what you do, believing in one another, playing for each other, and being great teammates. I feel like we did that tonight, we defended really well, we gave up some offensive rebounds there in the second half, but for the most part we got timely ones.

“And then I thought our seniors stepped up,” Chambers said. “I talked to Curtis (Jones Jr.) before I put him in and I said, ‘these moments are made for seniors and it is your time,’ because I didn’t play him that much in the first half, and he really stepped up in a big way when they started making a run. I’m really proud of our group for coming in here, we know how difficult it is to get a win on the road, any place like Michigan is always hard.”

Curtis Jones Jr. made the most of this time in the second half, hitting three-straight 3-pointers and adding another field goal for 11-straight points over 2:46. Curtis Jones Jr.’s scoring spree helped the Nittany Lions keep their lead and then extend it to 12, 57-45, at the midway point in the half. He had 18 points, tying his season-best, in 15 minutes in the second period.

Curtis Jones Jr’s offensive contribution, helping Penn State to a 15-point lead, 60-45, by the 7:06 mark, balanced Penn State’s stout defense as the Nittany Lions limited the Wolverines to 28.2 percent shooting in the second half.

Michigan rattled off a 9-2 run starting with a Franz Wagner three over three minutes to slice Penn State’s comfortable lead to only five with 3:50 to play. Curtis Jones Jr. responded again with a layup on the left side, and then after a pair of Michigan misses, another layup, and made free throw for a 67-57 advantage.

Michigan battled to the end. Simpson scored with 40 seconds remaining and the Wolverines were scrappy, but four of the Wolverines’ final field goals wouldn’t fall. Sophomore Myles Dread connected on two free throws and Myreon Jones added another to help Penn State secure its first conference road victory of 2019-20.

Penn State grabbed the lead from the jump ball as Stevens scored the seven of the Nittany Lions’ first points. Myreon Jones added a basket for a 9-2 lead. Brandon Johns Jr. scored four of the Wolverines’ next six points, but Stevens was fouled on a baseline jumper and converted the free throw to keep the margin at seven, 15-8.

Michigan took advantage of Stevens going to the bench and used an 11-0 run to take a brief 19-15 lead. Senior forward Mike Watkins hit a jumper to tie the score at 21 and a near-five-minute scoring drought for the Wolverines allowed Penn State to go back up by seven, 28-21.

A Brandon Johns, Jr., trey cut the Michigan deficit to four, but Myreon Jones countered with a triple and added another field goal for a nine-point Nittany Lion lead, 35-26. Myreon Jones and Stevens combined for 26 of Penn State’s first-half points and Stevens ended the scoring in the half with his 14th point for a 37-28 lead behind 48.4 percent shooting from the floor.

The Nittany Lions won back-to-back games against Michigan for the first time since 2008 and 2009.

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