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Reggie Lynch put his tooth back into place during Gophers' Big Ten Tourney win

Reggie Lynch put his tooth back into place during Gophers' Big Ten Tourney win

WASHINGTON  -- Once Reggie Lynch put his tooth back into place, he and Minnesota couldn't be stopped.

Lynch returned after taking an elbow to the face and scored 16 points to lead fourth-seeded Minnesota to a 63-58 victory over fifth-seeded Michigan State on Friday in a physical Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal.

While Lynch was back quickly, Minnesota lost starting guard Akeem Springs to an Achilles tendon injury that could be season-ending.

Lynch, the Big Ten defensive player of the year, was bloodied from contact with Michigan State's Nick Ward but missed only 1:19 and sparked an 8-0 run that helped the Golden Gophers (24-8) move on to face Michigan in the semifinals.

"I got hit in the face a couple times before the tooth got knocked out, so I knew what I was getting into," Lynch said, his right front tooth back in place. "The tooth, it just shows how these games are, especially this time of year. It's a battle every game you play."

RELATED: MARYLAND VS. NORTHWESTERN PREVIEW

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Lynch was a force at each end of the court against Michigan State (19-14), which can bang and bruise with the best of them. Even with 20 points from freshman Miles Bridges, the Spartans couldn't overcome shooting 20 percent from the 3-point line and now must sweat out Selection Sunday on the bubble.

Coach Tom Izzo pointed to his team's youth as the culprit in the loss.

"I just felt like our players did not realize the sense of urgency is needed for 40 minutes when you play in one-and-done time," Izzo said. "Maybe we'll do a better job if we get to play again in a tournament."

Minnesota will play again Saturday against Michigan but very well may be without Springs, who left with four minutes remaining and came back to the bench on crutches. Springs had tape around his right Achilles tendon in the locker room, and coach Richard Pitino said doctors believed it's popped and not looking good.

"It's a huge blow," Pitino said. "If it is the case, we'll be here for him. Our guys, they need to rally around him because he deserves that."

On Friday, Minnesota players rallied around Lynch, one of the nation's top shot blockers, who had five blocks and also dominated offensively in the post.

"It showed us that we had to pick it up. He came out and showed us the toughness that we needed to win," Mason said. "Once we saw him come back from that we said: `Let's pick it up. Let's win it.' that motivated us."

Amir Coffey added 13 points for Minnesota, which had four players in double figures and committed only nine turnovers. Winning a tight game like this was a stark contrast from Minnesota's 33-point loss to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament a year ago and shows how far the team has come.

"I walked out of the elevator today, there was our band, our cheerleaders. I don't remember anyone there playing songs last year," Pitino said. "This is what March is supposed to be all about."

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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.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

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.

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