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Maryland-Purdue Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-Purdue Preview: 5 things you need to know

Maryland travels on the road to West Lafayette on Saturday to face a Purdue team that they have already beaten once this season. But the enormous Boilermakers now get to play one in their own house as they fight for seeding in the Big Ten tournament.

Here are five things you need to know about the 4 p.m. tip.

1) Winning out means at least a share of the Big Ten title

It’s just the way this season is. You can lose back-to-back games late in the conference season -- including one to a sub-200 RPI team -- and still be in contention for a share of the league title. Mark Turgeon says that is the team’s singular focus right now.

Maryland controls its own destiny in its quest for a share of the title, meaning it needs no help from anyone else. Win the next three and at least a part is yours. There is another side to the coin, though.

2) But it could go in the other direction too

This much parity within a conference means there’s a fine line between having a chance to win the conference and slipping out of contention for a double bye all at the same time. That’s where Maryland finds itself.

Because Wisconsin beat Iowa, the Badgers enter what is likely a six-team race for four spots that earn double byes in the Big Ten tournament. With two ranked teams (including Purdue) still left to play, Maryland has one of the least-favorable schedules remaining and a win over the Boilermakers would be huge.

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3) Another step for Melo?

Melo Trimble’s seven turnovers against Michigan are still a red flag, but the win was a step in the right direction for him mentally. Now he faces a Purdue team that, with the help of Robert Carter, he diced up with the pick-and-roll the first time around.

The Boilermakers could adjust, but Trimble leaned on that two-game and helped to make it the offensive engine in the team’s win earlier this season.

Rest might help him as well, considering the minutes load he has been under. Having six days between games can be a plus.

4) Combatting size again

Carter said it plainly when talking to the media on Friday. Purdue runs its offense through the post and that’s smart because they’re huge. Correct.

The combination of A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas is a duo unlike any other in the country. If one gets in foul trouble, the other is brought off the bench like the Boilermakers are reloading.

That puts a lot of pressure on players like Diamond Stone and Damonte Dodd to defend without fouling. Stone did an especially notable job early in the last meeting between these two games and it can be pointed to as the game that helped him to turn the corner defensively.

5) Going on the road

Purdue shot just five free throws the last time these two teams met. Granted, some of that had to do with the way they were launching threes instead of driving the ball, but part of it has to do with playing on the road.

Now, the tables turn. Maryland is the road team and they consistently feed off of getting to the line -- starting with Trimble. Can they be effective if there end up being less attempts from the line?

The remedy for that is hitting shots. Carter did earlier this year against them and stretched the defense as a true stretch four. This is a game where Trimble’s offense comes in handy. Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon may also be part of the solution as big shot makers.

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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.