Maryland Terps

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How Maryland playing with fire could get them burned in Cancun

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How Maryland playing with fire could get them burned in Cancun

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland has played with fire over its past two games and, if the trend continues, they run the risk of soon getting burned.

Despite beating both Georgetown and Rider this past week, the Terrapins trailed by seven points with 5:48 to play and 14 points with 16:19 to play, respectively. They battled back from both deficits, but is there a common thread between the two games?

“It’s not chemistry. It was effort tonight, it was paying attention to details tonight, and then a coach just not having them prepared,” Turgeon said after the win over Rider.

“I don’t see a common thread. We were nervous the other night to start, they weren’t. They made shots to start, we didn’t. We competed, so we know we have to get better. We understand it.”

In each of those two games, there seemed to be a separate thorn in Maryland’s side. Against Georgetown, it was the play of seven-footer Bradley Hayes and timely outside shooting. Against Rider, it was an inability to keep the Broncs out of the lane defensively and the inability to crack the defense’s zone on the other end of the floor.

But there still seems to be a sense of confidence that players projected after both wins. Senior Rasheed Sulaimon talked about the mood of the huddle late against Georgetown when upperclassmen kept repeating the message that they could still win the game.

Then, there was Layman after the Rider win.

MORE TERPS: HOW DIAMOND STONE BOUNCED BACK SO QUICKLY

“To me, the whole time I felt like we were all going to come back, but when we’re down 15, that’s not a good spot to be in,” he said. “We showed some good things at the end of the game, but we still have a lot to work on obviously.”

Maryland will refocus on its trip to Cancun this upcoming week. Illinois State is up first, a mid-major that the Terrapins should beat handily.

The major concern should be if Rhode Island beats TCU and the Terrapins meet the Rams in the tournament’s championship game.

Rhode Island lost star E.C. Matthews for the season to a knee injury, but that team is still packed with talent and led by one of the best young coaches in college basketball -- Dan Hurley.

Former Towson guard Four McGlynn is carrying the offense. Off-guard Jared Terrell was once an Oklahoma State commit. Forward Hassan Martin could start on a number of Power Five teams. Fellow forward Kuran Iverson was a Top 30 player nationally coming out of high school and for him it has always been about putting it all together.

The Rams are 2-1 on the year. Their loss? A three-point defeat at the hands of a Valparaiso team that is a favorite to win the Horizon League -- and pushed Maryland to the brink in last year's NCAA tournament.

Trail by double digits in the second half against that Rhode Island team and a win isn’t as much within reach.

“We’re three games in and we just have to get better,” Turgeon said. “We’ll keep working on it and hopefully get more consistent defensively and more consistent offensively.

“We’ve got to play better and that’s my job to get them playing better.”

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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