Maryland Terps

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Why No. 5 seed is what Terps deserved and why it all resets now

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Why No. 5 seed is what Terps deserved and why it all resets now

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland has rightfully drawn criticism for its up-and-down regular season, which included having to use late runs to beat less talented teams and lacking the type of signature wins that would have locked them into a higher NCAA tournament seed.

It was 1-5 against the RPI Top 25 and had only five wins against RPI Top 50 teams.

But now the regular season is done. Maryland deserved the seed that it got. Its "punishment" will be traveling out to Spokane, Washington instead of starting the tournament closer to home and it will have to face the No. 1 overall seed, Kansas, if it reaches the Sweet 16.

All of its past shortcomings have been quantified and are accounted for with that No. 5 seed. Now reset.

“Whether we’re playing South Dakota State or Michigan State, we’ve got to play the same way and we’re to that point,” head coach Mark Turgeon said on Tuesday. “The guys understand that.”

MORE TERPS: MARYLAND LANDS 4-STAR WING TO FILL NEED IN 2016

Turgeon has consistently called Maryland a work in progress all season, even when expectations were high in October through when the team reached No. 2 in the national rankings as recently as early last month.

The lack of a Big Ten regular-season or tournament title is likely disappointing, but the mood around this Maryland team does not seem to be fixated on that. Much more it seems focused on the number of points the team posted against Nebraska and the defensive battle it put up in a narrow loss to Michigan State.

Those last two games showed an encouraging versatility, which can often be key as opponents change from round to round -- and also on a turnaround of two days.

Maryland can win games by locking down defensively. It can win games in a shootout that reaches into the 80s. It has as much on-paper talent as any team in the country. But can it win games against this level of competition, and consistently?

“I feel like this is what we were preparing for. Everybody wanted us to win every game, but this is what we prepared for the whole year,” redshirt junior Robert Carter, Jr. said. “This was our goal from the beginning of the season. We wanted to be our best by this time. We feel like it’s time for us to make a run.”

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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.