Rutgers 76, Penn St. 71
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP)—Quincy Douby’s game puzzled Penn State.
After a slow start, Rutgers’ high-scoring guard found his range. When he was guarded, he just shot over the defender or stepped back to sink a 3-point bucket.
Douby’s 32 points and eight 3-pointers helped the Scarlet Knights build a big lead and turn back a furious second-half rally to defeat the Nittany Lions 76-71 on Tuesday in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament.
“When he gets the ball, you don’t know what he’s going to do,” Penn State’s Travis Parker said.
More often than not, Douby was shooting. The 6-foot-3 guard hit 11 of 19 field goals, including 8-for-14 from 3-point territory. Several of those 3s were from NBA range, including a 23-footer that gave Rutgers a 52-33 lead with about 16:30 to play.
The Scarlet Knights (19-13) move on to a second-round game on Thursday at St. Joseph’s. The loss dropped Penn State to 15-15, the school’s best season since going 21-12 in 2000-01. That was the last time it played in the postseason, going to the NCAA tournament.
Douby, who came into the night as the seventh-leading scorer in Division I at 25.1 points, said he’s been taking extra practice shots in the gym since Rutgers lost last week in the Big East tournament.
“I’ve just been real focused,” Douby said. “I came over here real confident and shot the ball well.”
Marquis Webb added 17 points for Rutgers, which extended coach Gary Waters’ career at the school by at least one more game. Waters announced on March 1 that he was stepping down at the end of the season.
“Next year, they should be an NCAA team. They have that ability,” Waters said. “We add a couple more guys and this is going to be a frightening program.”
Parker, in his last game for Penn State, had 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Ben Luber added 17 points, hitting 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
Nittany Lions coach Ed DeChellis, in the third year of his rebuilding project, hopes his team improves next year, too. The Nittany Lions had four straight losing seasons before finishing with a .500 record this year.
“We’ll take this season and build on it,” he said. “We had some opportunities that we let slip away.”
The Scarlet Knights built a big lead early in the second half off the shooting of Douby and Webb, who opened the half by nailing a desperation 3 from near the scorer’s table.
Penn State rallied behind full-court pressure and sloppy ball-handling by Rutgers and Jamelle Cornley’s dunk cut the lead to 65-59 with 2:20 left.
But Douby hit another 3 and sank a couple free throws to help seal the game. Douby’s 32 points on the night gave him 809 for the season, tying the single-season school record set by Bob Lloyd in 1966-67.
“Obviously, Quincy went to work today, and when he goes to work, it’s hard to guard him,” Waters said.
A vocal student section cheered as Penn State came onto the floor and the Nittany Lions didn’t disappoint, staying close to Rutgers until midway through the first half.
Then Penn State started missing shots, while Rutgers couldn’t miss from long range. Down 14-13, Rutgers’ Marquis Webb started a 14-0 run with a 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Scarlet Knights a lead they would not relinquish.
Penn State managed to force 19 turnovers, many off backcourt pressure as the Nittany Lions tried to rally.
Parker, the team’s lone senior, was optimistic that the Nittany Lions would improve next year without him even though his collegiate career ended with a loss.
“I got a bad taste in my mouth now,” he said. “I’ll have that for a while.”