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Maryland locks down late vs. Purdue: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland locks down late vs. Purdue: 5 things you need to know

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland has been in close games before -- and they have won them. But down four points with under six minutes to go against an elite defensive team like Purdue, that two-possession deficit had to feel like double digits.

Then Maryland shifted into a gear that would have seemed out-of-character when the season began.

The Terrapins, who have been riding their defense over the past month, completely locked down the Boilermakers over the last six minutes of the game, using a 16-2 run to close out Purdue in a 72-61 victory at XFINITY Center in College Park.

A clutch Robert Carter, Jr. led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds. Rasheed Sulaimon led all scorers with 21. Melo Trimble chipped in 14.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) No real surprise how Purdue would start

The Boilermakers have two seven-footers. They get a massive portion of their points inside the paint. So it was no surprise that AJ Hammons had six of Purdue’s first eight points by the under-16 timeout.

The plan for them was two-fold. Obviously Hammons is a good scorer on the interior, but it was also to get five-star Maryland freshman into foul trouble. Stone got one and Turgeon sat him down until the under-12 timeout.

By the under-4, he had picked up his second. He did an admirable job in the interim, though. Hammons and Haas had combined to shoot 5-of-12 by that point.

2) Maryland counters with smart offensive plan

How do you beat size? You either shoot over the top of it or make those bigs move around. Maryland did a little bit of both early on.

Rasheed Sulaimon said it on Friday. As much as Maryland needs to adjust to Purdue, Purdue has to adjust to Maryland. The Terrapins have two frontcourt players in Robert Carter, Jr. and Stone who can step away from the rim and knock down shots.

Carter hit two threes early to jump-start the offense.

MORE TERPS: CURRY OFFERS ADVICE TO TRIMBLE BEFORE DROPPING 51 POINTS

3) Terps hit a wall before the half

After pushing the lead to eight points, 18-10, with 11:03 to play, Maryland’s perimeter defense became disorganized. An offensive drought went hand-in-hand with a 10-0 Boilermaker run.

During that run, Maryland missed a series of bunnies around the rim and had turnovers that halted offensive possessions. The result of that is that it hands the keys to Purdue and allows them to dictate the pace.

If the Boilermakers had their way, this would be a slow, grind-it-out defensive game. That is what the final 11 minutes of the second half became. Purdue led, 30-27, at the break.

4) Trying to dictate the pace in the second half

Maryland had fallen in love with the jumper and it was clear out of the half that Turgeon wanted his team to get the ball to the basket. Melo Trimble went there in the first 20 seconds and hit two shots. Jake Layman went and hit two more within the first minute.

In conjunction with that, they pushed the pace. What’s the best way to beat two seven-footers? Make sure they’re still getting back on defense when you’re taking your shot. Trimble and Sulaimon were key in that respect.

But with such a strong defensive opposition, it is hard to pull away. The Terrapins felt in control with around 11 minutes to play, but led by only three points. A 6-0 Purdue run put the Boilermakers back up by three.

5) The run

Four points against a team of this caliber defensively feels like 10. That is where Maryland found itself with 5:58 to play. That was when Robert Carter, Jr. -- who had already been so crucial for them to that point -- hit a corner three in the two-man game with Melo Trimble that turned the tide.

If he doesn’t make that basket, Purdue would have another shot to score the next possession and make it a six- or seven-point game. Carter’s three made it just one.

The next two minutes, Maryland shifted into another gear defensively that likely was not a part of the team’s arsenal when the season began. They locked down. In all, they went on a 16-2 run, stretching into the final minute of the game.

Carter received a standing ovation as he exited the floor.

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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