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Maryland-St. Francis Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-St. Francis Preview: 5 things you need to know

Maryland comes off an emotional loss to North Carolina to face St. Francis (PA) on Friday night at XFINITY Center in College Park.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) Avoiding another trap game

This has seemed to be the rhythm of Maryland’s season. They opened the year against a tough mid-major Mount St. Mary’s squad, hoping not to overlook them with Georgetown on the horizon. They had to face Rider before a trip to Cancun. Same thing. They had to play Cleveland State before a showdown in Chapel Hill.

Now they face St. Francis on Friday night before going to New York City next week to face Connecticut. The good news for Maryland is that they have gotten through each of these trap games so far this season. We’ll see again on Friday.

2) Back to the mid-major issues?

Maryland was in its element against North Carolina. The Tar Heels were a big team who matched up straight up with two bigs, a wing, and two guards. Their play reflected it.

Now Maryland goes back to facing a mid-major that is built like teams that have given them trouble in the past. The Red Flash will show you a smaller lineup, which means Maryland bigs will have to chase around smaller players and that has given them trouble in the past.

The key is cutting off driving lanes and rotating crisply when the ball is moved on the perimeter to get a hand in shooters’ faces. One positive? St. Francis is shooting just 31.9 percent from three-point range. That’s 223rd in the nation.

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3) Team building paying off?

Maryland had travel problems on the way back from Chapel Hill, ultimately being forced to take a bus home after Tuesday’s loss. That’s a long ride for a team coming off an emotional loss. They watched film and bonded, head coach Mark Turgeon said.

Can they bottle up that energy, especially from the second half against North Carolina, and carry it over?

4) Expect more second-half Melo

Melo Trimble was out of sorts to start the game, partly because referees were letting the two teams play (and he predicates his game on being able to get to the line) but also because he looked a bit rattled by North Carolina’s pressure early.

That second half was a different story. He was pulling up from all over the floor and going shot for shot with North Carolina’s Marcus Paige. That’s the Melo we know and the one I’d expect to see going forward.

5) Building guard depth

Turgeon said after Tuesday’s loss that he needs to continue to build guard depth in the backcourt. That starts with Jaylen Brantley most prominently, but also includes finding ways to use Varun Ram in defensive situations to shield Trimble from foul trouble.

St. Francis is the type of team where we could see Brantley get extended minutes. The junior college transfer said on Thursday that the next step is feeling that he is getting full confidence from Turgeon to be out on the floor. Will Friday be a big step?

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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.

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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.