Maryland Terps

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Varun Ram isn't just the guy everyone wants to see shoot anymore


Varun Ram isn't just the guy everyone wants to see shoot anymore

COLLEGE PARK -- Whenever he would get the ball with space around him, the crowd at XFINITY Center in College Park would implore him to shoot it. Now, there are not those cheers when a pass gets throw his way because he enters closer games, playing more meaningful minutes.

There is only the loud, drawn-out, low-toned sound of his name echoing inside the arena when he makes a big play. If you weren't familiar with the exercise, you would think the pro-Maryland crowd were booing.

This marks Varun Ram’s transition from beloved walk-on who everyone just wanted to see make a shot when the game was already in hand to key part of the rotation for a team with national title hopes.

Well, there are still those rises from the crowd occasionally -- even one on Saturday against Ohio State when he calmly knocked down a three-pointer in Maryland’s 100-65 win over the Buckeyes.

But as head coach Mark Turgeon tinkered with his lineup early here in conference play, he came to a realization this week.

“I learned that Varun is pretty important to us and he can really help us,” Turgeon said. “Gives us another really good defender on the floor, takes more pressure off Melo [Trimble]. Rasheed [Sulaimon] goes out, you still have a really good defender on the floor.”


Though he stands just 5-9, the neurobiology and physiology major skitters around the floor almost weightlessly. What he gives up in size, he makes up for in relentlessness and effort.

Sulaimon, who sees Ram in practice every day, described it.

“Even if you beat him, you might think you beat him and then before you know it, he’s right back on top of you,” he said. “It’s just that constant pressure and he’ll wear you out over the course of a game.”

What has become of Maryland’s backcourt bench rotation is something you might see more in football with running backs, wide receivers, or tight ends. Depending on what the Terrapins need, Turgeon will either insert Ram for defensive purposes or transfer Jaylen Brantley if they need an offensive boost behind Trimble and Sulaimon.

The last two games, that has meant more minutes for Ram, though Brantley came in and played well in the final minutes of Saturday’s win.

“I think it just shows you how deep our team is and how we can go so many different ways,” Ram said this week.

“We can go big, we can go small, offensively, defensively we’re so versatile. And I think that’s what that shows. I haven’t really played all season and I played the last two games decent minutes so I’m ready to play whether I don’t play or not I just want to win.”

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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

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Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss


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.


"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.


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."


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.