It was the same old story last night for Maryland Men’s Basketball, who lost at Nebraska 70-66 thereby ending pretty much all hope for participation in the NCAA Tournament. The game was a tight affair, with neither team holding a lead of double digits at any point.
Maryland controlled the game for most of the first half. They held a 5-point lead late in the frame, but a run from Nebraska tied the score before a put-back from Bruno Fernando gave the Terps a lead at the break.
The Huskers promptly went on a 9-0 run at the beginning of the second half to take a comfortable 7 point lead. The rest of the second half was a slugfest of runs, with the deficit bouncing back and forth between 3 and 9 points until the very end. Any time Maryland closed the gap, the Huskers seemed to go on a run and any time Nebraska seemed poised to pull away, the Terps brought it close once again.
Overall, Maryland lost once again due to its inability to close on the road. They got the score within one twice in the last few minutes. The first opportunity was an unorganized offensive possession where Anthony Cowan jacked up an ill-advised deep 3 that was blocked easily with 8 seconds left on the shot clock. The next came with about 20 seconds left. With the score at 66-65, the Terps forced a deep 3 late in the shot clock that clanged off the front of the basket. Instead of boxing out or going for the ball, Fernando, who was brilliant (21p-9r-5a-2blk) and Kevin Huerter, who was in foul trouble for most of the game, watched as the Nebraska player rebounded the ball and fouled him, essentially ending the game.
This is just another in a line of disappointing road games. Maryland has lost 7 straight such contests, with the last 5 coming with single-digit point losses. With three games and the big Ten tournament remaining, the Terps would need to win out and at least win 2 games in the tournament to even have a shot at the NCAAs. Luckily, the bubble this year is quite weak and two of the remaining games are at home.
Maryland will attempt to get back on track this Saturday against basement-dwelling Rutgers in College Park. Tipoff is set for 8pm on Big Ten Network.