Nothing went right for Maryland basketball in Happy Valley on Wednesday night. The No. 17 Terps struggled mightily from the tip on both ends of the floor in a 78-61 shellacking by Penn State.
Maryland started off slow again, but unlike its other games recently, it basically stayed that way for the rest of the night. The Terps shot 41.1 percent from the field and an abysmal 1-for-17 on three-pointers (they missed their last 16).
Anthony Cowan Jr. led Maryland with 15 points, and Aaron Wiggins was the only other player in double figures, finishing with 11. After dominating the first game, Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith were held in check, chipping in just nine points and eight rebounds and nine points and six rebounds respectively.
While Maryland has usually been able to withstand subpar starts due to an emerging defense, the Terps were just as bad on that end of the floor. The Nittany Lions bullied Maryland inside, and outhustled the Terps to plenty of loose balls. Maryland had its usual struggles with turnovers, committing 17 that led to 26 Penn State points. Lamar Stevens had 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting after being contained in the first matchup, and Myles Dread had 17 points, two off his career high. Myreon Jones was the final Nittany Lion in double figures, finishing with 10 points.
Maryland hasn’t come out hot in any of its recent games, but nothing was as bad as the first half in State College. Penn State hit five of its first eight shots from the field and led by double digits at the under-16 media timeout. Maryland trimmed the lead down to seven with 11:18 to go in the first half, but that was the closest the Terps would get. The Nittany Lions went on a 9-0 run, and Mark Turgeon couldn’t wait for the under-8 timeout and had to call one of his own. Penn State led by at least 14 for the rest of the half, and a three-point play by John Harrar give the Nittany Lions a 42-20 halftime lead.
After local guard Josh Reaves lit up Maryland in the first half in the first matchup, another local product did the same in this game. Gonzaga alum Myles Dread poured in 15 points, which was four off his career high and outscored the Terp for much of the half.
Any chance Maryland had at making a run back into the game disappeared in the first few minutes of the second half. The Terps turned the ball over four times in less than four minutes, causing Turgeon to send in a new five players after a Penn State timeout. The Nittany Lions led by as many as 29 at multiple points. Maryland made a late run to cut it as close as 16, but it was far too little, far too late.
Maryland is back in action on Sunday when it hosts No. 9 Michigan. The game was announced as a sellout last Thursday.
Three things to know
1. This was bad. Maryland did basically nothing right in this game. The Terps never got into a rhythm on offense, were out-of-sync and out-hustled on defense, and their carelessness with the ball was only magnified as the game went on. Maryland has looked like a young team in spurts this year, but this was the first time it looked completely unprepared to play.
2. Lamar Stevens was much improved this time. After scoring 19 points on an inefficient 24 shots in December, the junior scored 24 points on just 17 shots in the rematch. He out-muscled Jalen Smith inside on a few possessions early, setting the tone for a solid night.
3. Time to look ahead. A loss like this is always concerning, but it won’t do Maryland well to dwell on it. The Terps know they can’t play that way against No. 9 Michigan and likely won’t, because it can’t get much worse than what just happened in State College.