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Maryland outlasts Nebraska: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland outlasts Nebraska: 5 things you need to know

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon assured the media before his team flew out to Lincoln that the game awaiting them against Nebraska would not be an easy one.

“It’s hard out there and then you’ve got a really small number in front of your name, it’s even harder,” he said. “We get everybody’s best shot.”

Wednesday night was no different. It very much followed the same script that we have seen all season from No. 4 Maryland -- an unranked opponent, a loud arena environment, some moments of uncertainty, but ultimately a victory, 70-65 over the Cornhuskers in Lincoln.

Sophomore point guard Melo Trimble, one day removed from his 21st birthday, led the way with 20 points on just seven shots from the field. Jared Nickens appeared to snap out of his shooting slump with 11 points.

And freshman Diamond Stone nearly notched a triple-double, coming up just shy of it with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and eight blocks.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) Maryland knew its advantage was inside

It was no secret and, to Maryland’s credit, it went to it out of the gate against the Cornhuskers. The first two possessions were post touches. A Rasheed Sulaimon drive created a Diamond Stone dunk. Robert Carter, Jr. was fouled and hit two free throws.

That is what head coach Mark Turgeon wants. When you make the defense react to the post entry by either allowing the isolation or doubling -- which opens up shooters -- the game opens up.

2) Maryland defense does just fine

By the four-minute mark of the first half, the Cornhuskers were 10-of-32 from the floor and 2-of-11 from three-point range. That sort of shutdown defense should allow your offense to get out on a run and help to put a team away, especially when you’re leading on the glass by 12 at the break

Rasheed Sulaimon picked up two early fouls, but Maryland adjusted by putting Jake Layman on Shavon Shields to neutralize him. It worked. So why was this game tied, 27-27, late in the first half?

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3) Letting them hang around

Thirteen first-half Maryland turnovers were the result of a lot of interior traffic and trying to fit the ball into tight spaces when it was clear there was not room. Damonte Dodd had two trying to pass out of the high post. Melo Trimble had three by the break, mostly because of just good old-fashioned defensive agitation by Nebraska.

It didn’t help that Sulaimon had those two fouls, which took away Maryland’s other reliable ball handler.

It’s not that Nebraska turned those turnovers into points. If they had, Maryland would have been buried in the first half. Instead, those 13 cough-ups resulted in just two Cornhusker points. Though they didn’t capitalize points-wise, a turnover is a stop and stops keep you in the game.

4) Swinging too much in the other direction?

Turgeon has wanted to emphasize getting the ball inside. That is where the advantage was on Wednesday night. But at some point, it almost seemed like Maryland was forcing it, which created those turnovers.

At the same time, they had taken just 10 threes (and made five) by the under-12 timeout of the second half. As a team on the year, they averaged taking 21 three attempts per game.

Out of a timeout and down three shy of the under-8 timeout, it seems like the game plan shifting a bit. Turgeon drew up a look for Sulaimon off a screen. He missed the shot, but Maryland retained possession and an inside-out look to Trimble gave him an open look and he nailed it for three to tie the game.

It helps that Trimble is cold-blooded. After the first three, Nebraska answered with one of his own, to which Trimble answered with another of his own to tie the game, 57-57.

Note: The Terrapins finished the game with 16 attempts from three.

5) Senior Layman strikes again

Jake Layman of years past would fade into the background if he was not engaged offensively. Senior Layman is able to strike at any time and he did to help Maryland seal it down the stretch against Nebraska.

He had only two points by late in the second half. But, he was crucial defensively by doing the heaviest lifting to hold Shavon Shields to 4-of-16 shooting from the floor. He had seven rebounds. And with 2:09 to play, Maryland went to him in the post. He made a power move to the rim and finished to give Maryland three much-needed points of breathing room. He missed the ensuing free throw, but it turned into a Stone offensive rebound and a dunk. Five.

Then Maryland went into closer mode like they have done before. They hit their free throws down the stretch and guarded Nebraska’s final game-swinging possession expertly to force a miss and get the win.

The Terrapins are now 19-2 over the past two seasons in games decided by six points or fewer.

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Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

Darnell Savage Jr. spent four seasons wowing fans in College Park as a defensive star for the Maryland Terrapins, and in April he found out he’ll be taking his talents to Wisconsin after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Now, his future in Green Bay is officially official.

As Schefter mentions, Savage is the first first-rounder to sign a contract in 2019. It will be the standard length of first-round draft picks, going four years guaranteed with a fifth-year option. Reports are that the speedy, hard-hitting safety will earn $12.5 million over the first four seasons of the contract.

There were some questions about Savage’s fit in an NFL defensive backfield, given his size. But he is an athletic player with great instincts for the ball, and his statistics were thoroughly impressive the last two seasons in college. The Packers certainly believed he would be a terrific fit in their defense, considering they traded up to the 21st pick in order to make the selection.

Savage should have a great opportunity to start early in Green Bay, and now that he’s signed his contract so early, he’ll be able to get to work sooner rather than later. Knowing Savage, that’s just the way he wants it.

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time. 

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