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If the season ended today, Maryland freshman center Diamond Stone might be the Sixth Man of the Year in the Big Ten.
While a handful of other young big men around the nation continue to receive, perhaps, too much attention based on what they might become, Stone is playing well above most of his classmates and he's doing it coming off the bench in more than half of the Terrapins' games.
Stone turned in his best performance yet and one of the most impactful from any freshman to far this season on Wednesday night helping No. 4 Maryland overcome a double-digit, second-half deficit to beat Penn State 70-64 in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams.
Stone had scored in double figures in nine of his first 12 games and Wednesday he produced his first career double-double with 39 points and 12 rebounds. The 39 points set a new Maryland freshman scoring record.
Perhaps the most impressive part of his night wasn't the scoring or the record but the fact that he was largely responsible for leading the Terrapins' comeback. He made 19 of 25 free throw attempts and scored 32 points after halftime. He wasn't in the starting lineup for the seventh time in 13 games.
Stone has played well in both a starting role but he seems to be more comfortable coming off the bench with most of his best outings coming when he was in the sixth man role so far this season. After a performance like the one he produced Wednesday, it might be tough for coach Mark Turgeon to keep him out of the starting role. Regardless, Maryland has big man who is blossoming quickly and becoming the kind of player who could make a national title contender even more lethal.
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