Huskers wear down in 64-50 loss at Maryland

The celebration of Nebraska’s first Big Ten Conference victory of the season lasted roughly 48 hours, as it was back trying to regroup after a disappointing loss at Maryland on Tuesday night.

Playing their sixth game in 11 days in its fifth state, the Huskers’ offense fell off a cliff as the night wore on in a 64-50 defeat.

While the defense was more than good enough to win, NU shot 28.6 percent in the second half and was outscored 20-6 over the final 7:14.

Maryland was far from perfect either, committing a season-high 17 turnovers in the win. But Nebraska only managed four points off those turnovers (13 of them steals), went 7-of-19 on layups, was out-rebounded 43-28, and shot 50 percent at the free-throw line.

With the game tied at 44-44 midway through the second half, the Terrapins (12-10 overall, 6-9 Big Ten) broke the game open with a 14-3 run and never looked back. Nebraska fell to 5-13, 1-10.

The first half was even throughout, as both teams came out hitting from 3-point range and turned the ball over in bunches.

Teddy Allen (10), Dalano Banton (8), and Lat Mayen combined to score 18 points and make six 3-pointers, but Jarius Hamilton countered with 11 points as Maryland shot 7-of-17 behind the arc.

The last of those made threes came on a half-court buzzer-beater by Darryl Morsell that sent the Terrapins into halftime with a 32-28 lead. Maryland turned the ball over 10 times in the first 20 minutes, but NU could only turn that into two points.

Maryland jumped out to a seven-point lead to start the second half, but Nebraska hung around and slowly chipped away to tie it up at 44-44 on a 3-pointer by Kobe Webster with 8:12 remaining.

From there, though, Maryland would fire back with a 14-3 run and push its lead up to 58-47 with 3:48 left to play.

Allen finished with a team-high 18 points and five rebounds, while Banton was the only other Husker to score in double figures with 10 points.

Aaron Wiggins led all scorers with 21 points and 11 rebounds for Maryland, while Hamilton added 15 points on 3-of-4 shooting from behind the arc.

Nebraska and the Terps will hold their rematch at 6 p.m. CT tomorrow on Big Ten Network.

1. The game changed when Walker checked out

When Derrick Walker subbed out with 6:08 left in the first half, little did anyone know that would be the end of his night.

The 6-foot-8 junior had been one of Nebraska’s key pieces since its return from its COVID-19 layoff, but he only played eight minutes before sitting out the rest of the game.

Head coach Fred Hoiberg said Walker “wasn’t feeling well,” and NU “didn’t want to take any chances” by leaving him out there any longer. The Kansas City, Mo., native finished with two points, three rebounds, an assist, and a steal despite his limited action.

Without Walker in the middle, Nebraska’s offense fell apart.

He’s not going to light up the scoreboard, but his presence is so important for the flow of the Huskers’ half-court sets. After he checked out, the ball movement came to a halt, and the ugly, one-on-five basketball we saw before Walker joined the lineup.

Before Walker checked out for good, NU had four assists on its first eight made baskets. The Huskers then had four assists for the rest of the game after Walker went out.

The team will re-evaluate Walker on Wednesday morning to get a better idea of his status for the rematch later that night. The Huskers desperately need their best leader and post player on the floor.

2. Fatigue is a major issue right now

Nebraska isn’t even trying to downplay the toll its unprecedented schedule is having on the team right now.

After the game, Hoiberg said straight up that fatigue had been a big problem for the Huskers recently, particularly down the stretch in the last two games.

While NU was able to battle for 45 minutes in its close loss to Illinois, it followed that with an 8:31 scoring drought to end the second half at Pen State that nearly cost them a win.

On Tuesday, Nebraska had the game tied with eight minutes to play and once again ran out of gas the rest of the way.

The worst part is that nothing will change with the Huskers’ schedule for the rest of the season.

After getting the luxury of two days off following tomorrow’s Maryland rematch before hosting Purdue on Saturday, Hoiberg said he expects to basically continue playing every other day the rest of the year.

Nebraska better find another wave of energy quickly, or those tired legs will only continue to wear down.

3. Banton still has the green light

After missing a string of 17 straight 3-pointers over seven games, Banton has started to find his shot a little bit.

He finally snapped that streak by making a three in the win at Penn State, which was his first made 3-pointer since Christmas Day.

Then he knocked down his first two attempts at Maryland.

The issue is that after seeing a couple of tries go in, Banton fired up three more 3-pointers and missed them all, finishing 2-for-5 on the night.

Hoiberg was asked after the game whether he wanted Banton to keep shooting threes at that rate, given that he was still made just 25-percent on the season. As long as they were good looks and in rhythm, Hoiberg said Banton still had a green light.

Banton has clearly seen some of the criticism going around about his shooting this year, and he said all he cared about was that he had the support from his coaches and teammates to keep trying.

Published: 2021-02-17 03:20:05

Tags: #Huskers #wear #loss #Maryland

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