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UNC outlasts Maryland: 5 things you need to know

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UNC outlasts Maryland: 5 things you need to know

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- In a game that was on the verge of spiraling out of control for Maryland on national television and in front of a packed Dean Smith Center in the first half, what followed was the gutsiest performance of the year by the Terrapins despite their defeat.

In a battle between the nation’s No. 2 and No. 9 teams, a fight to the end was ultimately a 89-81 Maryland loss to North Carolina on Tuesday night in Chapel Hill.

Melo Trimble, in a valiant effort, posted 23 points and 12 assists. North Carolina’s Marcus Paige countered masterfully with 20 points and five assists of his own.

Here are five things you need to know.

1) Furious pace early and Terps look jumpy

Through five minutes, Maryland had six turnovers and North Carolina’s efforts to get the ball out of Melo Trimble’s hands by hedging far away from the rim and not allowing consistent dribble penetration.

The result was a rushed offense that was trying to fit passes into windows that weren’t there. Maryland turnovers allowed North Carolina to get out on the run. Turgeon said before the game that the Terrapins could not afford to play at UNC’s hyper speed for 40 minutes. It’s clear why.

2) Life to end the half

Maryland trailed by 12 points with 4:49 to play in the first half and the game was teetering on the edge of getting out of hands. That’s when the turnovers dried up and the Terrapins gave themselves a chance.

Maryland is never out of a game if its shooters are locked in, whether it’s Jared NIckens, Rasheed Sulaimon, Melo Trimble, or Jake Layman. A 9-3 run to end the half made it a manageable 41-35 deficit at the break.

3) Matchup that we expected

North Carolina is not an undersized, scrappy mid-major with small lineups that test Maryland. This is big man vs. big man, elite guard vs. elite guard, roll it out and play basketball. The turnovers are what hurt Maryland early, but there were no real bad matchups for them.

When the Tar Heels went on their run, it was because of execution and not a systematic mismatch.

4) Absolute heavyweight title fight

The second half of this game was a blow-for-blow heavyweight boxing match. Maryland tied the game, 55-55, with 14:54 to play and they went shot-for-shot after that. There was a stretch of time where Trimble assisted or scored eight of nine Maryland baskets.

Marcus Paige, making his season debut after recovering from a hand injury, was answering everything that Trimble was doing. The basketball was crisp. The Dean Dome was jumping.

5) UNC pulls away late

The game was tied, 69-69, with 8:49 to play after a pair of Jake Layman free throws. From there, North Carolina’s unbelievable clip from three-point range persisted and the turnover bug bit again down the stretch for Maryland.

North Carolina was 6-of-7 from deep in the second half and 9-of-13 for the game.

The Terrapins would trim the lead down to as little as six points late, but it was not enough.

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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.

MORE TERPS: MARYLAND STILL CONSIDERED BY MANY BRACKETOLOGISTS

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.