The 13-point effort — together with 10 in somewhat greater than 5 minutes — was arguably Ayala’s greatest recreation in almost a month. The senior had shot 22.6 % whereas averaging eight factors over his earlier 5 video games, and he missed a Feb. 13 loss at then-No. 3 Purdue with a wrist damage.
“In the second half, he came in and made some plays that we’re used to Eric making,” interim coach Danny Manning stated. “We’re certainly happy to see that. The more comfortable he is, the more minutes he’s going to get. He’ll get back to his regular role, I anticipate, fairly soon.”
Fatts Russell scored 18 factors for the Terrapins (13-14, 5-11 Big Ten), who’ve gained back-to-back video games for the primary time since Jan. 21 and 25. Donta Scott added 12 as Maryland snapped a four-game skid within the collection. Sam Sessoms scored 17 factors off the bench for Penn State (11-13, 6-10).
As in Friday’s victory at Nebraska, which snapped a five-game skid, Ayala got here off the bench. He hit a three-pointer within the first half, however his biggest influence got here after halftime. A 3-pointer capped an 8-0 run that gave Maryland the lead for good, and one other three pushed the Terps’ benefit to 46-39 and prompted Penn State Coach Micah Shrewsberry to name a timeout.
Ayala additionally was answerable for Maryland’s subsequent two baskets.
“I definitely feel good,” he stated. “My hand isn’t bothering me as much. … My confidence level is there. I wouldn’t be out on the court if I didn’t feel like I could help the team and I didn’t feel like myself.”
Ayala didn’t look snug or assertive throughout a two-point outing off the bench at Nebraska, however he was nearer to his traditional self towards Penn State.
“I know how good of a player he is,” Shrewsberry stated. “He got going in that stretch and really spurred them on to kind of open the game up.”
It was the third consecutive aggressive displaying from Maryland because it suffered a 110-87 loss to Iowa on Feb. 10. The Terps misplaced by a degree at Purdue, then blasted Nebraska, 90-74, for his or her most lopsided victory away from house this season.
Then they stymied the Nittany Lions — and appeared to get Ayala again on observe for the closing stretch.
“The way we’re playing right now, if Eric gets hot, it’s going to be scary,” Russell stated. “We know how explosive Eric can be. He’s getting healthy, and I’m excited for him to be 100 percent.”
Here’s what else to know from Monday’s recreation:
After going scoreless on three shot makes an attempt within the first half, Russell took seven pictures within the first 5 minutes of the second. He made three of them, producing Maryland’s first seven factors after halftime.
“We felt like we should have been up at halftime, and the game was tied,” Russell stated. “I just came out there and tried to make some energy plays and tried to be aggressive on the offensive end for myself and others.”
He additionally closed out the victory, going 8 for 10 on the foul line within the last 53.3 seconds to stop Penn State from getting inside a possession for the primary time since Ayala’s burst early within the second half.
Sophomore Ian Martinez has reemerged as a constant consider Maryland’s rotation over the past 5 video games, and his defensive prowess once more made a distinction towards the Nittany Lions.
Martinez had 4 steals off the bench, matching his whole from Friday at Nebraska. He’s the primary Maryland participant with 4 steals in consecutive video games since Greivis Vasquez did it March 6 and 12, 2010, towards Virginia and Georgia Tech.
“That’s the Ian Martinez that I see every day in practice,” Russell stated. “I’m glad he’s finally coming out there and showing who he truly is.”
Monday’s victory might be important to the Terps’ hopes of avoiding the primary day of the Big Ten match. Because it was the one assembly of the season between the groups, Maryland holds the head-to-head tiebreaker ought to it’s mandatory.
The Terps moved a half-game forward of Northwestern (12-13, 5-11) for eleventh place however nonetheless path Penn State by a recreation for tenth. The prime 10 groups obtain byes within the first spherical of the convention match March 9 in Indianapolis.