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In apparent mistake, Diamond Stone starts for Maryland vs. Rutgers

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In apparent mistake, Diamond Stone starts for Maryland vs. Rutgers

COLLEGE PARK -- After a seven-game stretch of great success (and seven wins) Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon made a change to his starting lineup on Wednesday by re-inserting Diamond Stone as the team’s starting center in its 88-63 victory over Rutgers at XFINITY Center in College Park.

It seemed like perhaps a shift back to lineups from earlier this season, but according to senior forward Jake Layman, it was a procedural error.

“Tonight, [Stone] wasn’t supposed to start,” the senior said. “It was supposed to be Damonte [Dodd], but someone messed that up.”

Layman, with a laugh, declined to elaborate and head coach Mark Turgeon and other players had already spoken to the media before Layman said what he had said and, thus, were unable to elaborate either.

There was obvious confusion during pregame introductions, which would support what Layman was explaining.

Stone was listed as the starting center on the XFINITY Center scoreboard and in the online scorebook available to media. Even the public address announcer introduced Stone as the starter, accompanied by a graphic featuring Stone’s picture being shown on the overhead videoboard.

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But Dodd stood up off the bench and ran through the two parallel lines of reserve players that had been formed (as usual) for the introduction ceremony. Stone was in one of those lines as if he were meant to be a reserve.

When both teams took the floor, though, Stone was the team’s starting center.

Regardless, he was highly efficient in his 21 minutes on the floor, finishing with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.

“Diamond does a great job of imposing his will,” Layman said. “He’s so much bigger than everybody else that he does a great job of if he misses a shot getting right back and putting it back up.”

Stone had come off the bench in the previous seven games and scored in double figures in every contest, including a Maryland freshman record 39 points in a victory over Penn State last week.

In the game that followed Stone’s breakout performance, he came off the bench against Northwestern and put up 10 points and two blocks.

What is unclear now is, if in fact it did happen to be a mistake, whether Stone will again come off the bench in his homecoming to Wisconsin on Saturday or if he will be a starter.

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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

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Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Lamar Stevens feels like he's playing his most consistent basketball right now, a bad omen for upcoming opponents considering Penn State expects its hybrid forward to do a little bit of everything.

Just like he did on Wednesday.

Stevens scored 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting with 14 in the second half to lift Penn State over Maryland 74-70.

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"Lamar really stepped up for us," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We needed every one of those points that he had tonight."

Tony Carr added 16 points, Josh Reaves scored 14, and Mike Watkins added 11 for the Nittany Lions (17-9, 7-6 Big Ten Conference), who equaled their previous best mark for conference victories under Chambers.

"The best teams always find ways to win," Stevens said. "We locked down when we had to, got huge stops, huge rebounds and I think that's a huge step for this team."

With Maryland (16-10, 5-8) up 20-14 midway through the first half, Stevens nailed his first of two 3-pointers to spark a quick 9-0 run that helped Penn State take control.

He rolled layups off his fingers and sank midrange jumpers on multiple back-to-back possessions in the second half, where he scored 11 of his team's first 20 points.

"He made some incredible, incredible shots," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "He was terrific, he was so efficient."

Stevens added four rebounds, two assists and was 3-for-4 on free throws with all three makes coming in the final 5:48 as Maryland threatened.

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Anthony Cowan Jr. led Maryland with 15 points while Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando added 13 apiece.

Darryl Morsell had 10 points for the Terrapins, who cut a 10-point deficit with 8:11 to play to just three with 1:13 left.

"I didn't think we competed in the first half defensively," Turgeon said. "I thought in the second half, we were really trying hard."

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terrapins' disappointing season continues and they have dropped to 7-7 since stalwart forward Justin Jackson's season was ended by a torn shoulder ligament in late December. Although they shot better than their season average, the Terrapins were badly outplayed in the paint, getting outscored 32-22 and outrebounded 27-23.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions are playing an exciting brand of basketball as of late. They have a combined 22 dunks over their last three home games and opponents are finding it hard to play fast against a team that thrives on speed.