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Maryland-Ohio State Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-Ohio State Preview: 5 things you need to know

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland returns home on Saturday afternoon to face Ohio State at noon at XFINITY Center in College Park.

Here are five things you need to know about the matchup.

1) Time to bounce back

Maryland’s loss to Michigan on the road Tuesday isn’t the end of the road. It shouldn’t really be considered a “bad” loss. But not bouncing back at home would.

Maryland is one of five teams in the current Top 10 that has lost this week -- and Saturday games haven’t even been played. Kansas, Michigan State, Duke, and Miami all suffered similar fates, and all on the road except for Iowa’s dismantling of Sparty in East Lansing.

Mark Turgeon put it best on Friday. “Life goes on,” he said. No one expected Maryland to go undefeated in the conference, but they do have a legitimate shot to again be undefeated at home in the conference. Beating Ohio State is the next step in that process.

2) Thankfully, no D’Angelo Russell

Before he became the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, D’Angelo Russell put in serious work against Maryland last season. He posted 18 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists to look like the far superior point guard of two superb freshmen last season -- himself and Melo Trimble.

Now he’s part of the Kobe Bryant Farewell Tour with the Lakers, so Maryland won’t so much need to worry about him. That doesn’t mean that they’re out of the woods yet, though.

JaQuan Lyle is the next talented guard in line at Columbus, averaging 14.8 points and 7.4 assists per game. The key defensively for Maryland is that if he’s going to put up big numbers, make him inefficient while he’s doing it.

Lyle only shoots 40 percent from the floor and 27 percent from three-point range on over four attempts per game.

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3) Uneven Ohio State team

The Buckeyes have had their ups and downs so far this season, with strong games like a big victory over Kentucky and head-scratching losses to Louisiana Tech and UT-Arlington. For the Buckeyes, defense is not the problem.

Ohio State ranks 21st in the country in defensive efficiency. The struggles have come when the offense dries up. The Buckeyes average just 1.01 points per possession, 151st in the nation.

For Maryland, that means the focus has to be on getting stops defensively and then pushing the pace the other way, which should spark the offense on the other end of the floor.

4) What about the bench?

Turgeon said that he will stick with the Diamond-Stone-as-sixth-man gameplan that has been so effective this season, though that may change at some point. If Stone weren’t there to buoy the bench, though, what would Maryland have?

Jared Nickens is in the worst shooting slump of his career. He is 4-of-30 from three-point range over the past six games. Michal Cekovsky played sparingly against Michigan because he wasn’t producing where Maryland needs him -- defending and rebounding. And Turgeon opted to put former walk-on guard Varun Ram into the game over Jaylen Brantley for defensive reasons against the Wolverines.

Outside of Stone, everyone on the bench has a very specific talent and skill set. If each produces in that area, Maryland will be fine. If the struggles continue, so will the questions.

5) Home-court advantage?

Maryland has been terrific over the past two seasons at home. This year, Turgeon has over and over again given credit to the fans in attendance for giving Maryland the extra boost it has needed to be pushed over the top in a few games -- Rider, Georgetown, Penn State, etc.

Saturday presents an interesting case. Noon is a tough start time. Energy can be low. Ohio State plays good defense and ranks 198th in the country in average possessions per game. If Maryland slips into that slow pace, things can get sleepy.

It would benefit the Terrapins to get out with energy early, dictate the pace, and take control from the start.

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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.