Maryland men’s basketball vs. Penn State preview


The Maryland men’s basketball team capped off non-conference play with a convincing 87-67 victory over Marshall on Sunday afternoon.

In what ended up being a one-sided affair, the Terrapins had four players that scored in double figures, and had another great showing from the bench. Forward Robert Carter had one of his more impressive games of the season as he scored 19 points and pulled in eight rebounds.

Center Diamond Stone continued his successful stint as a primary producer off the bench. Stone netted 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 25 minutes for the Terps.

Maryland was very efficient from beyond the arc, shooting 48.1 percent (13-of-27). Five players connected on multiple three-point field goals, including three from guard Melo Trimble.

The Terps finished non-conference play with an 11-1 record, which included wins over Connecticut and Georgetown. Maryland is one of the most efficient teams in the Big Ten as they’re connecting on 53.3 percent of their shots (Indiana is shooting 53.7 percent).

This is also a team that is shooting 41.1 percent from beyond the three-point line.

Maryland has been about as consistent as anyone could expect through the first 12 games of the 2015-16 season. The Terps are currently ranked No. 4 in the national rankings as only Kansas, Michigan State, and Oklahoma are slotted ahead of them.

Getting To Know Penn State

  • The Nittany Lions haven’t exactly been one of the more talented teams in the Big Ten in recent years. Over the past five seasons, Penn State has finished with a losing record three times. The 2014-15 campaign was the first since the 2010-11 season that the team had a winning record. The Nittany Lions finished with an 18-16 mark, which was highlighted by the stellar senior season of D.J. Newbill. While progress was definitely made, Penn State struggled in conference play as they only won four of their 18 games. The team did win their first two games of the Big Ten tournament, and nearly knocked off Purdue in the quarterfinals. Coach Patrick Chambers certainly has the Nittany Lions trending up, and has brought in some stellar recruiting classes.
  • With Newbill gone, forward Brandon Taylor has taken over the scoring load this season. Taylor is currently averaging 16.2 points-per-game and 6.2 rebounds-per-game, which are both team highs. The New Jersey native is a high-volume shooter that has some touch from beyond the arc. Taylor is a 37.0 percent three-point shooter, and has hit multiple long-range shots in seven games this season. He has also scored in double figures in all but two games (Boston College & Colorado). This is a player that doesn’t need much space to hit his shot.
  • Another player to keep an eye on for the Nittany Lions is freshman guard Josh Reaves. While a lot of the attention will be on sophomore Shep Garner, Reaves is certainly a player that is capable of burning the Terps. The former Oak Hill Academy (Va.) star was part of a stellar 2015 class that also included Malvern Prep (Pa.) big man Mike Watkins and St. Mary S. Ryken star Deividas Zemgulis. Reaves is a very quick guard that can be a nuisance in the passing lane as he is averaging 1.4 steals-per-game.  The Fairfax native can get to the rim in a flash, and certainly has the ability to finish. Reaves is also a very capable rebounder, so Maryland’s backcourt will certainly have their hands full.

Three Keys For Maryland

  • Experienced backcourt – One of Maryland’s biggest strengths is their backcourt. Trimble and Sulaimon have been perfect counterparts as both are shooting above 50 percent from the field and above 40 percent from beyond the arc. On the other hand, Penn State also has a ton of athleticism in the backcourt, but not nearly as much experience. Garner and Reaves have the ability to score in the lane and aren’t afraid of contact. In order for the Terps to be victorious, Trimble and Sulaimon will have to continue to work their magic.
  • Rebounding battle – This is where the game could be won or lost. Penn State doesn’t exactly have what you would could a formidable frontcourt. Center Jordan Dickerson anchors the frontcourt, but his numbers won’t blow you away. He’s averaging 4.8 rebounds-per-game, but he doesn’t offer much in the way of offense. His 7’1 frame could be an interesting matchup for the likes of Carter and Stone down low. Taylor leads the team in rebounding as he uses his pure athleticism to help secure his fair share of boards. This is an area that Maryland should have the upper hand in.
  • Force Penn State guards to the perimeter – As was mentioned above, the Nittany Lions have some very talented guards that make their living in the lane. Perhaps the biggest key will be forcing Garner and Reaves to settle for jump shots, rather than putting the ball on the floor and attacking the rim. Now Garner is lethal from the outside as he is shooting at a 41.3 percent clip. However, Reaves is still working on his shot, and is shooting a bleak 10.7 percent from beyond the arc. If the Terps can force the Nittany Lion shooters to force longer jump shots, it’ll go a long way in determining the outcome of the game.

Next: Maryland Basketball: What we know about the Terrapins