Game Grades: Penn State vs. Maryland
Penn State opened Big Ten play with a 70-64 defeat to Maryland on Wednesday night. The Nittany Lions played well throughout the game, especially in the first half when the Lions took an eight point lead into the half. Penn State started the second half strong, but foul trouble and depth slowed down the Nittany Lions and they were unable to keep pace with the Terrapins as the game went on. With all that being said, some players had remarkable games while others struggled. Here are the game grades for Penn State’s conference opener.
Shep Garner had a good start to Big Ten play, scoring 17 points to lead the Nittany Lions. While Garner did not contribute much in the other major statistical categories, he did a great job slowing star guard Melo Trimble, as he only scored 10 points in the game. Freshman guard Josh Reaves played well defensively, but struggled to find his niche offensively, as he only took two shots and was saddled with foul trouble throughout the night. Garner took ill-advised shots in the second half and those shots keep this grade from going up any higher than a B-.
Forwards Brandon Taylor and Payton Banks had terrific games against the much bigger Maryland frontcourt, combining for 27 points and 18 rebounds. Banks did not have the best shooting night, but he was aggressive going to the basket and quietly grabbed eight rebounds. Taylor was the best player for the Nittany Lions as he showed he could score on almost any Maryland defender in multiple different ways. He continuously hit big shots for Penn State and always hit a big shot to stop a Maryland run. Jordan Dickerson keeps this grade from being an A as he contributed nothing offensively and was unable to stop Maryland center Diamond Stone, who scored 39 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Donovan Jack and Davis Zemgulis played great off the bench, as they both scored eight points. Zemgulis was all over the place, grabbing two offensive rebounds and playing great defense when he was in the game. Jack struggled defensively as the bigger Stone controlled the paint. Julian Moore struggled as he failed to register a point or a rebound in the game. Moore struggled defending Stone and seemed lost against Maryland. Devin Foster did not play well either as he failed to score while also dishing out zero assists. The bench play of Jack and Zemgulis is worthy of an A, but the poor showing of Moore and Foster limits this grade to a B.
Pat Chambers had an excellent game plan on stopping Maryland and it worked in the first half as Penn State held Maryland to 23 points and held an eight point lead at halftime. The start of the second half seemed to follow the same plan as the first half as Penn State continued to control the tempo of the game. The only problem with Chambers was his refusal to double Stone in the second half, as he scored 32 of his 39 points in the second half. While Stone did score a good portion of his points from the free throw line, he was continuously single-teamed, making the Nittany Lion big men foul him when he was in the paint. Chambers’ game plan against Maryland was almost executed to perfection as Penn State nearly upset Maryland.
Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.