March 07, 2015

Maryland freshman center Diamond Stone has endured a string of difficult efforts, though he could be poised to break out in his next game.

He'll be up against an undersized Nebraska team that was manhandled by a big man its last time out as the fourth-ranked Terrapins head to Lincoln on Wednesday night.

Stone is one of the conference's top freshmen, averaging 12.8 points despite struggling with foul trouble at times. His 24.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per 40 minutes lead all Maryland regulars. However, he's totaled 25 points on 35.0 percent shooting in his last three games, including 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting in Sunday's 66-61 victory at Ohio State.

One positive for the 6-foot-11 Stone is that he did not have a personal foul for the first time.

"It was a frustrating night for him and he still had 10 points, the kid's amazing," coach Mark Turgeon said. "I told him the sun will come up tomorrow and we'll move on and he'll play better."

Turgeon may be right based on how Nebraska (12-10, 4-5 Big Ten) couldn't stop Purdue 7-footer A.J. Hammons in Saturday's 89-74 road defeat. Hammons made 14 of 17 shots for a career-best 32 points along with 11 rebounds and five assists.

The Cornhuskers tried a variety of defenses to no avail. They do not have a player taller than 6-8 among their top eight in minutes per game.

"Even in man and zone, we didn't quite fight him, his position early enough so then we had to go fronts," coach Tim Miles said. "Plan B wasn't as good as we'd hoped. Plan A stunk."

The lack of size will be an issue against Stone, who has shown flashes of dominance with a 39-point effort against Penn State on Dec. 30 in his first Big Ten game.

The Terrapins have another big body who is productive in 6-9 senior Jake Layman, who recorded his third double-double with 16 points and 10 assists Sunday.

"He listened to the coaches, he drove the ball, he got to the rim, got to the foul line and he really defended and rebounded," Turgeon said. "We have so much confidence in him defensively, it's amazing what he's doing."

Layman totaled 25 points last season as the Terrapins (19-3, 8-2) swept Nebraska in the first two meetings between the schools.

Maryland star Melo Trimble had 47 points in those games, getting to the line 21 times. The Terrapins needed nearly all of his production as they won those matchups by a total of seven points.

"We played Maryland tough, we've got 'em at home," Miles said. "Hope we have a great crowd and find a way to beat another top-five team."

Shavon Shields starred against the Terps last season with 39 points and 12 rebounds. He scored 16 in 23 minutes before fouling out Saturday in trying to help contain Hammons.

Shields averages 15.8 points to rank second on the team behind Andrew White III (17.0 ppg), who has also been hampered by foul trouble recently while being called upon to guard post players. The 6-foot-7 guard fouled out in 19 minutes Jan. 20 against then-No. 11 Michigan State and finished with 18 points and four fouls against the Boilermakers.

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