Maryland suffers letdown at Nebraska in overtime loss


LINCOLN, Neb. — Just three days after a signature home victory capped by a court storming, the Maryland men’s basketball team visited Nebraska. As the Terrapins took on a Cornhuskers squad that has played much better of late, Sunday night’s matchup — given the long trip and the quick turnaround — had all the ingredients for a letdown.

That’s exactly what the Terps ended up with. Nebraska secured a 70-66 overtime win by chipping away at Maryland’s second-half lead and then capitalizing on its mistakes in overtime.

For Maryland, the matchup slipped away for good in the final minute. Nebraska led by one when Coach Kevin Willard called a timeout with 37.7 seconds left in overtime. In the frontcourt, the Cornhuskers stole the Terps’ inbounds pass before Sam Hoiberg scored a layup in transition, giving Nebraska a 67-64 edge with 31 seconds to go. Maryland (18-9, 9-7 Big Ten) could only foul from there, and it ended up with its seventh loss in eight conference road games.

Coming off Thursday’s marquee win over No. 3 Purdue, the Terps weathered a lethargic start to build an eight-point lead with 7:10 remaining in regulation, But Nebraska (14-14, 7-10) rallied and Derrick Walker tied the score on a layup with 29 seconds to go. Out of a timeout, Maryland point guard Jahmir Young missed what could have been a winning jump shot, sending the game to overtime.

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The Huskers led by nine early in the second half, but the Terps generated a 17-2 run in response. Hakim Hart had a pair of three-pointers during that stretch, which was reminiscent of Maryland’s second-half surge against Purdue. But the Terps couldn’t finish.

Young and Julian Reese led the Terps with 16 points apiece, and Hart added 14 while making 4 of 6 attempts from three-point range. But Maryland’s other starters struggled: Senior forward Donta Scott finished with five points on 2-for-16 shooting (including 1-for-8 from three-point range). Guard Don Carey (zero points) played just eight minutes and didn’t appear in the second half or overtime. As a team, Maryland shot just 33.3 percent.

The Terps had a slow start: 2-for-16 shooting, six points and five turnovers in the opening 10 minutes. The Cornhuskers grabbed a 15-6 lead that ignited the crowd before Hart’s three-pointer put Nebraska fans back in their seats. That started a 10-0 burst that lifted Maryland out of its early hole, but the Terps’ lead lasted for all of 27 seconds before Nebraska took control again. Maryland shot 29 percent in the first half and made 5 of 11 layups. By halftime, the Terps faced a 31-24 deficit. They managed to climb out but couldn’t hang on.

Here’s what else to know about Maryland’s loss:

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Nebraska guard Keisei Tominaga has been on a tear, entering Sunday having scored at least 22 points with at least four three-pointers in each of his previous four games. Tominaga, who averaged just 5.7 points last season, powered a Huskers run that included wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and Rutgers and dragged them out of the dregs of the Big Ten.

Against Maryland, he had 20 points, but he made just 2 of 6 attempts from three-point range. Tominaga hadn’t made a shot from beyond the arc since the game’s opening minutes — but then he hit one to start overtime, the beginning of a strong five minutes that helped the Cornhuskers prevail.

At home in conference play, the Terps have gotten a significant boost at the free throw line. They’ve attempted an average of 22 free throws compared with just 10.4 for their Big Ten opponents at Xfinity Center. But on the road, Maryland hasn’t had the same fortune. The Terps attempt about half as many free throws — 11 per game entering Sunday.

When Maryland defeated Nebraska at home last month, the Terps went 24 for 26 at the foul line while the Cornhuskers finished 9 for 15. Maryland couldn’t replicate that outing Sunday: Maryland finished 13 for 19; Nebraska was 19 for 25.

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