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Second-half surge carries No. 5 Maryland over Harvard 80-73

Second-half surge carries No. 5 Maryland over Harvard 80-73

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) -- No. 5 Maryland is answering the challenge against stronger competition in the Orlando Invitational.

Coach Mark Turgeon's just wondering what it'll take to get Terrapins (7-0) going a little earlier in games, regardless of who they're playing.

"I think we've beaten two NCAA tournament-type teams down here so far, and we get to play for a championship on Sunday," Turgeon said after Friday's 80-73 victory over Harvard in the semifinals of the eight-team tournament at Disney World.

"I'm disappointed in myself that I can't get our team to play better at the start," the coach added. "I don't what know it is. If I knew what it was, I'd have it corrected. "

Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half, and the persistent Terps gradually overcome another slow start to begin a season with seven straight wins for the first time under Turgeon.

Cowan followed up on a 30-point performance in the previous day's come-from-behind win over Temple with 10 points and an assist during a 12-4 burst that sparked a game-closing surge for the Terps, who also got the job done defensively by holding Harvard (5-3) without a field goal for a six-minute stretch of the second half while Maryland was taking control.

Jalen Smith had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Aaron Wiggins, Darryl Morsell and Eric Ayala scored 13 apiece for the Terps, who will play Marquette or USC for the championship.

"I thought (Thursday) we really had energy. Today we had nothing," Turgeon said. "We're a rah-rah team in the dressing room, a rah-rah team when we're stretching. I thought we were ready. We just didn't share the ball enough. I just want our guys to play a little more unselfishly at the start and I think we'll be a better team."

Bryce Aiken led Harvard with 30 points, but the Crimson missed 18 of 26 attempts from behind the 3-point arc and didn't have enough muscle or firepower to hold off the Terps after leading by as many as 11 in the opening half. Noah Kirkwood finished with 12 points and Robert Baker had 11.

"Bryce can score with the best of them," Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. "He had a pretty efficient offensive game, but he can be better than that, certainly in other areas of quarterbacking our team and leading our team."

Amaker was impressed with Maryland, which -- despite slow starts being a recurring theme -- won its first five games by no fewer than 18 points.

"The key word for me, and I think all good teams have this, is balance," Amaker said. "I think they have a lot of pieces to the puzzle."

THE TAKEAWAY

Maryland: The Terps fell behind 9-0 in the opening minutes and trailed 35-31 at halftime. They also overcame a slow start against Temple on Thursday, but found a way to win despite not shooting well from the line. In addition to turning the ball over 16 times, the Terps made just 25 of 40 free throws.

Harvard: The Crimson would have led by more at halftime if they hadn't gone 1 of 10 on 3-point attempts. After going 22 for 22 from the line in beating Texas A&M in the first round, Harvard only shot 17 free throws against Maryland, making 10.

UP NEXT

Maryland: Plays Marquette or USC in Sunday's championship game.

Harvard: Plays the loser of the Marquette-USC semifinal for third place Sunday.

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Penn State LB and potential top-10 pick Micah Parsons opts out of 2020 college football season

Penn State LB and potential top-10 pick Micah Parsons opts out of 2020 college football season

Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons announced his decision to opt out of the 2020 college football season and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday. 

In a video he posted to his Instagram account, Parsons addressed Penn State fans to explain his decision to forgo the upcoming college football season amidst the coronavirus pandemic. He stated his primary reason was his two-year-old son.

"As I considered my options for the 2020 season, I decided that I needed to make a choice not for myself, but for my son and those dearest to me," Parsons said in the video. "While I felt safe with the health and safety standards as we returned to Penn State for workouts, the potential risk to the health and well-being of my son far outweighed my urge to play football season."

Parsons’ decision came as a surprise to many, as he had two seasons of eligibility remaining and stated his hope to win a national championship with the Nittany Lions. However, Parsons decided the risk was not worth it.

In the video, Parsons also announced he will be graduating early and receiving his degree in December in order to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds with an estimated 4.4-second 40-yard dash, he is a potential top-10 pick in next year’s draft.

Meanwhile, Parsons wasn't the only likely first-round pick to decide to skip the season. Miami defensive end Greg Rousseau has also decided to opt out. The redshirt sophomore had 15 1/2 sacks last season for the Hurricanes and two forced fumbles. No returning college football player had more sacks than Rousseau last season. Only Chase Young had more (16.5).

