That story is from last week. It was déjà vu all over again Tuesday night, as the Terps fell 70-66 at Nebraska. The loss dropped Maryland to 6-9 in Big Ten play and extended its road losing streak to seven consecutive games.
It’s been a bewildering, agonizing stretch. The Terps, who were 7-2 in Big Ten road games last year, are now 1-7 this season. The last five defeats have all been by single-digits, and it seems like they’ve all happened the same way—fall behind, keep it close, but do just enough wrong to fall short.
So we made a checklist for you. That way, you’ll know what’s coming before it happens.
- Do the Terps go on an extended drought, going scoreless for several minutes at a time?
- Does a key player fall into foul trouble and miss just enough time for the opponent to go on a run?
- Does at least one opposing player have a signature game?
- Is the other team dominating the offensive boards?
- Did Maryland cut a significant deficit to a small deficit before it settled back into a medium deficit?
- Did someone miss the front end of a one-and-one at the foul line for an empty possession?
- If Maryland still has a chance in the final seconds, does someone force up a contested three before he needs to?
The answers, from the Nebraska game:
- A couple times, actually. There was a 3:59 scoreless drought in the first half, then dry spells of 3:03 early in the second half and 2:25 later in the evening. The second of these proved most costly.
- Yep. Kevin Huerter picked up his third foul in the first minute of the second half, then Nebraska went on an 11-2 run—including nine unanswered points—before he returned to the game with 15:44 remaining. The Terps never led again.
- James Palmer Jr. is here to answer the call. He’s Nebraska’s leading scorer, so it’s not a stunner, but 24 of his 26 points came in the second half, which is absurd.
- Pretty much. This category ended up closer in this game than in most of Maryland’s recent efforts, as the Huskers pulled down 10 offensive boards to the Terps’ eight. But Nebraska’s rebound off a missed shot with 25 seconds left forced Maryland to foul down the stretch.
- Sort of. Nebraska’s largest lead was seven, which it held three separate times. Maryland got within two before it went back up and would claw within one, but never actually reclaimed the lead.
- You bet. Bruno Fernando did it with 5:15 remaining and his team down seven.
- If you count Anthony Cowan getting his three blocked with Maryland down one, eight seconds left on the shot clock and 53 seconds remaining in the game, then this box is checked too.
We’ll call that a 6.5 out of 7 (with the offensive rebounds earning partial credit). This checklist may be too late to be put to much use, as Maryland has just one road game left this season at Northwestern, but that contest could very well shake out the same way.