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How Diamond Stone's absence affected Maryland in loss to Minnesota

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How Diamond Stone's absence affected Maryland in loss to Minnesota

When Maryland had to dig itself out of a hole in the second half against Penn State earlier this season, the solution was clear. Dump the ball down to freshman Diamond Stone and let the big man go to work.

Stone would break the program’s freshman scoring record, which was set before he was even born, with 39 points in a 70-64 come-from-behind victory on Dec. 30.

The same situation presented itself on Thursday night against Minnesota. The Terrapins trailed by double digits at the half against a lesser opponent. Point guard Melo Trimble was struggling to find his groove, as was forward Robert Carter, Jr.

The difference? Stone was sitting on the sidelines in a suit, suspended for the game after an incident during Saturday’s game against Wisconsin during which he shoved the Badgers’ Vitto Brown to the ground.

No Stone, very little offensive flow, and the Gophers handed Maryland an upset loss, 68-63.

The offensive problems go beyond Stone’s absence on Thursday, but the fact that he was on the bench certainly did not help. It’s equally as important that his scoring was missing as it was that those who replaced him provided very little scoring -- but they were not expected to.

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Maryland was able to go smaller at times when applying heavy defensive pressure, but without Stone, that meant 32 minutes for Damonte Dodd. The junior had six blocks -- including a few emphatic ones -- and grabbed nine rebounds, but he is not and cannot be expected to replace what Stone can do on the offensive end.

In that Penn State game, Maryland simply fed Stone the ball and had him go to work. The Nittany Lions had no answer.

Against Minnesota, even as Maryland continually got stops and tried to climb back into it, they struggled to get their offense going as a response. Imagine that level of defense, combined consistently with a basic Stone back-down and bucket.

That would have taken the scoring burden off of Melo Trimble, who forced a handful of long two-point jumpers on a 3-of-11 night, and shifted some post touches from Carter, who was 3-of-12, to Stone.

Diamond Stone missing Thursday’s game was not the reason they lost. And in the wake of the loss head coach Mark Turgeon should not take criticism for suspending the freshman.

Maryland was favored by double digits and should have won handily. But having Stone in the lineup could have meant another close win. Punishments are punishments.

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Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland forward Justin Jackson will forgo his final two seasons of college eligibility to seek a career in the NBA.

Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon also says guard Dion Wiley will transfer before playing his senior season.

MORE TERPS: LEFTY DRIESELL IS FINALLY GOING TO ENTER THE HALL OF FAME

Jackson averaged 10.5 points as a freshman before missing most of the 2017-18 season with a shoulder injury.

Jackson says, "After talking with my family and weighing my options, it's my desire to turn my full attention to preparing for a career in professional basketball."

Wiley appeared in 83 career games, playing a backup role on three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament under Turgeon.

Maryland was 19-13 this season, including 8-10 in the Big Ten, and failed to reach the postseason.

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

Long-time University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Charles Grice “Lefty” Driesell will finally be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

This is according to NBC Sports Washington contributor Jon Feinstein.

Driesell coached the Terrapins for 17 seasons between 1969-86. While guiding the program to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT Championship, Driesell transformed Maryland into a legitimate force in college basketball.

When hired by the Terps, Driesell famously announced that he wanted to turn Maryland into the “UCLA of the East.” After only four seasons he had made it to two ACC Championship Games and his first Elite Eight appearance. His success opened the door not only for the program but the school to compete at the highest levels of competition.

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Maryland made it as high as the Elite Eight twice under the reign of Driesell. He was named ACC Coach of the Year twice and won one ACC Tournament Championship in 1984. At the time of his NIT Championship with the Terps in 1972, the NIT was held in a similar regard to the NCAA Tournament.

He is second on Maryland’s all-time wins list (348), behind Gary Williams’ 461. Driesell however, still holds the best win percentage of all Maryland coaches with 68.6 win percentage.

After Maryland, the former Duke basketball coached at James Madison for just short of a decade and ended his coaching days at Georgia State. Driesell also coached at Davidson before taking the Maryland job to combine for over 40 seasons at the head of a Division I basketball program.

The 86-year-old was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2007. He also the namesake for the NCAA’s best defensive player of the year award, which was first awarded in 2010.

The official announcement from the Naismith Hall of Fame will be during the Final Four on Saturday, March 31.

WANT MORE HOOPS?  Listen below as Troy Machir and Chick Hernandez discuss Lefty Driesell's legacy in the area and why the Terps icon was on the outside of the Hall of Fame for so long.