August 23, 2019

Maryland Basketball: Diamond Stone leads Terps to epic comeback against Penn State in Big Ten opener

The Maryland Terrapins worked out some rustiness, following a two week stretch with just one game, against Marshall on Saturday to get ready for conference play. With No. 1 Michigan State getting upset by Iowa last night, Mark Turgeon was wary for his team not to overlook Penn State (9-4). Things looked bleak when the Terps trailed by 13 points late in the game, but Diamond Stone would not let his team down. The freshman went off for 39 points in a dominating performance to give Maryland a 70-64 victory over Penn State to begin Big Ten play.

After hot start, Terps go extremely cold from the field

When Jake Layman and Robert Carter Jr. hit back-to-back threes to start the game you might have thought Maryland was going to run Penn State out of the gym. The only problem was that everyone went cold for the Terps, who were 1 of their next 14 field goal attempts — as well as a miserable 5 of 10 from the charity stripe. Although the Nittany Lions were not able to fully take advantage of the 12 minutes of cold shooting, they took a five-point lead thanks to a 11-1 run.

Penn State gains traction on offense before the half

While Maryland was in its worst shooting funk of the season, the Nittany Lions couldn’t put the Terps away by hitting timely shots. Then to end the half, Penn State scored on its last seven possessions including, 5 of 5 shooting on their field goals. Brandon Taylor was a mismatch on the Terps bigs as well as on the skinny Jake Layman, while Shep Garner was making Maryland pay for poor defensive rotations. Between the two they had 20 points in the first half. Maryland was on upset alert at halftime down 31-23, their biggest deficit of the season, because they played at a pace to the liking of their 15-point underdog.

They made you sweat in the first, but Maryland erases deficit quickly in the second

The Nittany Lions had a 10-point lead early in the second half and the Terps looked to be on their way to a miserable start of 2016. Mark Turgeon made the decision to start Diamond Stone in the second half and it made all the difference. Penn State could not keep up with Maryland’s up-tempo pace and the Terps went on a 10-0 run in just over two minutes. Stone attributed for eight of the 10 points, thanks to pretty dimes from Melo Trimble.

Diamond Stone with a career performance right when Terps needed it

(Photo by: @TerrapinHoops)

(Photo by: @TerrapinHoops)

If it were not for the sixth-rated recruit in the nation, Maryland fans would not be happy campers right now. Stone was unstoppable in the low-post for the Terps and took Jordan Dickerson out of the game because of foul trouble. Stone then took advantage of the small Nittany Lions defenders while Dickerson spent most of his time on the bench. Stone finished with 39 points, 12 rebounds, 10 of 15 from the field, 19 of 25 from the free throw line and broke Joe Smith’s freshman scoring record for a single game (33).

A comeback like none other to win the game

With 6:40 remaining in the game, Maryland found itself down 58-45, and I was sure it was a wrap with less than two percent chance of a comeback. Diamond Stone certainly did not think so as he went on a personal 7-0 run. Trimble came back to sandwich a Stone dunk with a couple of 3s, before Stone went on another personal 6-0 run. Maryland was on a 21-4 run and Robert Carter put the dagger in the Nittany Lions with a 3-ball from the top of the key with 33 seconds remaining. The Terps finished up 2015 with a 70-64 win against Penn State, thanks to 32 second half points from Diamond Stone.

Maryland will travel to Evanston to face off against the 13-1 Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday. Northwestern is without their big man, Alex Olah, who played well in College Park last year.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

Comments

  1. Tyler Manson says:

    Diamond Stone is a great low post player, excellent at getting his rebounds and sinking the shots i

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  1. […] Maryland Terrapins nearly had a let down to begin Big Ten conference play against the Nittany Lions and responded with their best game of the year against dark horse Northwestern. Although Rutgers […]

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