The Maryland Terrapins defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 70-65 Wednesday evening, improving to 20-3 overall and 9-2 in Big Ten play.
The Terps were led by sophomore guard Melo Trimble, who scored 20 points, going 5-of-7 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Freshman center Diamond Stone narrowly missed a triple-double, scoring 16 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking 8 shots. Stone's 8 blocks ties for seventh most in school history. Overall, the Terps racked up 13 blocks against the Huskers.
After trailing early in the first half, Maryland took a 13-11 lead following a Melo Trimble layup. The Terps maintained a narrow lead for most of the half, but were able to push their advantage to six after a Jared Nickens three-pointer. Nickens, who had struggled in recent games, helped provide a spark off the bench for Maryland, making two threes in the first half to help maintain the Terrapins early lead. Nickens finished with 11 points, the first time he's scored in double figures since Maryland's win over UMES on December 12.
Two of Maryland's starters, Rasheed Sulaimon and Robert Carter Jr., picked up early fouls that limited them to just six minutes each in the first half.
Turnovers continued to plague Maryland, as the Terps committed 13 in the first half alone. Maryland's carelessness with the ball allowed the Cornhuskers to get back into the game and tie the score on an Andrew White dunk with 3:14 left in the first half. The Terps went just over five minutes without scoring before Diamond Stone hit a mid-range jumper to give the lead back to Maryland.
Maryland committed its 12th and 13th turnovers right before the end of the half on a shot clock violation and pass that sailed out of bounds. They entered intermission with a 29-28 lead.
The second half began with Carter picking up his third foul in less than two minutes, forcing him to the bench. Both teams traded shots as Maryland held on to a narrow lead. The Terps pushed their lead as high as four, but Nebraska seemingly had an answer every time it appeared Maryland was about to pull away. After struggling from the field for much of the game, the Huskers at one point in the second half made 7 of 8 attempts to stay in the game.
Trimble once again helped carry Maryland, hitting a trio of three-pointers, including two that tied the score after Nebraska had taken a lead.
Maryland was ultimately able to pull away at the end, utilizing it's size advantage to score in the paint down the stretch. Trimble helped secure the victory by nailing a pair of free throws with seven seconds remaining.
Three things to know
1. Turnovers continue to be a problem. Maryland committed 18 turnovers Wednesday evening, 13 of which came in the first half, a problem that has plagued the Terps throughout the season. Despite Maryland shooting significantly better from the field (51% vs 31.8%) and grabbing 8 more rebounds than Nebraska, turnovers by the Terrapins allowed the Huskers to stay in the game. Maryland was ultimately able to pull away with a victory, but it's an issue that could eventually cost the Terps a win.
2. Maryland's lack of guard depth continues to be a problem. When Rasheed Sulaimon picked up his second foul with 11:51 left in the first half, Mark Turgeon and Maryland had to rely on Varun Ram to play seven of the game's first 20 minutes. When Sulaimon was back on the court for most of the second half, Maryland's offense was much more efficient, including 6 points from Sulaimon himself. Maryland scored 11 more points in the second half and shot 53.8% from the field vs. 47.8% in the first.
3. The Terps closed out another close game against an inferior conference opponent. Maryland again found itself in a close game against a team it was expected to beat and the Terps once again came away with a victory. Wednesday's game was the sixth conference win for Maryland that was decided by less than 10 points. With Maryland is going to get an opponents' best shot, especially when the Terps are playing away from Xfinity Center.