Advertisement

Diamond Stone's performance draws rave reviews from former Maryland stars

On the day after freshman Diamond Stone took his place in the Maryland record books with a 39-point performance, a few of the former stars whose numbers the 6-foot-11 center either surpassed or equaled didn't seem to mind.

Walt Williams, whose own career-high of 39 points came during an ACC record streak of seven straight games of 30 points or more as a senior in 1991, said that the efficiency of Stone's production was perhaps the most impressive aspect of what he did.

Advertisement

Stone also led the Terps to a come-from-behind 70-64 win over Penn State Wednesday.

"I'll tell you, when I had my 39, I took a lot more than 15 shots," said Williams, who was courtside at Xfinity Center in his role as a color analyst on the team's radio broadcasts. "Him going 10 for 15 from the field and going to the free throw line 25 times, that was unbelievable."

Stone's point total broke Joe Smith's record for a Maryland freshman of 33 points. His 19 free throws – including a stretch of seven straight as the Terps came back from a 13-point deficit with 6:34 to play – eclipsed the mark of 17 by Tom McMillen. His 25 free throw attempts were one more than Keith Booth's mark.

After coming off the bench for the sixth straight game, Stone started the second half with Maryland (12-1, 1-0) in the Big Ten facing its largest halftime deficit of the season (41-33) after its worst shooting performance in a half this season (six of 24). Stone scored 32 points in the second half, two more than Ernie Graham did in breaking the school-record of 44 points in a game against North Carolina State in 1978.

Williams said that Stone's performance was "very remarkable" given the circumstances under which it came.

Stone appeared to be one of the few Maryland players not pressing as Penn State (9-5, 0-1) built a 10-point lead in the first half, and after the Terps had stormed back early in the second half to go in front, moved out to a 58-45 lead that seemed insurmountable.

"Nobody else could find their rhythm," Williams said. "He basically had to carry the team and he did that. Down the stretch he made big shots and big free throws."

McMillen, who was attending a holiday party and watched a replay of the game later Wednesday night, said Stone reminded him of sophomore point guard Melo Trimble in the way he used the free-throw line to get easy points.

"The great thing about Melo is that he gets fouled a lot and he tries to get fouled a lot, he gets free shots – free throws," McMillen said. "As a player, I loved to get fouled a lot because I was a good free throw shooter. And Diamond played Melo's game last night and did exactly what a big guy should do."

McMillen liked that Stone stayed near the basket and "didn't try to shoot jump shots. He hit the boards [to get a career-high 12 rebounds], he got fed well by the guards. He played within his game, he really played superbly."

Stone downplayed the performance, saying that it could have been any of Maryland's other big men who could do the same but "it happened to be my night."

That others could do what Stone did is doubtful, given that junior forward Robert Carter Jr., clearly the team's other scoring threat inside, has never scored more than 21 points in a college game. Stone is the only freshman in the country aside from LSU star Ben Simmons this season to score as many points in a game.

"I think I believe in myself, I believe that I can help this team win, so with that being said, I just went back to my basics," he said of his approach in the second half. "I just knew I'm stronger than the guys on Penn State, I thought I was, and I just tried to use my strength and that helped."

Asked if he realized the kind of scoring night he was having, Stone said, "I knew I was in the zone, but I didn't know about the points, I just wanted to win. I just figured if by keeping aggressive, maybe we could take the lead and that's what happened. I knew if I attacked the rim hard, I would either make the shot or get fouled."

Advertisement

Stone, who previous career-high was 16 points, finished with 14 of Maryland's final 23 points, with the other nine coming on a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers by a struggling Melo Trimble (3 of 15 overall) and a 3-pointer by Carter, who gave the Terps a 69-64 lead with 31 seconds remaining.

Only a missed free throw with 19 seconds left prevented Stone from becoming the sixth different Maryland player to score at least 40 points in a game. It also would have tied Smith's career-mark of 40, scored against Duke in a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium won on a last-second tip-in by the former Terp star.

Asked if he has set the bar a little high going into Saturday's game at Northwestern, Stone smiled.

"I'm just going to go out there and play my game, whatever happens, happens," he said.

Advertisement
Advertisement