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Maryland-Nebraska final score: 3 things we learned from the Terps' 64-61 win

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The Terps narrowly held on for a win in their regular-season finale.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

With a 64-61 win over Nebraska Sunday, the Maryland men's basketball team closed its best regular season since 2001-02. With the victory, the Terrapins finished their schedule 26-5 overall and 14-4 in the Big Ten, setting a program record for regular-season wins. They moved to a sparkling, if hard-to-sustain, 10-0 in games decided by six points or fewer.

No. 10 Maryland took the entirety of the game to put away the lowly Cornhuskers, who lost their eighth straight game. Maryland's best players, the same as ever, gave the Terps the push they needed in the nick of time. The Terps trailed by five points with just less than 11 minutes to play, but their usual suspects led the way from there. A tying three-point attempt for Nebraska failed in the game's final seconds to seal the Terps' win.

Melo Trimble scored 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting for Maryland, echoing his 26-point night on just nine shots in the teams' first meeting of the season. Dez Wells added 18, while an ill Jake Layman scored 11. The Terps shot 40 percent from the field, while the offensively challenged Huskers shot just 31 percent.

Not unlike when Nebraska visited College Park in February, the first half was an offensive morass. The teams shot a combined 17-of-49 from the field and took a combined 25 team fouls, which slowed the game to a snail's pace and prevented it from gaining any real flow. A foul-troubled Trimble played just nine minutes, while Nebraska star Terran Petteway shot 4-of-14 in the half and had to sit with his third personal foul before the buzzer even sounded. Nebraska, one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country, didn't connect once from deep in the half, while Maryland was a paltry 2-of-10. The Terps and Huskers traded small leads, and Maryland led 31-29 at halftime.

Nebraska started the second half on a 9-1 run, though, in an unusual offensive outburst for a team that's been reputably awful on offense all season. The Huskers led by five points after a Leslee Smith free throw with 10:41 remaining, but a Michal Cekovsky dunk off a Trimble feed and then eight straight points by Trimble and Layman flipped Maryland into a five-point lead just more than two minutes later. Maryland never comfortably blew Nebraska away from there, but the Terps didn't relinquish their small edge, either. They almost did, however.

A layup and foul shot for Nebraska's Shavon Shields drew the Huskers within a point in the final minute, before Wells hit a jumper over Petteway to restore Maryland to a three-point lead in the final 10 seconds. A Shields three-point try to tie the game at the buzzer bounced off the iron, capping Maryland's first Big Ten regular season.

Three things we learned

1. This game was a case study in efficiency. Petteway is Nebraska's Mr. Everything, and it's exceptionally hard for the Cornhuskers to win when he's not scoring – and not doing it efficiently, rather than in volume. Petteway took a bloated 22 shots and only made five of them on his way to 19 points. That's simply unpalatable. On the other hand, Trimble was a robust 9-of-10 from the foul line 5-of-9 from the field and gave Maryland consistent production rather than empty trips. Wells, too, was mildly efficient for Maryland, scoring 18 points on 14 shots from the field. Both Wells and Trimble were productive at the foul line and didn't chuck up the kind of low-percentage shots that hampered Petteway. In a tight game, the gap between Maryland's best players and Nebraska's best made quite a difference.

2. Fouls, fouls, fouls. Both coaches took technical fouls, and referees called a total of 51 team fouls – 27 on Maryland and 24 on Nebraska. Some of these calls were for fouls that didn't happen, while some were on the wrong player. Some were simply a byproduct of a stingy officiating mindset, and some were totally fair. But the sheer volume of foul calls slowed the game down and made an already hard-to-watch offensive mess even harder to watch. From an entertainment standpoint, it was the least enjoyable basketball game Maryland's been involved in all season. There is no close second. On the plus side for Maryland, though, the Terps used the free-throw surplus to their advantage. They made 21 of their 25 attempts from the line.

3. Maryland fought off some old demons. The Terps have been winning games all season, and their record reflects that. But they entered tonight just 4-4 in conference road games, and the four losses were all ugly. This game was ugly, too, but Maryland managed not to lose to one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. That's important, but every game the Terps play from this point onward will matter even more.