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Why Turgeon was 'mad' about Maryland chatter prior to win over Iowa

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Why Turgeon was 'mad' about Maryland chatter prior to win over Iowa

COLLEGE PARK -- It was a legitimate critique of these Maryland Terrapins heading into Thursday night’s game against No. 3 Iowa. Sure, Mark Turgeon's team had some quality wins, but where was the signature victory? Where was the real proof -- now late in January -- that this was a national title contender?

We got that proof against the Hawkeyes.

By combining what was at times a dominating offense with a defense that completely neutralized National Player of the Year candidate Jarrod Uthoff, the Terrapins notched a 74-68 victory over the Hawkeyes at XFINITY Center in College Park.

“I don’t get caught up in that,” Turgeon said of talk of his team’s record against ranked opponents. “It kind of made me mad when people were talking that way because our other win has been on a neutral court [vs. Connecticut].”

Part of it is on Maryland. They had opportunities to win at North Carolina and at Michigan State. On the other hand, those are not easy games because, as Turgeon pointed out, they were on the road.

MORE TERPS: 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MARYLAND'S WIN

Part of it is not. This was their first crack at a ranked team on their home floor and they got the win. The way the Big Ten schedule shakes out, there are not many marquee opportunities remaining. They have no control over that.

That is why they had to get Thursday’s victory.

The comes a point in a season where you can no longer ride wins over Connecticut, Georgetown, Wisconsin, and Princeton into a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. You have to start adding to it.

Thursday’s win does that and cements them as a legitimate national title contender in a wide-open field of probably about 15 schools who could do the same

“To be honest with you, whether the critics or the media, whatever it is whether they speak well about us or poorly about us, we just try to stay with each other,” senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon said on CSN’s SportsTalk Live after the game.

“We have a goal for this team and we just try to stick together, not worry about anything and just try to be the best team we can be each and every night. And I thought we took a step in the right direction tonight and we’re not going to let it down. We’re going to keep it going going forward.”

Watch SportsTalk Live's full interview with Sulaimon in the video player above, which will begin momentarily.

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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.