Diamond Stone scores 39 as Terps stage comeback win over Penn State

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COLLEGE PARK -- Diamond Stone texted Mark Turgeon last week and told him that he had fully accepted his new role as Maryland’s sixth man. He is a five-star freshman, now willing to slide into a spot off the bench because it better suits his team.

But you likely forget all about that word “bench” with the way he played on Wednesday.

Brought off the bench to start the second half, Stone set a new Maryland freshman scoring record with 39 points on the night, the unbelievable one-man show in his team’s 70-64 come-from-behind victory over Penn State at XFINITY Center in College Park.

In all, he was 10-of-15 from the floor and 19-of-25 from the free throw line on the historic night and added 12 rebounds to give himself a double-double.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) Hot start, but then a drought

Maryland looked like its offense was ready to go from the tip. An early three from Jake Layman and another from Robert Carter, Jr. had the Terrapins out to a 6-3 lead.

What followed was a 1-of-13 shooting stretch from the floor as Penn State threw a zone out that halted the offensive momentum. Against it, Maryland settled for too many jump shots. When they were able to get into the lane, shots were at tough angles or well defended.

The Terrapins kept their heads above water during the stretch by getting to the free throw line, though even there they struggled. Through 12 minutes, they had gotten to the line 10 times and converted on just five of those shots.

2) Size mismatches bite Maryland again

This is a smaller Penn State team, exactly like the kind that gave the Terrapins trouble during the non-conference slate. With 6-6, versatile senior Brandon Taylor at the power forward spot, Maryland routinely found itself in mismatches in the Nittany Lions’ favor.

Damonte Dodd had trouble chasing Taylor around. Layman had trouble matching his physicality. The larger Shep Garner could get to the rim against Melo Trimble. At the break, Maryland was shooting 25 percent from the floor and trailed, 31-23.

3) Getting beaten on the boards, plus energy and effort

As a team with this much size on the interior, Maryland should be rebounding at a much higher rate than it has been or did in the first half against Penn State. The Terrapins were -6 on the boards.

Diamond Stone was the only Maryland player with more than two rebounding in the first half. A lot of that comes down to energy and effort, because the Nittany Lions’ leading rebounder in the first half, Payton Banks, stands just 6-4.

4) An adjustment -- Stone starts the second half

Turgeon rewarded Stone for his first-half effort by starting him in the second half in place of Dodd. On the first possession, it paid off. He hit a jumper from the base line to open the scoring. Then the floodgates opened.

Two Stone free throws followed by a Carter layup, then two more Stone dunks polished off a 10-0 Maryland run to tie the game and erase the halftime deficit. But Maryland had to continue to battle. By the eight-minute mark, the lead was back to nine for Penn State.

5) Another massive comeback

Maryland dug itself another hole, down by 12 points with 6:19 to play. That’s when Stone shined again. He ripped off a 7-0 Maryland run all by himself, part of a larger 15-2 run by the team to tie it up at 60 with 3:49 to play.

He hit 1-of-2 two free throws on his final trip to the line to seal the win.

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