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Maryland picked 6th in ACC

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Maryland picked 6th in ACC

Expectations vary for the 2012-2013 Maryland Terrapins men's basketball team. For those inside the program, an NCAA Tournament berth is the goal. Outside of College Park experts aren't as sure what they will see from the Terps.

Considering that variety, it comes as little surprise that Maryland was tabbed to finish 6th in the 12-team Atlantic Coast Conference. On the surface, the Terps look to be a middle-of-the-road team in the conference. But upon further look some can see the reasons for optimism coming from College Park.

The ACC experts huddled in Charlotte did make one bold proclamation: For the first time in seven seasons, neither Duke or North Carolina is the preseason pick for conference champ. That honor goes to N.C. State, a team that made the Sweet 16 last year, retained star player C.J. Leslie, and added freshman Rodney Purvis. Leslie was tabbed as the ACC preseason Player of the Year while Purvis took the conference's preseason Rookie of the Year honor.

Duke and UNC took the second and third spots in the preseason poll, followed by Miami and Florida State. Maryland landed sixth, followed in order by Virginia, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Boston College.

This is just the second time in the last 15 years that Duke or UNC was not picked to finish first in the conference (Wake Forest was picked to finish first in 2003).

NC State's Leslie landed on the preseason all-conference team with teammate Lorenzo Brown joining him. The preseason all-conference team was rounded out by UNC's James Michael McAdoo, Duke's Mason Plumlee, and Florida State's Michael Snaer.

No Maryland player recieved any individual recognition, but some players could challenge for those honors as the season plays out. Sophomore big man Alex Len has added bulk to his 7'0" frame, and the Maryland coaches have raved about the growth of his game. If he reaches the potential many NBA scouts suggest he has, Len could certainly land on an All-ACC team.

Two Terp freshmen could also make an impact in conference play. Jake Layman, a slashing forward with a soft shooting touch, and Shaquille Cleare, a bruising big man who plays on the interior, arrived in College Park with different levels of hype, but both have the chance to land on the conference's all-freshmen team by seasons end.

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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.

MORE TERPS: MARYLAND STILL CONSIDERED BY MANY BRACKETOLOGISTS

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.