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5-star Diamond Stone lives up to nickname in Maryland exhibition win

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5-star Diamond Stone lives up to nickname in Maryland exhibition win

COLLEGE PARK -- He goes by the nickname M&M -- meaning “Many Moves” -- originally given to him by his father and since carried on to the early days of his college career at Maryland.

Five-star freshman center Diamond Stone was every bit “Many Moves” in Maryland’s 91-55 exhibition victory over Southern New Hampshire on Friday night in College Park, tallying 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and adding five rebounds.

He scored on Maryland’s first offensive possession on a one-on-one move in the post, something that we saw maybe a handful of times the entirety of last season for the Terrapins on a team with limited post options.

He followed that up with a spin on the baseline to the open rim later in the game, not to mention his awareness to pass out of the post to open shooters when double-teamed.

“I think Diamond showed that he’s pretty special down there [in the post],” head coach Mark Turgeon said after the game. “Now, he wasn’t going against 6-10 guys and all that but still to catch it and finish and do the things he did, he made it look easy.”

The migration of that nickname, which junior Robert Carter says is spelled like the candy, from Stone’s father to Maryland came one day in practice during some friendly jawing back and forth between Stone and the Georgia Tech transfer.

MORE TERPS: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MARYLAND'S WIN OVER SNHU

The two were going at it and Stone must have made a particularly nice play, proclaiming himself to be the moniker. Carter was confused by the abbreviation until Stone elaborated on what it meant. After a fine play of his own Carter would jab back, saying he ought to have that nickname instead.

“I call him ‘M&M’ when he’s playing good,” Carter said of Stone. “So when he made the first shots, I said, ‘M&M!’”

“I shouldn’t have called him because then he got like three fouls,” he joked.

Because of those fouls, Stone played just five minutes in the first half, but he scored six points within that short time. He would emerge in the second to finish with that breakout stat line.

Turgeon has praised Stone over the past few weeks for the way that he has taken a significant next step in his development. There was something of a question whether he would start the season opener or if the more defensive-minded Damonte Dodd would do so.

But Friday night’s lineup and Turgeon’s postgame comments seem to give an indication which way he is leaning.

“Starting means a lot to [Stone],” Turgeon said. “The person he started for [Dodd], it doesn’t mean as much to him. He knows he’s going to play, so that’s why I started him.

“I just feel like, eventually he’s going to be our starting center so why not do it now and go with him?”

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Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

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Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

The world of college basketball has been on high alert since last fall when reports first surfaced of a longterm FBI investigation into the worst-kept secret in sports: college athletes being paid to play.

News surrounding the scandal died down after the inital wave of arrests, but Yahoo! Sports released a warning of sorts recently and followed it up on Friday by naming players (both past and present) for the first time. There were dozens of programs and players implicated, including Maryland's Diamond Stone.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon released the following statement Friday afternoon.

"Late last night we were alerted of a report associating one of our former student-athletes with an agent. We are extremely disappointed, and we will fully cooperate with any investigation. I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player. We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season, after which he left for the NBA. That Terps team was highly-ranked entering the season but ended up losing in the Sweet 16 to top-seeded Kansas.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

Andy Miller is the agent whose financial records were used to implicate so many players in the Yahoo! Sports report. It's no surprise that Turgeon would deny having a relationship with Miller regarding any of his players, but the question remains: What does this mean for Maryland basketball?

You can be sure that Turgeon will be meeting with both past and current assistant coaches Friday to confirm they have not had any involvement with Andy Miller. He'll also certainly be meeting with higher-ups at Maryland, as they try to cover their bases. 

That said, it seems unlikely Maryland would take an action as drastic as firing Turgeon over these allegations. There has been no evidence released so far that implies Turgeon had any knowledge of Stone's actions. Barring further information coming to light, it seems as though this is a case of Stone developing a relationship with Miller's agency separately from Maryland.

Some of the more vocal members of Maryland's fan base would like to think Turgeon is on the hot seat. The truth is, given his long-term contract and the current state of Maryland's finances, it's not currently feasible to fire him and expect to afford a more accomplished coach. Though if further reports indicate Turgeon was complicit, then all bets are off.

It remains possible the NCAA will impose punishments on the schools involved with this scandal, in the form of reduced scholarships, postseason bans, or worse. But that's likely off the table until further evidence comes out regarding how much schools and coaches actually knew. It is a near-certainty that some schools were in cahoots with Miller and other agents; the problem is identifying which schools were intentionally breaking the rules, and which were simply unaware. Ultimately, however, some degree of responsibility falls on the head coach.

For now, the biggest worry on the minds of Maryland fans should be vacated wins. If Diamond Stone was ineligible, then it's possible the victories Maryland recorded during the 2015-16 season will be erased from the record books. Unfortunately, this could include their run to the Sweet 16, which was the program's first in more than a decade.

Given the expectations surrounding the team during Stone's year in College Park, his tenure could already be considered a disappointment. Losing those wins would further dampen the memories fans have from that season.

On the bright side, at least the Terps didn't have a Final Four run to lose.

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

LINCOLN, Neb. -- James Palmer Jr. scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, Isaiah Roby had all 11 of his after half, and Nebraska held off Maryland 70-66 on Tuesday night.

Palmer and Roby combined for 35 of the Cornhuskers' 40 second-half points, and they secured their first 20-win season since 2008. They won a sixth straight conference game for the first time in 20 years.

Palmer scored 15 straight points for the Huskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) over a 10-minute span that ended when Roby hit one of two free throws with 2:57 left for a 64-59 lead. Roby had a double-double, with 10 rebounds, and he also blocked three shots.

The Terps (17-11, 6-9) had a chance to take the lead with a minute to play, but Glynn Watson Jr. blocked Anthony Cowan Jr.'s 3-point try, Evan Taylor came up with the loose ball and got it to Watson.

Watson missed a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout, and Roby got the rebound and was immediately fouled. He made both free throws for a 66-63 lead. Kevin Huerter's layin cut it to one point before Watson made two free throws.

Huerter went to the line with 2.8 seconds left, and after making the first free throw he intentionally missed the second. Palmer got the rebound, was fouled and put the game away with two free throws.

Bruno Fernando led the Terps with 21 points and nine rebounds. Huerter added 12 points and Darryl Morsell had 11.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terps' fading NCAA Tournament hopes might have been dashed with their seventh straight road loss.

Nebraska: The Huskers are resting firmly on the NCAA bubble and absolutely needed this win. They got it, thanks to Palmer and Roby's efforts in the second half.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts Rutgers on Saturday. It's the teams' only meeting this season.

Nebraska visits Illinois. The Huskers beat the Illini 64-63 in Lincoln on Jan. 15.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities