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Minnesota upsets No. 6 Maryland: 5 things you need to know


Minnesota upsets No. 6 Maryland: 5 things you need to know

Maryland has allowed lesser teams to hang around in the past this season before-- almost like clockwork -- storming back to get a win. Not on Thursday night.

In perhaps the most unlikely upset of the college basketball season, the Minnesota Gophers, who were previously winless in Big Ten play, came out of the gate hot and withstood a second-half Maryland push to earn a stunning 68-63 victory.

Despite a career high of 28 points from Rasheed Sulaimon, Maryland’s offense was otherwise stagnant and unable to ever get into a rhythm. Three Gophers were in double figures, led by guard Nate Mason.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) Textbook on how to let lesser teams stay in games early

Maryland has allowed this to happen at different points this season. Lesser teams can stick around by capitalizing on a pair key things that the Terrapins allow them to do -- hit shots from the outside and force turnovers.

Senior Joey King came off the bench hitting three of his first four shots from deep. As a team, the Gophers hit six of their first eight from three. For a measuring stick, Minnesota came into Thursday night’s game shooting 31 percent from that distance.

The Terrapins turned the ball over three times in the first four minutes, which allowed the Gophers to push it back the other direction. Not only does that combination of shooting and forcing turnovers put points on the board, but it gives them confidence.

Made shots make a team winless in conference play believe they can beat the nation’s No. 6 team and that goes a long way.

2) Noticeable absence of Diamond Stone

Robert Carter, Jr. is a nice post option and was clearly part of the game plan on Thursday. But this offense was already struggling. Taking its most bruising interior finisher out of the mix because of suspension makes the job much easier for the defense.

The result becomes too many lineups with limited options in the post, like Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky on the floor at the same time. Maryland even tried a lineup that had Jaylen Brantley, Varun Ram, and Cekovsky. Where was the offense coming from there?

Even against a team that entered the game 175th in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom, Maryland could not get anything going.

3) A shining half vs. a disastrous half

Maryland trailed by 11 points at the break because their massive struggles were combined with a stellar first half from Minnesota during which they were 7-of-13 from three. It was the most points scored by Minnesota since Nov. 27. It was the most points Maryland had surrendered since against North Carolina on Dec. 1.

4) On the verge of unraveling, but Maryland responds

After back-to-back turnovers that were flipped into easy Minnesota scores, it was a 50-38 game with 11:45 to play. With very few other cards to play, the Terrapins turned to full-court defensive pressure and it worked.

A 14-4 Maryland run followed to cut the game to just two points, 54-52. Maryland went smaller during that stretch, too, which allowed them to apply that pressure. Minnesota’s hot shooting in the first half regressed to the mean during that stretch and the Terrapins were able to climb back.

They took the lead with 3:04 to play on a Rasheed Sulaimon three.

5) Missed opportunities in final two minutes

After taking the lead late, Maryland’s execution in the final two minutes left opportunities on the table. Included in that was an uncharacteristic stretch from point guard Melo Trimble, who remains in a funk offensively.

From the team as a whole, shot selection was questionable. Turnovers, of which the Terrapins committed 15 on the night, came back to bite them in key spots. Minnesota’s ability to hit free throws down the stretch sealed it.

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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.


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.


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.


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