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Jalen Smith sinks game-winner to propel Maryland past No. 24 Nebraska

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Jalen Smith sinks game-winner to propel Maryland past No. 24 Nebraska

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Nebraska's final attempt to score had gone awry, and as the buzzer sounded, Maryland's players rushed to the middle of the court to celebrate the team's most significant victory of the season.

"We beat a really good team. We need that for a confidence builder," coach Mark Turgeon said after the Terrapins used a late push to get past No. 24 Nebraska 74-72 on Wednesday night.

Bruno Fernando had 18 points and 17 rebounds, Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 19 points and freshman Jalen Smith accounted for Maryland's final seven points to finish with 15, including a tiebreaking layup with 3.8 seconds left.

The Terrapins (11-3, 2-1 Big Ten) had previously lost to Virginia, at Purdue and at home against Seton Hall. Turgeon rarely misses a chance to point out that this is "fifth-youngest team in the country," but he also knows that isn't an excuse for losing.

"Our guys are doing great," Turgeon said. "We're getting better. I'm just glad we won."

Maryland trailed 71-70 before Smith made a follow-shot off a 3-point try by Cowan with 28 seconds left. After James Palmer converted 1 of 2 free throws for Nebraska, Smith drove the middle of the lane for his decisive layup.

Following a timeout, Nebraska (11-3, 1-2) tried to work the ball up the court before Ricky Lindo Jr. knocked away a pass under the basket to seal it.

"It was extremely encouraging for all of us, just to see how far we've come," Fernando said. "Wins like that mean a lot to us, to the coaches, to everybody at the whole University of Maryland."

Palmer scored 26 points and Glynn Watson Jr. added 12 for the Cornhuskers, whose four-game winning streak ended.

Nebraska coach Tim Miles lamented his team's poor free-throw shooting (15 for 23), lack of rebounding (Maryland dominated 38-28) and a defense that allowed the Terps to hit eight 3-pointers.

"You can't give them eight 3s and not rebound. Pick one that you want to be awful at," Miles said.

It was a tough loss to take, as was an earlier seven-point setback at Minnesota, but Miles accepted it as life in the Big Ten.

"You've got to look at it from a global, big-picture perspective and say, 'This is just the way it's going be,'" he said.

The final minutes went back and forth, with neither team able to take charge.

After a three-point play by Smith put Maryland ahead 70-67 with 2:42 left, Watson made two free throws and Palmer turned a steal into a dunk for a 71-70 lead with 2:13 remaining.

That would be the last time the Huskers were in front.

"You hear the celebration in the opposing locker room, and it's disappointing because you probably played well enough to win but you just didn't do enough little things," Miles said.

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4 ways to build an all-time Terps basketball lineup on a budget

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4 ways to build an all-time Terps basketball lineup on a budget

The offseason is time for fun activities that keep the competitive juices flowing.

In that spirit, our friends at Testudo Times have posed an interesting question about how to go about building a starting five of the best Maryland basketball players of all time, but on a budget.

With 25 players available, five for $5, five for $4, five for $3, five for $2 and five for $1 and a $15 budget, the task is to build the best starting five possible. It's a tall task, though one that can be completed in a number of different ways.

Before taking on the task yourself, some Terps alumni have some thoughts of their own.

There are a couple main themes here. First, this is an incredibly difficult task. Second, Len Bias is a must-include.

With that in mind there are a few ways to go about completing the lineup.

The best

Bias — $5
Juan Dixon — $5
Keith Booth — $1
Steve Francis — $3
Derrick Lewis — $1

This lineup can do just about anything. It can play fast or slow on offense and defense, it can shoot, rebound and play with toughness or finesse. Bias and Dixon are the superstars, Booth and Lewis are much better than their $1 label, and Francis can be the straw that stirs the drink.

The all-dunking lineup

Bias — $5
Steve Francis — $3
Dez Wells — $2
Bruno Fernando — $2
James Gist — $1

There's a mix of power dunkers and finesse dunkers on the squad with $2 left for an underrated dunker in Kevin Huerter.

The all-shooting lineup

Bias — $5
Dixon — $5
Huerter — $2
Lewis — $1
Fernando — $2

Everybody on this squad can score the rock. Huerter and Dixon are great 3-point shooters. Fernando is a near-60 percent shooter from the field. Bias is a staple on any and every team and Lewis was a good enough shooter during his junior and senior seasons to get the nod for the final spot.

The all-value lineup

Bias — $5
Booth — $1
Lewis — $1
Steve Blake — $5
Wilcox — $3

Bias is good value at any price and we've already talked about the value of Lewis and Booth. The lineup needs a point guard, and with a pair of $1 players, Blake makes the most sense, even as the most expensive option. Wilcox rounds out the team thanks to his versatility down low.

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Maryland gets great news as Anthony Cowan Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft to return for senior season

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Maryland gets great news as Anthony Cowan Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft to return for senior season

Anthony Cowan Jr. announced that he will return to Maryland basketball for his senior season after testing the NBA Draft waters.

Cowan, a local product out of St. John's College High School, has started every game at Maryland for the past three seasons. The point guard has led the Terps in scoring and assists the past two years, most recently helping the team to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. 

His return will be a huge boost to the Terrapins after big-man Bruno Fernando decided to forgo his eligibility for his final two seasons in College Park for the NBA Draft. Including Cowan, the team returns seven of its top eight scorers for the 2019-20 season and will be one of the more experienced squads in the nation.

With Cowan staying at Maryland, NBC Sports' Rob Dauster says that the Terps will be a potential top-five team entering the season.

His decision came hours before Wednesday's NBA draft withdrawal deadline. Earlier on the same day, he worked out for the Sacramento Kings, according to Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus.

While Cowan has shown an impressive ability to lead his team in his three years, he was not a projected pick for the 2019 NBA draft. It's another year for the senior to display his ability, and lead a talented team to national prominence after he only scored 20 points in two NCAA Tournament games last year. 

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