Game Preview: Men’s Basketball vs. Maryland

Audio/Story posted December 8, 2019 in CommRadio, Sports by Zach Donaldson

Host Zach Donaldson, Jordan Hession and Ben Geller preview Penn State’s matchup versus Maryland.

After suffering a 32-point loss to Ohio State on Saturday, the Penn State Nittany Lions (7-2) will be looking to bounce back on Tuesday versus the No. 4 Maryland Terrapins (10-0).

Penn State is coming off of a performance to forget. The Nittany Lions’ suffocating defense has been lethal and a pleasure to watch all season, but No. 3 Ohio State put up more than 100 points on that same unit.

The Nittany Lions’ next game, which resumes a brutal two-game stretch to begin conference play, isn’t any easier, as they’ll be taking on undefeated Maryland.

Maryland is coming off a close victory over Illinois. The Terrapins escaped a game where they never led until the final minute. A pair of Anthony Cowan Jr. free throws with two seconds remaining were ultimately what sealed the win for the Terps.

Keys to the game for Penn State

Maryland is a team that likes to shoot the 3-ball. However, the Terrapins shooting a measly 30% from 3-point range on the season. Penn State’s defense has been a standout for the team all year. It’s one of the Nittany Lions’ main strengths, and it starts on the perimeter with the guards. Jamari Wheeler, the team leader in steals, Myreon Jones and Myles Dread are going to have to be aggressive and contest jump shots like they’ve done all year to keep that trend alive.

The matchup between Mike Watkins and Jalen Smith is going to be one to break out the popcorn for. They both can make a strong case for the title of the best big man in the Big Ten. With both being rebounding and shot-blocking machines, whichever wins the battle underneath will be a difference-maker. Watkins, with more experience, and playing at home, may have the slight advantage.

As for the offense, the Nittany Lions need to have all-around production from their young guards if they want to compete against Maryland and opponents of their caliber.

Keys to the game for Maryland

Senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. has been getting it done for Maryland for years. This year, he’s one of the top guards in the entire country. He’s experienced, poised and has the ability to take over the game at any given moment.

Another notable upperclassman guard for Maryland is junior Darryl Morsell. He’s an all-around versatile player who has put together a solid season for the Terps up to this point.

Cowan and Morsell are both stellar defensively. With two excellent players and leaders in the backcourt, it’s certainly going to present a challenge for Penn State’s young guards, which, at times, have a tendency to make mistakes and play lost.

Additionally, Penn State’s half-court offense has become stagnant at times this season, which is one of the team’s most glaring weaknesses. If Cowan, Morsell and the Terps can exploit Penn State’s inexperience in the backcourt and limit Penn State’s three-point makes, things could get ugly for the Nittany Lions.

Final analysis

The Terrapins’ last game versus Illinois showed that they are in fact beatable. Back home at the Bryce Jordan Center, led by senior stars Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins, Penn State is going to come out firing and rebound in a big way by defeating the Terps.

Prediction: Penn State 68, Maryland 67


Zach Donaldson is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

Jordan Hession's photo

Jordan Hession

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Jordan Hession is a junior from Annapolis, Maryland majoring in broadcast journalism. Jordan is the co-host of CommRadio’s longest running live radio show The Sin Bin with Kyle Cannillo. In the summer of 2020, Jordan interned at SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio as a sports programmer. When Jordan is not discussing sports, he is writing various articles for collegiate and professional sports leagues and teams. Jordan has a love for all sports but has a genuine passion to spread ice hockey and baseball globally. Away from broadcast journalism, Jordan enjoys lifting weights and cooking. Jordan’s role models in the broadcast journalism industry include Doc Emrick, Gary Thorne and Mike Lange. In the future, Jordan sees himself working as a producer or host in sports talk radio and potentially television. To contact Jordan, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Zach Donaldson's photo

Zach Donaldson

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Zach is a senior from Downingtown, Pennsylvania and is an aspiring broadcast journalism major. Zach is an editor for CommRadio and additionally a member of the CommRadio Sports department. Zach is a producer, broadcaster and beat writer for various live Penn State sporting events. Zach also co-hosts a weekly talk show, Sports with a Z (SWAZ) on CommRadio. The show airs live every Monday from 8:45-9:45. Some of his interests aside from CommRadio include watching sports, working out and listening to a variety of music. He can be contacted via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), and you can find him on Twitter @zachdonaldson_.