Maryland Terps

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Terps set tournament record in win over Nebraska: 5 things to know

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Terps set tournament record in win over Nebraska: 5 things to know

Maryland came into Friday night’s Big Ten tournament quarterfinal against Nebraska with everything to lose and very little to gain. The Terrapins’ mostly dominant performance, though, did as much for their tournament resume as could be hoped for against a sub-150 RPI opponent.

Maryland never trailed in Indianapolis, coming out of the gate hot and fending off a furious Nebraska comeback late to earn a 97-86 victory and advance to the semifinal round to face Michigan State on Saturday.

Those 97 points set a Big Ten tournament record. Jake Layman led the way with 26 points, including 6-of-9 shooting from three-point range. Diamond Stone had 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting and added eight rebounds.

Here are five things you need to know.

1) Jake Layman involved early

An engaged Jake Layman on the offensive end is always a good thing for Maryland. He hit his first four shots from behind the arc. The ensuing confidence was apparent. His offense helped to set the tone.

Even when Nebraska hit shots, Maryland countered. It was the sort of thing that the Terrapins have unfortunately been on the other end of at different points this season.

2) Unbelievably hot from three

Maryland hit its first seven threes from the floor, which spurred their offensive push and helped to fend off any Nebraska gains. The Terrapins mixed in their smaller lineup to spread the floor, plus some creative passing looks that had Robert Carter, Jr. as the team’s main distributor.

Coming into Friday night, Maryland ranked 219th in KenPom’s measure of adjusted tempo. We saw something different from the Terrapins against Nebraska. They pushed the pace after rebounds and didn’t sit in half-court sets, burning the shot clock looking for looks.

MORE TERPS: EX-TERP REFLECTS ON CAREER AS ACC JOURNEY COMES TO AN END

3) The best half of the year

Yes, it is Nebraska playing its third game in three nights. Yes, Maryland was unsustainably hot from three. But from the standpoint of energy, effort, and style of play, the first half was Maryland’s most encouraging half of a meaningful game this season.

It was the most points in a half for Maryland all season. It was the most points Nebraska had surrendered in a half all season.

4) Nebraska makes a furious comeback

Maryland’s lead was as much as 25 points by the 15:25 mark of the second half. Five minutes later, it was down to 13 points. Part of it was the Terrapins cooling off, but the other part was some defensive complacency. They gave up more second-chance looks in the second half than the first, which meant defensive possessions that were not closed out.

After the lead was trimmed to 13, the Terrapins responded with an 11-3 run to push the lead to 21 points. Nebraska then turned up the full-court pressure, though, and took advantage of Maryland’s string of ineffective offensive possessions. The Terrapins' lead was cut to as little as six with 1:38 to play.

Turnovers against the press should certainly be a concern going forward, but Maryland ultimately closed the door on Friday.

5) On to Michigan State

Maryland is going to have to defend much better than it did against Nebraska if it wants to beat the Spartans, a team the Terrapins lost to earlier this season.

With Denzel Valentine, Bryn Forbes, Matt Costello, and others, expect the defensive intensity to be turned up. Tip is set for approximately 3:30 p.m.

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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