Jon Graham's scoring outburst vs. Penn State 'should give him a lot of confidence'

Jon Graham's career-high 16-points in Wednesday's 64-58 victory over Penn State came in the Maryland senior's 108th college game.

It marked just the third time Graham, who left Calvert Hall as the second-leading scorer in school history behind Juan Dixon, reached double figures in a college career that began with the Nittany Lions. His previous high was 10 points, most recently against North Carolina State in 2012.


Is the 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward capable of similar offensive outbursts?

"I'm confident in my skills," Graham said Friday. "I know I'm a good basketball player and I know what I'm capable of. My mindset is that I continue to do what I'm doing, do whatever the team needs me to do to win."


Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Graham's performance, which saw him make 6 of 7 shots from the field and 4 of 7 (including one bank) from the free-throw line, "should give him a lot of confidence."

Turgeon said what Graham did after subbing early for slumping sophomore Damonte Dodd, and what Dodd did late in the game, was the byproduct of "doing some things with our [low] post guys that we started working on three weeks ago, and it's just now coming into play."

Junior forward Jake Layman said Graham was "huge" against his former team.

"I don't think that was just him getting up to play for Penn State," Layman said. "I think it just shows how much he has improved over the course of this year, and I think we expect that out of him going forward."

Graham will certainly get his chance Sunday, given the size of Iowa's frontline. He has showed throughout his two years at Maryland that he is a more-than-capable rebounder and defender.

"The frontline is very good, from 6-10, 228-pound Aaron White to 7-1, 245-pound Adam Woodbury to 6-9, 210-pound Jarrod Uthoff – we're going to need everyone," said Graham, who will likely back up Dodd at center. "It's not going to be me, going off like I did in this one game. It's going to take a collective effort from everybody."

Maryland's last road game was last month at Purdue, where Dodd got into early foul trouble and Graham, along with 7-foot freshman Michal Cekovsky, did a good job against a pair of huge centers, 7-2, 297-pound freshman Isaac Haas and 7-foot, 260-pound A.J. Hammons. Cekovsky didn't play against Penn State.

Asked what the Terps need to do to have similar success against the Hawkeyes, who are not as tall or big but are more athletic, Graham said, "We have to lock into what they do. We are obviously going to do that in practice and when we start watching game film.


"The main thing is to lock into what they want to do and try to make them uncomfortable … I'm obviously playing against guys that are bigger. The thing is that you just don't want to back down, you want to make them know that you're here all night long, you're not going to let them get anything easy."

Graham scored several baskets on perfect bounce-passes from freshman point guard Melo Trimble, as well as on a couple of spinning moves. Graham said he usually has a lot of room to operate.

"In some cases they're kind of leaving me alone a little bit, after I roll to the basket, they're worried about Melo shooting the ball and not about me too much scoring the ball – and  rightfully so, leading up to that gmae I wasn't really scoring a whole bunch," he said. "Maybe offensively, I wasn't much of a threat.

"I put myself in a position to be a scoring threat by rolling right to the basket and getting easy dumpoffs, and then it's just a matter of Melo making the pass. The the ball finally went in the basket, no more in and outs. It finally started to roll into the basket for me."

Graham, whose father Ernie holds the Maryland single-game scoring record of 44 points set in 1981, did not exactly become a campus celebrity for what he did against his former team.

Asked what kind of response he received from fellow students, Graham said with a smile: "Not a thing, and that's great. I want it to be as normal as possible. Walking to class the next day, I didn't hear much of anything."