After 12 days without basketball, No.14 Maryland (6-1, 2-0 B1G) showed no signs of rust as they defeated Penn State (3-3, 0-2 B1G) 96-82 in State College. Guard Ashley Owusu led the way with a career-high 34 points complemented by eight rebounds.
Owusu’s 34 points are the most scored by a Terrapin sophomore since Crystal Langhorne scored 34 vs. Baylor in 2006, according to Maryland athletics.
“I was aggressive and took what the defense gave me and did my best to create more space to get open shots,” Owusu said.
The Terps have scored over 90 points in five straight games this season. That is the longest stretch of scoring 90 plus points in consecutive games in program history.
“I’m really proud of our effort and enthusiasm that we played with today,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “Obviously we had to shake off some rust with the great break we had at Christmas, but I loved our effort and energy when they made runs on us. It never fazed us. We were able to keep making plays for each other.”
The Terps struggled early on to get off to a fast start against Penn State only shooting 33% from the field in the first quarter.
“I told our players after the first quarter that we were going to be just fine,” Frese said. “We had a really slow start where we were missing layups, but we were still up by one, but we’re capable of putting up a lot more points. I was proud that our effort was there and I’m not worried about us as we move forward.”
Penn State was efficient from behind the arc as it shot 48% led by guard Kelly Jekot who delivered with a double-double, finishing with 23 points and 10 rebounds. The Nittany Lions only allowed the Terps to just shoot 21% from behind the arc in this Big Ten battle and out-scored Maryland 31-17 off the bench.
However, the Terps adjusted and won this game in transition and down low in the paint. Maryland out scored the Nittany Lions 56-34 in the paint and 33-23 in fast break points.
“We wanted to push as much as we could in transition,” Frese said. They’re a great transition team and we wanted to put a lot of pressure on them on the defensive end. I thought we executed the game plan as a team really well.”
As the Terps continue to impress on the offensive side of the ball, today’s game was a perfect example of their tremendous skill set and capabilities to play lockdown defense.
Maryland forced 19 turnovers and earned 13 steals, which they converted into 24 points.
“Anytime you can go on the road and beat a great team like Penn State; a team that plays with so much energy, effort and play very hard it is chalked up to be a great win,” Frese said. “I’m really happy and ready to go into the new year with a great and solid road win.”
Maryland will travel home to College Park to begin the new year to face off against No. 20 Indiana (5-2, 3-0 B1G), at the Xfinity Center Jan. 4. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2.