Morsell’s persistence pays off against Penn State

By: Eric Myers

His first three-point attempt barely grazed the opposite side of the rim. The second didn’t touch anything at all. These shooting woes for Maryland freshman Darryl Morsell have been all too familiar for the Baltimore native as he entered Tuesday’s game with a 1/13 shooting clip from the perimeter.

Morsell, who is lauded by teammates and coaches for stifling the opposition’s best perimeter scorer and for his ability to attack the basket, has persistently worked on the one glaring weakness that opposing coaches note while preparing to face Morsell. The freshman guard stays after practice to get extra attempts, so much so that he has to use ice packs and heating pads on his wrists for the profusive number of shots he puts up.

“Darryl stays on the court every time. After practice he’s always out there with coach, he’s always shooting threes,” fellow freshman Bruno Fernando said. “That’s one thing I told him on the court [against Penn State], he missed two, but I told him ‘take the next one.’”

The next opportunity that Fernando alluded to presented itself with Maryland trailing 61-58 with 4:36 to play. Just as was the case nearly the entire night, Morsell’s defender collapsed down to help defender on the drive, leaving Morsell with room for an open three.

Morsell had to disregard not only his season long perimeter shooting struggles, but also his 0/8 shooting and 2/6 free throw game. Undeterred, Morsell calmly caught the ball on the perimeter and rose up for the shot without hesitation and converted to tie the game at 61.

Two possessions later, Morsell collected a pass from Anthony Cowan and drove to the basket late in the shot clock. He was able to score on a difficult layup while withstanding a shot contest from Penn State center, Mike Watkins, who ranks second in the Big Ten in blocked shots with 3.4 per game.

For Morsell the early stages of the game against Penn State were reminiscent of the other conference home game for Maryland, when he struggled to a 3/16 shooting mark including going 0/4 from the perimeter in the Terps’ 80-75 loss in early December. Fortunately for Maryland, the freshman remained confident in himself and was able to come through in the close game down the stretch.

“He’s definitely worked a lot [on outside shooting],” Cowan said. “Obviously he hit a big three for us [against Penn State] to tie the game up. We need him to keep doing that, shooting the ball with confidence.”