Maryland Terps

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Turgeon draws hopeful parallel between Terps, 2014-15 Michigan St. team

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Turgeon draws hopeful parallel between Terps, 2014-15 Michigan St. team

COLLEGE PARK -- If Maryland wins its final three games of the regular season, it guarantees itself at least a share of the Big Ten title. Straightforward enough.

But those final three games include two against ranked teams on the road, the outcomes of which could help Maryland to a title or perhaps force them out of the Top 4 seeds in the conference and out of a double bye in the Big Ten tournament. That’s how bunched the standings are in the league.

In the face of losing two out of their last three, though, head coach Mark Turgeon says that he hopes what the tough final stretch did for one fellow Big Ten team last year is what it does for his team this year.

“I think our schedule’s set up to really challenge us and prepare us,” he said Friday. “I remember watching Michigan State late last year.

“Their schedule was really difficult and they finished 12-6 in our league but they were prepared when the postseason hit and I’m hoping that because our schedule is so difficult down the stretch and it’s been very difficult on the road, that it’s preparing us to be successful in March.”

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After an overtime loss to Minnesota on Feb. 26 of last year, Michigan State took a loss on the road to then-No. 5 Wisconsin. Four straight wins followed (Purdue, Indiana, Ohio State, and No. 8 Maryland) before a loss to Wisconsin again in the Big Ten tournament.

But the Spartans, in classic Tom Izzo fashion, entered the NCAA tournament as a No. 7 seed and ran all the way to the Final Four before losing to a Duke team that featured three first-round NBA draft picks.

Maryland has far more on-paper talent than that Michigan State team, which is a credit to Izzo and what he was able to do with the group. That’s why so many are looking at the clock and wondering when this Terrapin team will fully come together.

There is no team in the country with a more talented starting five. The bench has its questions, but Maryland has evolved into an elite defensive team. Now offense, which was supposed to be the calling card for them, is the issue.

In a year like this where the field is wide open, there is more time than usual as the calendar flips to March. But there has to be some kind of real indication soon. Maybe we see it in the season’s final three games.

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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.