Late Lead Isn’t Enough As Penn State Hoops Falls To No. 4 Maryland 70-64
What could have been.
A nine-point halftime lead and highly competitive play for 38 minutes wasn’t enough for Penn State basketball on its trip to College Park for the Big Ten opener. No. 4 Maryland missed shots it usually made for most of the game, and the Nittany Lions looked like they could capitalize. Unfortunately, a 30-point second half from Terrapin phenom Diamond Stone sealed the game and sent Pat Chambers’ team home with a 70-64 loss.
How It Happened
No one had high hopes for Penn State against this Maryland team, but the first few minutes of the game looked alright. The Terps’ Jake Layman traded early three-pointers with Shep Garner before each team had a few consecutive failed possessions after. Maryland’s offense showed that it could finish when it was fully set up, especially on plays where electric point guard Melo Trimble found big man Diamond Stone down low, where he would often either finish the play or draw a foul. Still, it missed the shots it should’ve made while Garner made threes. Thanks to a 7-0 run halfway through the first half, Penn State took its first unlikely lead at 14-12.
For the rest of the half, Penn State went on the journey to more success. Led by Payton Banks’ major rebounding and Garner’s key scoring, business was booming as the lead widened and widened. Maryland was held without a field goal for more than nine minutes in the middle of the half, while Brandon Taylor and Jordan Dickerson proved they could compete down low. The Nittany Lions took a 31-23 lead into the half over the nation’s No. 4 team on the road.
The second half started somewhat predictably. Maryland wouldn’t allow itself to go down without a fight, and quantified that with a 10-0 run. Stone was a force in the second half, scoring at will in the paint with plenty of trips to the free-throw line. He tallied a career high, but Pat Chambers’ early timeout did wonders in stopping the Terps’ momentum. The game was back-and-forth for a while after that, until Penn State manufactured a short-lived double-digit lead. Jordan Dickerson’s fouling out coincided with Maryland narrowing the margin, and when it finally took the lead with two minutes to play, the crowd erupted as Penn State’s players looked like the pressure got to them. A three-pointer with 30 seconds left was the dagger, and Pat Chambers’ team walked off the court knowing it was this close to pulling of the unbelievable upset.
Player of the Game
We usually put Penn State players here, but this game featured one of the best individual efforts against the Lions by any player in any sport this year. Diamond Stone was a force in the paint, ending up with 38 of his team’s 70 points.
The Nittany Lions will stay on the road for a noon matchup at Michigan this Saturday, same time as the TaxSlayer Bowl.