Penn State fell 81-75 in overtime to Maryland in College Park on Wednesday night to open Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions have now lost five-straight under new head coach Mike Rhoades as they look to finally right the ship this Saturday against Ohio State the Bryce Jordan Center. For now though, here are five takeaways from the Nittany Lions’ latest foray into the 2023-24 campaign.

Big Issue: Penn State’s issues on the glass aren’t a new thing but it’s pretty remarkable that the Nittany Lions ever got this game to overtime considering they were out-rebounded 53-31 on the night. Two different Maryland players had double-digit rebounds as the Terps managed 18 second chance points and 28 points in the paint. Even if teams don’t make the most of each offensive rebound – and Maryland had 23 of them – it’s a tough as of this team to continue to defend. Until Penn State’s shooting turns around, wins are going need to come on the defensive end first and that won’t be any easier with 20+ offensive rebounds. Qudus Wahab fouling out didn’t help matters any either.

Back On Track: Kanye Clary wasn’t himself in Penn State’s last outing, his first game back from injury, but the sophomore looked the scoring machine he had been the early stages of the year. Clary finished the night with 25 points on 8-for-17 shooting More importantly he played 41 minutes and managed just two turnovers. Clary has been fantastic just about the entire season so far and getting him back on track in this game is a good sign for Penn State in the long run. He didn’t make a shot from the field in the overtime period, but the guy couldn’t have done much more than he did on Wednesday.

Taking What’s Given: After some issues from the free thrown line in the last game Penn State went 19-for-21 from the stripe including two key free throws to tie the game by Ace Baldwin in the final seconds of regulation to send it to overtime. Clary was a perfect 7-for-7 while Baldwin was a perfect 9-for-9. It’s a good sign that Penn State is getting to the line – even if it may have wanted more calls – and an even better sign that the Nittany Lions are making good on those opportunities. If Penn State isn’t going to be a great team offensively top to bottom, it’ll need to get to the line and make its free throws. Basketball isn’t always complicated. Put the ball in the hoop when you get the chance to.

Flashes Of Range: It’s small but Penn State shot 6-for-15 from beyond the arc in the second half, a mark that the Nittany Lions will happily work with moving forward. Penn State entered the game on Wednesday night ranked 301st in the nation in three-point percentage, a far cry from where things were last season – albeit with a very different roster. It’s safe to say the Nittany Lions aren’t going to turn a corner in a major way over night, but finding bursts of efficiency, especially when Jameel Brown is back in the rotation, will go a long way.

Ace It: Ace Baldwin has been great in a do-it-all role this season but continues to struggle to find the bottom on the basket on a regular basis. A 3-for-13 night can be chalked up as cold shooting – it happens – but Baldwin is a few ticks shy of his career low shooting percentage. There’s no reason to think Baldwin can’t find his offensive mojo again but that might not happen until he can get more consistent help from scorers not named Kanye Clary.

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