UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nazeer Bostick may have made a bold proclamation that inadvertently became bulletin board material on Friday night.
Rider coach Kevin Baggett reached for his marker and whiteboard where he scrawled the Penn State guards’ words toward the Rider bench during warm-ups and relayed the message to his players.
“He said, ‘This game will be over in the first 10 minutes,'” Baggett said. “They didn’t even want to hear anything I had to say from there. There was no pep talk or anything I needed to say from there.”
Frederick Scott scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Rider to a 71-70 win over Penn State on Friday.
Dimencio Vaughn scored 16, Tyere Marshall added 15 and Stevie Jordan scored 12 for the Broncs (6-5), who trailed by as many as 10 with 14:18 to play.
Josh Reaves scored 10 points and grabbed a career-best 13 rebounds for the Nittany Lions (10-4), who had their three-game winning streak snapped after leading for all but 4:52.
Afterward, Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said he heard a different story about how the pregame incident between Bostick and Rider’s coaching staff unfolded.
“I don’t know if that’s true,” Chambers said. “I heard that the coach had said something to Naz. I’m not here for hearsay. I’m here to coach my team and obviously I didn’t do a very good job of that tonight.”
Lamar Stevens added 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Shep Garner scored 18 on six 3-pointers for Penn State. Tony Carr and Mike Watkins chipped in 10 points apiece for the Nittany Lions.
But Scott played the biggest role in the final four minutes.
He scored seven straight points in a 1:57 span to cut Penn State’s lead to 65-64 with four minutes to play. He gave Rider a 66-65 lead with a pair of free throws with 1:23 left before Garner hit a 3 that put Penn State up 70-66 with 22 seconds left. Jordan’s layup with 14 seconds left pulled Rider within two points and set the stage for Scott’s winner, which he made despite tight defense from Garner.
“We wanted to get to Freddie rolling back,” Baggett said. “They tried to press us and actually they left the court open for us a little bit to be able to have a little space and find Freddie.”
REAVES DOING IT ALL
Reaves has been arguably Penn State’s best defender for a while, but the junior is doing so much more than frustrating other teams’ shooters.
His career-best game on the glass also included five steals and eight assists.
None were prettier than his slick bounce pass to Julian Moore who turned the feed into a dunk to put Penn State up 28-22 late in the first.
“We would’ve lost by 10 if he wasn’t out there,” Chambers said. “He’s the guy that people need to be talking about a lot more. This is a guy that’s setting the table for a lot of his teammates, he goes out and competes and is very consistent.”
ALLEN’S FIRST SLUMP
Jordan Allen has started quickly in his first season for the Broncs. He posted double figures in each of his first 10 games but was held to eight in each of the last two.
He was held scoreless in the second half inside the Bryce Jordan Center.
“He needs to watch more film,” Baggett said. “I think he’s in a rush to really try and get his shots off and now he’s got to learn how to use shot fakes when guys are closing down on him pretty hard. Just got to be patient.”
Rider: Broncs fans will enjoy watching redshirt freshman Allen develop and he appears to have a nice supporting cast around him. Baggett was asked if he’d have been happy with a 7-5 nonconference slate thus far and responded with a resounding, ‘Yes.’
Penn State: The Nittany Lions have one nonconference game left before returning to conference play where they expect to make some noise. Penn State is just 30-80 in Big Ten play since Chambers took over in 2011 but has its most talented lineup since.
Rider visits Canisius on Friday.
Penn State hosts Coppin State on Dec. 30.