On Tuesday night, Penn State (13-12, 5-7) welcomed Maryland (20-4, 8-3) to College Park last night in a contest many thought would be one-sided. And, for the most part, it was—just not that the side that was expected.
Penn State led the game for all but two minutes, as the only Maryland lead came in the opening minutes on a Melo Trimble free throw that made the score 3-2 in favor of the Terrapins.
Oddly enough, it was not Shep Garner that led the Nittany Lions to their best win of the season. Rather, it was the freshmen duo of Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr propelling their guys over a No. 21 Maryland team.
Garner only shot 1-for-9 from the floor and finished with just three points. Stevens went 8-for-13 and poured in 25 to lead the team, and Carr complemented his teammate’s production with 14 of his own on 5-for-12 shooting.
Let’s see what we learned from the game.
What We Learned:
1. Maryland can only go as far as Melo takes them.
Melo Trimble is the lone starter with experience on this young Maryland team, and it showed on Tuesday night. Trimble struggled mightily, turning in his worst scoring total of the Big Ten season with just 11 points on a troubling 4-for-13 shooting.
It can’t always be your night. Especially as the point guard, another scoring option needs to be at your disposal. Last night, and maybe all season, it’s strictly been the Melo show.
Even if Melo isn’t lighting up the scoring column on a given night, he still has a knack for providing his guys with the most opportune scoring chances. Last night, Trimble found forwards cutting to the hoop for an open layup. Miss. Melo would kick it out to a shooter for a three-pointer. Clank.
Bottom line: Trimble needs help as the regular season winds down to a close and the NCAA tournament looms.
2. The Penn State freshmen duo are a problem.
For other teams, that is. A glimpse at PSU head coach Pat Chambers’ Twitter shows a fed up fanbase, as the team has failed to turn the corner in Chambers’ six years with the team.
But how about some acknowledgement for the recruits he brought in this season? It’s not easy trying to lure in top talent to a university that has struggled on the basketball court in years past, but Chambers was able to get the job done.
Stevens and Carr provide a ray of hope for the team in years to come. The ship on the NCAA tournament has already sailed for Penn State, but a NIT appearance is not out of the question. Stevens averages 11.4 points a game, including a 25 point outburst last night and 26 against Indiana on Feb. 1. Carr averages 12.2 point a contest, a total he has eclipsed in six of his last seven appearances.
3. Penn State needs to reel in the 3-point attempts.
With a young team, it is not uncommon for the offense to get stagnant at times and resort to launching up long ball after long ball. Luckily for PSU, it didn't cost them in the end last night. But, 2-for-18 from three-point territory is not going to get it done in most situations.
In particular, Garner needs to start getting to the hoop. Last night, his clunker of a performance left his young supporting cast to the wolves—and they picked him. Garner was too reliant on the three-pointer, as seven of his nine field goal attempts were from distance.
He only made one.
Maryland needs to get the train back on the tracks, and soon. The Terrapins have Ohio State on Saturday followed by a grueling stretch of Northwestern, Wisconsin and Minnesota—two of which are on the road.
Penn State needs to continue playing with nothing to lose. The Nittany Lions have their most challenging opponents out of the way and possess a rather attractive remainder of the schedule.