Momentum can be a fickle thing in sports. Entering Tuesday night, Penn State had won three of their previous four games and appeared to be building momentum. However, following a 72-56 blowout loss against Wisconsin, the Nittany Lions are now searching to regain some of that momentum.
Friday night the Nittany Lions will attempt to regain said momentum when they welcome the 10-8 Maryland Terrapins to the Bryce Jordan Center. This will be the first meeting of the season between the Big Ten foes.
Scouting the Opposition
The Terps have have struggled on offense this season. Their struggles have been magnified in recent weeks. However, a struggling Wisconsin offense was able to put together a good game against the Nittany Lions Tuesday night.
Maryland enters the game averaging 70.8 points per game which ranks 223rd nationally. In their last eight games the Terps are averaging just 66.3 points per game, and if you take away a 100 point outburst against Division II Wingate, the only game during this stretch in which they scored over 70 points, this drops to just 61.4 points per game during this stretch.
The leading scorer for the Terps is guard Eric Ayala who is averaging just 13.8 points per game. Guard Aaron Wiggins is averaging 12.8 points per game, and forward Donta Scott is chipping in 12.7. Otherwise, no one on the Maryland roster is averaging more than 8.5 points per game.
A big reason Maryland has struggled to score this season is due to poor shooting. The Terrapins have shot just 46.1% from the field which ranks 76th nationally. Their 35.8% success rate from three ranks 81st nationally.
What to Watch For
One area that has given Penn State struggles all season is facing a team with a good inside presence. While John Harrar has an incredible motor and gets every once out of his raw ability, he does have his limitations. The Terps, however, do not have a big inside presence. This is a big plus for a the Nittany Lions.
A lack of an inside presence is a big reason why Maryland has struggled to rebound the ball this season. The Terps have averaged just 33.7 rebounds per game which ranks a woeful 290th nationally. While Penn State is not much better at 35.6 rebounds per game, this is an area the Nittany Lions need to look to exploit.
Maryland has also struggled to guard the three ball this season. The Terps rank 244th natioanlly in three-point defense this season. Myreon Jones, Seth Lundy, Sam Sessoms, Izaiah Brockington, and Myles Dread need to look to take advantage of this.
The lack of a true inside presence from Maryland works in favor of the Nittany Lions and helps get Penn State back on track. Penn State 75, Maryland 72