COLLEGE PARK – For the majority of their game against Penn State, the Maryland men’s basketball team looked lethargic and their play was rather lackluster. However, there was one Terrapin that shined through it all. And his play shined as bright as a diamond. Diamond Stone set a new single-game freshman scoring record for the […]
COLLEGE PARK – For the majority of their game against Penn State, the Maryland men’s basketball team looked lethargic and their play was rather lackluster.
However, there was one Terrapin that shined through it all. And his play shined as bright as a diamond.
Diamond Stone set a new single-game freshman scoring record for the Terps, scoring 32 of his 39 points in the second half, and led No. 4 Maryland to a thrilling 70-64 come-from-behind victory over Big Ten Conference foe Penn State.
“I don’t pay too much mind to (the records),” said Stone, who also grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked two shots. “I knew I was in the zone, but I wasn’t aware of any points or records. We are trying to win the Big Ten and this is the first game. It means a lot to get this first win.”
Stone made 10-of-15 shots from the floor – most of them dunks – and converted on 19-of-25 free throws (also a school record) on his way to breaking Joe Smith’s freshman scoring record of 33 points set back on Dec. 1, 1993.
There were times, mainly in the second half, when Stone seemed like the entire Maryland offense. With the Terps down eight points coming out of the break, Stone scored eight of the team’s ten points in the first two-and-a-half minutes to help even the score at 33. Then, after the Nittany Lions opened the lead back up to 13 with 6:40 to go, Stone poured in 11 of Maryland’s next 17 points to once again tie the game up at 62. He would tack on five more free throws in the final 2:12 to help seal the dramatic victory.
“I think Diamond likes the bright lights, the stage, and he likes to be challenged,” said Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon. “We were extremely challenged today. He had 39 points and 12 rebounds, but when I watch the tape, I will probably be most pleased with his defense.”
Maryland entered the game as the third best shooting team in the nation at 53 percent. It certainly did not show in the first half, as the Terps made just six of their 24 shots (25 percent). In fact, at one point Maryland went over nine minutes between field goals and saw Penn State take a 31-23 lead into halftime.
“Actually everything was positive,” Turgeon said about his halftime speech. “I said we didn’t do this well, we didn’t do that well, but aren’t we nine points better than Penn State in our house. I told the guys to speed up the game a little bit, play our style of basketball, and get some defensive stops. I wanted the guys to toughen up on the defensive end and we did.”
After Maryland tied the game at 33 behind Stone’s first outburst, Penn State slowly put some distance between itself and the home team. A Donovan Jack layup gave the Nittany Lions a 58-45 lead with just under seven minutes to go and had the XFINITY Center worried that it was about to see a major upset. But that was when Stone came to the rescue once again.
While Stone did do most of Maryland’s scoring down the stretch, two of his teammates came up big at important times.
Melo Trimble, who shot an abysmal 3-for-15 for the game, picked a great time to bury his only two three-pointers of the night. Trimble hit his first three to bring the Terps to within five at 60-55, and then hit his second triple a minute-and-a-half later to tie the game at 60 and send the crowd into an absolute frenzy. The sophomore standout finished with ten points, six assists and two steals.
Then, with Maryland clinging to a two-point lead with under a minute to go, Robert Carter drained a huge three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Terps a five-point lead. The shot gave Carter 11 points for the game and essentially sealed the victory for Maryland.
“I shoot so many shots,” Carter said. “There was never a thought in my mind that I was going to miss it. Thank God I made it.”
Maryland moves to 12-1 (1-0) with the win and pushes its home-court winning streak to 22 games. Up next for the Terps is a date with 13-1 Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. on Jan. 2.