Derek Simpson scored 16 points as Rutgers stormed back from a 19-point second-half deficit to post a 59-56 road win over Penn State in a wild Big Ten contest Sunday in University Park, Pa.
Penn State led 31-21 at halftime before building some early second-half momentum. The Nittany Lions scored the first nine points of the second stanza, as Camren Wynter made a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play, followed by Andrew Funk’s 3-pointer for a 40-21 advantage.
Rutgers (18-11, 10-8 Big Ten) used a 9-0 run to get the deficit down to 10 points, and the margin was still 10 with under eight minutes remaining. Cam Spencer contributed a layup and two free throws to help the visitors get close, before Caleb McConnell’s 3-pointer tied the game with 2:36 to play.
Seth Lundy knocked down two free throws to regain the lead for the hosts with 1:31 left. The lead didn’t last long, however, as the true freshman Simpson converted a three-point play seven seconds later.
Clifford Omoruyi’s second-chance layup with 32 seconds left gave Rutgers some breathing room. Penn State (17-12, 8-10) had several opportunities down the stretch, but the team committed two turnovers and missed two 3-pointers.
Penn State missed its final 14 shots from the floor.
Spencer contributed 13 points for the Scarlet Knights, while McConnell pitched in 12 points and Omoruyi had nine points and 13 rebounds.
Wynter (16 points) and Jalen Pickett (11) were the only double-digit scorers for the Nittany Lions.
Rutgers scored five of the game’s first seven points before allowing Penn State to score 21 of the next 23. Wynter made back-to-back 3-pointers early in that stretch before Pickett added eight points to help the Nittany Lions build a 23-7 advantage.
The Scarlet Knights only scored four points from 17:04 of the first half to the 4:57 mark, going 2-of-17 from the field during that stretch.
Pickett’s 3-pointer gave the hosts a 31-14 lead with just under three minutes to go in the half. However, Rutgers responded by closing the session with seven straight points — all by Simpson — to make it a 10-point game at the break.
–Field Level Media