Maryland Terps

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Having 'guts enough' to do it may be key to fixing Terps' backcourt problem

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Having 'guts enough' to do it may be key to fixing Terps' backcourt problem

COLLEGE PARK -- Mark Turgeon sat at the podium after his team’s 75-71 victory over Georgetown on Tuesday night in College Park and promised it would be the only time this season that he would say this.

“We missed Dion tonight.”

With sophomore guard Dion Wiley sidelined for the season after undergoing knee surgery, Maryland’s backcourt rotation went from what appeared to be deep to a situation that forced senior Rasheed Sulaimon and sophomore Melo Trimble to play 37 and 34 minutes vs. the Hoyas, respectively.

That is the kind of minutes tally that will help you win a must-have rivalry game, but one that Turgeon knows is not sustainable for an entire season.

“I just have to have guts enough to play my bench on the perimeter,” Turgeon said. “If I do that, we’ll be fine.”

With Georgetown out of the way and four games in the next nine days, this is the time to figure it out. Senior Varun Ram is a situational defensive player, so most of this falls on the shoulders of junior college point guard transfer Jaylen Brantley.

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Brantley came to Maryland with a reputation as a strong shooter and a player who could be an agitator on the defensive end of the floor. He played 16 minutes in the team’s opener against Mount St. Mary’s, but just one in the win over Georgetown.

“I just got to get him in there more. He’s got to get more comfortable and it’s a lot,” Turgeon said. “It’s a big jump from junior college ball to Georgetown, on ESPN, in front of that environment.”

The biggest adjustment for Brantley will be how exactly he fits. In high school, he says, he was a featured player. In junior college, he played 30 minutes per night and ran the team. Now, he has to figure out how to boil his game down and pack it into, say, 15 minutes per game.

“The adjustment with that is just playing harder in the time that you’re in,” Brantley said. “Do positive things. Don’t do anything negative to get yourself out of the game and if you just be positive and play great at that time that you’re in, I’m pretty sure Coach will keep you in and see what happens in the rest of the game.”

An effective Brantley would mean a reduced workload for Trimble and Sulaimon, which will pay off down the stretch of the season. It would also allow Maryland to be more flexible with small-ball lineups like the one they were forced to use late against Georgetown.

Brantley should get more minutes beginning on Friday against Rider. Three more games after that await before the team’s big showdown Dec. 1 in Chapel Hill against No. 1 North Carolina.

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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.

RELATED: UPDATED DMV POWER RANKINGS

"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.