Maryland Terps

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'We’re not scared' -- Why Terps feel they can match up with Kansas

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'We’re not scared' -- Why Terps feel they can match up with Kansas

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland ranked third in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25. Who was right behind them at No. 4? The Kansas Jayhawks.

Their seasons have taken different paths. Kansas never dropped below No. 7 in the polls and was the nation’s No. 1 team for the final three weeks of the season. Maryland reached as high as No. 2, but fell all the way to No. 18 when they lost four of their final six regular-season games.

Slates are all but wiped clean now, though, as the two meet Thursday in Louisville in the Sweet 16.

“We feel like we can play with them,” Turgeon said on Tuesday. “We’re just not going to show up. We’re going [to Louisville] to win the game. Our guys understand that and they get it.”

Talent-wise, Maryland has the better on-paper roster if you’re judging in terms of a talent stockpile for the next level. The Terrapins have two presumed first-round picks in Diamond Stone and Melo Trimble in their starting lineup, plus two more presumed second-round picks in Jake Layman and Robert Carter, Jr.

In all likelihood, Kansas does not have a first-round pick in its starting lineup. The Jayhawks are simply a collection of really good, really well-coached college basketball players who fit together in such a seamless way that they have earned 32 wins to this point and secured the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

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But it's that pure talent that should have Maryland viewed on near-equal footing before this game is played, resumes aside.

“I think we’re definitely one of the most talented teams in the country," senior Jake Layman said. "I think no matter who we’re playing, we’re not scared of whether they have talent or not.

“I think for us, it’s just a matter of being locked in on personnel and being ready to play, most importantly.”

Maryland will be the underdog in this game. It could be that way from here forward as long as the Terrapins continue to advance. But something curious happens with this Maryland team. They can struggle to put away a team like Rider, but compete toe-to-toe with some of the nation’s best.

Despite how first-round upset exit in the tournament might affect how they are ultimately viewed, Michigan State was a team the Terrapins played tough twice. The Terrapins went to Chapel Hill and led in the second half against North Carolina.

The ceiling for this team has never changed and something about playing an elite opponent seems to get Maryland as close to that sky-high ceiling as they possibly can get.

“We just go out there and play basketball,” sophomore Melo Trimble said. “People doubt us ... before this game coming up so, I mean, we just got to go out there and play basketball. Like we’ve been saying, never listen to the media. Just go out there and just worry about us as a group and everything will take care of itself.”

It can be debated what would be written about this Maryland season if its season were to end with a loss to Kansas on Thursday, whether this team reached the expectations set for it back in October or if they fell short -- and why.

But at least for right now, before the final score Thursday night is known one way or the other, Maryland just doesn’t want the ride to end.

“When it’s all said and done, we’ll take a deep breath,” Turgeon said. “But right now we’re just trying to win the next game.”

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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.

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"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.