The trend is excelerating. Rousseau and Parsons join Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley and Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman as four potential first-round picks to all opt out of the upcoming season.

Parsons was a five-star prospect from Harrisburg, Pa. and the highest-rated player ever recruited by head coach James Franklin. He led the team with 82 tackles as a freshman and had a standout sophomore season in 2019 with 109 tackles, 14 for loss and five sacks. He earned All-American honors, was selected as Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and was a Butkus Award finalist.

Now Penn State will have to carry on their season without Parsons. The Nittany Lions ranked seventh in the Preseason Coaches Poll released on Thursday. With the new Big Ten schedule released on Wednesday, they will now open their season at home against Northwestern on Sept. 5 and will host rival Maryland on Oct. 17.

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Former Terp and current Bills WR Stefon Diggs ready for new start after exit from Vikings

Former Terp and current Bills WR Stefon Diggs ready for new start after exit from Vikings

Stefon Diggs has a new beginning with the Buffalo Bills.

And he isn't dwelling on his departure from the Minnesota Vikings.

Speaking with Buffalo reporters for the first time since his blockbuster trade in March, Diggs repeatedly expressed excitement over his new surroundings while also downplaying his role in leaving Minnesota.

"As far as my past with Minnesota, I never actually said anything," Diggs said. "But, granted, this new situation, I can say I'm excited. There's no right or wrong or problems to be fixed or something to replace with my old situation. I have a lot of respect for the Minnesota Vikings."

Last season with the Vikings, Diggs was fined more than $200,000 for unexcused absences from practices in October. He was also known for cryptic tweets that may or may not have offered insight into his situation with the team. Prior to being traded to Buffalo, Diggs tweeted "it's time for a new beginning" -- and hours later he was a member of the Bills for four draft picks.

In Buffalo, he's expected to be the unquestioned No. 1 receiver on a team hoping to win the AFC East following Tom Brady's exit from the division.

"I never really was too vocal about it. `It's time for a new beginning' was enough said," Diggs said. "I'm super excited with my new situation. I feel like this is also a great organization built on a lot of hard-working guys, a lot of guys that really grind to get to where they're at.

"I trust the people that are in place. I'm just happy to be a part of it at this point. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel or anything like that, I'm just trying to be as helpful as I can, be a puzzle piece, try to mesh as well as I can to help this team win."

Diggs has been a game-breaker throughout his career and the Bills are hoping he's the finishing piece who can put them over the top. Diggs finished last season with a career-high 1,130 yards receiving and he was fourth in the league with an average of 17.9 yards per reception. He's considered one of the best route runners in the NFL and is set to form a solid receiving trio alongside John Brown and Cole Beasley.

Priority No. 1 for Diggs with his new team is to work on establishing chemistry with quarterback Josh Allen. The two met up for unofficial workouts in Florida earlier this summer, but have plenty of work to make up with the lack of a traditional offseason.

"I'm super excited," Diggs said. "He's going into Year 3. As a quarterback, as a guy, big arm, big quarterback, a lot of heart, he runs around, he's mobile, can extend the play. He does a lot of things extremely well. More so focused on how I can help him, anything I can do to help him. Always be in his ear, having communication with him, if he needs something from me ... I'm just there to be his supporting cast on whatever he needs and play receiver."

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So far, so good according to teammate and standout cornerback Tre'Davious White.

"Obviously he's a Grade A talent," White said. "To have a transcendent talent like that to add with the other guys that we have ... on paper, it looks great. Those guys are going to have to continue to work each and every day. Just on paper, we look sexy (on offense), we look good."

After expressing some concerns one month ago about playing football this year -- and hours after White said that he was unsure about his own plans for this season -- Diggs said that he will be playing amid coronavirus concerns.

"Seeing that the deadline is tomorrow, I'm pretty much bought in on playing football," Diggs said. "I've been here buying into the process as far as getting to know my teammates, getting to know my coaches, kind of starting to get the ball rolling. I put in a lot of time in the offseason training and (working on) my craft ... I made some arrangements where I'm going to be playing football this year."

NOTES: The Bills activated CB Ike Brown and S Siran Neal off the reserve/COVID-19 list. To make room on the roster, Buffalo released RB Antonio Williams and DE Jonathan Woodard.

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