Penn State Men’s Basketball At Maryland Game Preview

Story posted February 21, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Matt Scalzo

Don’t look now but Penn State has won two games in a row and is coming off its most complete game of the season, a dominating win over Minnesota, 67-46.

“We got a lot of preparation, watched a lot of film, and we just had a bad taste in our mouth,” Myles Dread said. “We don’t want to go away with any regrets and that one at Minnesota, that hurt, we didn’t play our best basketball.”

Now it hits the road for a Monday night showdown in College Park, with tip-off slated for 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Playing away from home has been one of the key problems this season, the blue and white are 1-7 in those contests.

In their revenge win over the Golden Gophers, the Nittany Lions were fueled by a 20-point performance from Jalen Pickett. The former Sienna Saint went 9-for-14 from the floor and oftentimes worked in isolation.

“Coach has tremendous trust in all of us and we do a lot of scouting, so he knows who’s a good defender, who’s a bad defender and we feel like we got a mismatch,” Pickett said. “I had the mismatch most of the time.”

While the offense clicked in the first meeting against Minnesota, it was the defense with the response.

Golden Gopher Eric Curry notched a career-high 22 points the first time around, on Thursday he was a non-factor dropping only a single point and went 0-6 shooting. Minnesota’s 46 points were the second-lowest amount Penn State has allowed.

One thing that is uncertain for the Nittany Lions going forward is the status of Greg Lee. The senior forward is day-to-day, with an ankle injury, and will be important as the team enters the final stretch of the season.

He has quite the impact on the court, averaging 7.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, but the injury has caused him to miss the last four games. 

Scouting Maryland

The Terrapins are having a rough season, sitting at 12-14 overall with a 4-11 mark in the Big Ten. Now led by interim head coach, Danny Manning, they are 7-11 in games with him at the helm.

Just like Penn State, Maryland is coming off its best game of the season in a win over Nebraska, 90-74. Before Friday’s win, the Terps had lost their last five games.

Maryland had four double-digit scorers in the victory over the Cornhuskers, with Fatts Russell dropping a team-high 23 points. Just behind him was Donta Scott with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Russell joined the Terps in the offseason after an illustrious career at Rhode Island. The Philadelphia native is averaging 14 points per game overall and 17.4 points per in the last eight games.

The junior forward, Scott is averaging 12.7 points per contest and leads the team in rebounds per game with 6.2.

Eric Ayala has been the top scoring threat for Maryland, averaging 14.6 points per game, but has had trouble as of late. The 6-foot-5 guard hasn’t eclipsed double digits in four of the last five, and it won’t get easier as he might draw the matchup of being guarded by Seth Lundy.

This is the lone matchup this year and the series between the Terrapins and Penn State is deadlocked after 14 wins for each side. The last four meetings have ended in favor of the blue and white, including the last meeting at Maryland, 66-61.

The Nittany Lions are starting to build momentum as they make a push heading into the postseason. However, you might want to look away, as the struggles away from Happy Valley, along with the uncertainty of Greg Lee, will cost them as they fall in a tight one.

Maryland 63, Penn State 61

Matthew Scalzo is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mms7477@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

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Matt Scalzo

Second Year / Broadcast Journalism

Matthew “Matt” Scalzo is a second-year from Ridgefield, Connecticut majoring in broadcast journalism. Matt is a Basketball Insider, broadcaster and writer for the sports department. With CommRadio he has called football, volleyball, basketball and hockey games. Matt is also the Penn State Women’s Volleyball play-by-play broadcaster calling games on both TV and radio. He has written countless articles and appeared on podcasts, live shows and is a part of The Extra Point, a talk show centered around the NFL. If you want to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).