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No. 4 Maryland even more difficult to defend after Diamond Stone's breakout

When Diamond Stone scored 39 points in Wednesday's 70-64 victory over Penn State, the 6-foot-11 center did more than break Joe Smith's school single-game freshman scoring record and several other long-standing marks.

Stone became the fifth different Maryland player to lead the team in scoring in a game this season.

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That he did it in such a dominant way – hitting 10 of 15 field-goal attempts and 19 of 25 free throws, as well as scoring 32 points after halftime – suddenly makes the fourth-ranked Terps even tougher to scout and defend than before.

"I'm pretty sure everybody knew before the year started that we had a lot of guys that can score the ball on the offensive end," said junior forward Robert Carter Jr., who has led the Terps in scoring four times, one fewer than sophomore guard Melo Trimble.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said many of Stone's points were a byproduct of Trimble playing more aggressively in the second half, as well as the Nittany Lions trying to slow down the team's sophomore star.

Turgeon said it was "painfully obvious" that Penn State tried to slow down the Big Ten's Preseason Player of the Year, and that Trimble took advantage of it by getting the ball to Stone.

"On the fastbreak, there were three guys trying to stop Melo, and Diamond just had to catch it and lay it in," Turgeon said. "Or [Trimble] would get to the rim and Diamond would finish it.

"A lot of Diamond's points were because Melo was so aggressive offensively. Melo wasn't finishing, but he was getting to the rim and making plays. The whole league is trying to stop Melo."

That approach might change for Saturday's game at Northwestern. Third-year Wildcats coach Chris Collins said Friday that it is more difficult preparing for the Terps than most teams.

"They put so much pressure on you defensively," Collins said in a phone interview. "Normally most games that you play, there's one or a couple of guys that are out there at different times and you can help [defensively] on their best guys.

"The reason that Maryland puts so much on you is that all five of their guys – and then they come in with [Jared] Nickens – all of those guys have to be guarded at all times. All of them are capable of having 20-plus-point nights or halves in their careers."

For now, the Terps will also bring Stone off the bench. Though Turgeon wouldn't rule out starting Stone later in the season, he said that the freshman center would come off the bench against Northwestern. It marks the seventh straight game that Stone has begun on the bench.

The Terps have won six straight in that span, with Stone scoring in double figures in each.

"We'll see as time goes on [about starting Stone]," Turgeon said. "I've got to keep him out of foul trouble. I think it helps him coming off the bench. He started the second half; obviously that was big. He played starter minutes. He finished the game. That's really what's important."

Part of the reason Stone was on the floor for a season-high 32 minutes was the fact that junior center Damonte Dodd was ineffective at both ends of the court. He missed a couple of shots close in, and was not as aggressive as usual in guarding ball screens, allowing Penn State to drive.

"I need Damonte to step up and play like the Damonte that we all know," Turgeon said Friday. "Our ball-screen defense needs to be good tomorrow night."

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The offense also has to be more consistent than it was against Penn State. After hitting their first two shots – 3-pointers by senior forward Jake Layman and Carter  – the Terps missed 17 of their next 18 shots and trailed by eight points at halftime.

Maryland saved itself by scoring on each of its last 11 possessions to overcome a 13-point deficit with 6:34 left.

"We have good players, and we finally made some shots," Turgeon said. "It was kind of amazing how [poorly] we shot the ball. It really was. And then it was amazing the way we shot it at the end. It felt like we made everything. I'm just figuring things out. We have weapons. It's just trying to find the right one."

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