Going into Tuesday’s matchup, Maryland men’s basketball hadn’t won a road game in 2018 and Nebraska hadn’t lost at home to any Big Ten opponent this season. Both are still true, as the Terps fell 70-66 in Lincoln.
It was another close road game for the Terps, as neither team ever led by double digits. However, a second-half dry spell gave Nebraska a lead that would prove too much to overcome.
Freshman Bruno Fernando would attempt to pioneer a comeback, bringing the score to 64-63 with just over a minute left, before getting a crucial block on the other end. Anthony Cowan Jr. would get rejected on a three-point attempt, and a Nebraska recovery gave it the ball. After a missed deep three-point attempt, the Cornhuskers got the offensive rebound, and sealed the game at the free throw stripe.
Kevin Huerter would make it 66-65 with a layup, but two more free throws meant kept the lead at three. The Cornhuskers would foul to prevent a three-point attempt from Huerter, and Huerter missed the second attempt purposely to get one more shot, but a rebound from James Palmer Jr. meant it was a wrap.
After a quiet game against Northwestern, Maryland’s offense was largely run through Fernando. The freshman would lead the Terps with 21 points, along with nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Huerter and Darryl Morsell would each chip in 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the losing effort.
Both offenses struggled early, with Nebraska leading 10-7 after eight minutes. Fernando spurred a 5-0 run to give the Terps their first lead with a post bucket and an assist to Cowan for a three. The lead would change hands two more times before a healthy dose of Fernando would give the Terps an 18-15 lead. Fernando had eight points and three assists before the eight-minute mark, operating well both scoring and passing out of the double team.
The Cornhuskers would tie the game with a three out of a timeout, before Maryland went on another 5-0 run for its largest lead of the first half. Nebraska wouldn’t go away, though. It responded with a 9-4 run of its own to retake the lead, at 28-27 on a jam by James Palmer Jr., before the half’s final media timeout. The next couple minutes would leave the game tied, before Fernando tipped in a Cowan miss at the buzzer gave Maryland a 32-30 lead going into the locker room.
What a great close to a great first half for Bruno Fernando pic.twitter.com/Kf220Jgo3a— Jared Goldstein (@_jgoldy17) February 14, 2018
After a slow start—and through a couple dry spells—on each side, both teams would finish the half shooting respectable percentages. Maryland shot at a 50 percent clip for the half and 3-of-7 from deep, while Nebraska would end the half shooting 42.9 percent from the field and and hitting 4-of-10 from beyond the arc.
After there were seven lead changes and three ties in the first 20 minutes, the second half stuck a little closer to the script.
Nebraska broke the game’s seventh tie with a triple by Palmer, as he shook off a first half where he was held to just two points. He’d go off in the second half and would finish the game with 26 points. That three came in the middle of a 9-0 Nebraska run that gave it a 43-36 lead.
The final 10 minutes saw the Terps continue to inch closer, before Nebraska would once again extend its lead. Maryland struggled to string together stops with Palmer was scorched-earth hot from the floor. He finished with a game-high 26 points.
Palmer went out briefly with around five minutes left, and Turgeon immediately went back to Fernando as the gap tightened to four points before Palmer was put back in. Fernando would keep chipping away inside to bring the Terps within one, but they were once again unable to finish out the comeback.
Maryland’s back in action on Saturday when Rutgers comes to Xfinity Center for an 8 p.m. matchup on BTN.
Three things to know
1. The road slide continues. Another second half dry spell doomed the Terps on the road. Nebraska’s 9-0 run gave it a seven-point advantage that was too much to overcome. Maryland has still yet to prove it can play a complete game on the road and has now lost its last seven such games.
2. Anthony Cowan was quiet. Cowan scored seven points in the first half, but was largely kept in check. He had multiple missed layups in the second half and left a lot of shots short, usually a sign of fatigue. Cowan would still finish with seven assists and five rebounds, but the buildup of minutes may be getting to him.
3. Allowing offensive rebounds doomed the Terps. Maryland has dropped a handful of games this season due to allowing offensive rebounds late. Down by just one with just over 40 seconds left, the Terps had the perfect defensive possession and were rewarded with a miss, only to give up the offensive rebound and essentially the game. It would be Nebraska’s 10th, and most crucial, offensive board of the night.