Nebraska beats Maryland to keep Big Ten tournament run alive

Nebraska beats Maryland to keep Big Ten tournament run alive
Nebraska squared off against Maryland in its second game of the Big Ten tournament. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO — The Huskers are still alive.

Nebraska upset 5-seed Maryland 69-61 on Thursday afternoon.

James Palmer scored a team-high 24 points with five rebounds. Glynn Watson added 19 points. Nebraska suffocated Maryland, holding the Terrapins to 36 percent shooting from the floor.

NU, the 13-seed in the Big Ten Tournament, will play the 4-seed Wisconsin on Friday at about 2 p.m.

Maryland cut a 14-point second-half lead down to six in the second. But walk-on Johnny Trueblood secured an offensive rebound, which led to a 3-pointer from Palmer. That put the game out of reach.

Nebraska is now 18-15 on the year and have won three straight games.

Both teams made it hard to score in the opening minutes. Nebraska missed 8 of its first 11 shots, and was blocked three times by Bruno Fernando. But NU harassed Fernando and Jalen Smith down low, forcing three early turnovers to take an 11-10 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half.

Trueblood buried a corner 3-pointer, said a little something to the Maryland bench, and pumped a little life into the Husker offense.

After Maryland tied it up at 14, a Roby dunk began a 13-2 run to go up 30-17. Palmer scored 14 in the first half, and was 4 for 4 from the floor.

As the lead built, Nebraska dropped into a zone, which threw Maryland out of sorts. The Terrapins shot 29 percent from the floor in the first half and scored a season-low 20 points. Fernando was swarmed on the block, and when he did get it out, the Terps made 2 of 9 3-pointers.

A Watson jumper, then steal at the buzzer put Nebraska up 32-20 at the half. Nebraska made seven of its final nine shots of the half.

Maryland quickly cut the lead to five by drawing a third foul on both Tanner Borchardt and Brady Heiman and making free throws. Nebraska started the second half 1 for 10 from the floor, and deferred to jumpers behind the arc rather than points in the paint. A Darryl Morsell dunk finished a 7-0 run that cut it to 35-30.

Nebraska came out of a timeout and Palmer took over for the second straight day. An up-and-under put NU up 11, which he followed with an and-one. A step-back 3-pointer from Watson bumped the lead back up to 14, closing a 9-0 run. Maryland in that span didn’t make a shot for more than three minutes.

A putback from Roby gave NU its biggest lead at 46-32

A 7-0 spurt got Maryland close again, under 10, but free throws after a technical foul on Maryland coach Mark Turgeon bumped it back to 11. An and-one from Roby on the next possession pushed it to 14 again with about eight minutes left.

Cowan’s first 3-pointer of the game, followed by a dunk from Morsell, got it to an eight-point game at the under-four minute media timeout.

A Trueblood layup with 55 seconds left put the lead back to 10.

Nebraska vs. Wisconsin

When: 12:30 p.m.

Where: United Center, Chicago

Radio: KNCY 1600 AM, 105.5 FM