Lamar Stevens scored 20 points, Mike Watkins added 15 points and 15 rebounds and Penn State University beat Syracuse, 85-64, in the third-place game of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Friday.
Ten of Watkins’ 15 rebounds came on the offensive glass.
Myreon Jones had 16 points and 10 rebounds while Curtis Jones contributed 14 points for the Nittany Lions, who improved to 6-1 in their first matchup against Syracuse since 1982.
Elijah Hughes paced Syracuse with 19 points and Buddy Boeheim added 14.
Quincy Guerrier had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Orange, which fell to 4-3 for its worst seven-game start since 1996-97.
Penn State used a 9-0 run and bolted to a 19-7 lead with 9:40 left in the first half thanks to some stingy perimeter defense. The Orange missed 11 of its first 14 shots.
Myles Dread hit a 3-pointer from the corner, extending the run to 12-0 and the lead to 22-7.
Hughes’ first 3-pointer finally got Syracuse into double figures and back within 22-12 with 7:09 left.
After an offensive rebound, Jones connected on his third trey and pushed the Nittany Lions ahead 30-15 with 4:59 remaining.
Syracuse made a late run and trailed 34-27 at halftime. Hughes led the Orange with 10 points while Stevens paced Penn State with 10 at the half.
Joseph Girard III found Hughes open on the break for a dunk and the game was tied at 35 with 17:26 remaining.
Stevens and Curtis Jones connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Nittany Lions back ahead by six, 41-35.
Hughes was knocked to the floor with 9:11 left and hit a pair of free throws to close the Orange within 56-50.
After Syracuse put on the full court press, Myreon Jones dribbled all the way through and scored for a 63-55 lead with 6:06 to go.