Early in the second half, guard Jahmir Young intercepted a Nebraska pass and the ball wound up in forward Donta Scott’s hands. Scott ran up the court and passed the ball to Young. Young lobbed the ball up for Scott who threw down a powerful dunk to cap off an 11-4 Terps run that forced Nebraska to burn a timeout.
Maryland men’s basketball (14-7, B1G 5-5) kept their foot on the gas pedal the rest of the way, highlighted by a 15-2 run to secure their second consecutive win defeating Nebraska (10-12, B1G 3-8), 82-63 as five players scored in double figures.
With the win the Terps moved back to .500 in conference play for the first time since starting 1-1 back in December.
Nebraska entered the game pretty banged up, losing two of their starters to season ending injuries in recent games. While the Terps shot well, they could not separate themselves from the Cornhuskers until midway through the second half.
Nebraska remained in the game courtesy of starting forward Derrick Walker Jr. and walk-on guard Sam Hoiberg. Walker and Hoiberg did the bulk of their damage in the first half. Walker scored multiple layups in the paint while Hoiberg, a rarely used player, was on fire making his first three-pointer of his collegiate career before adding two more, finishing with 15 points.
The three-pointers were flying for the Terps for the second consecutive game as ball movement behind the three-point line helped generate open looks that the Terps knocked down leading to 16 assists, which matched their season high.
Maryland’s first eight field goals were all assisted as guard Hakim Hart followed up a career-high 8 assist game with four quick assists in the first half and finished with five while Young added seven.
“Hakim has really played with a really steady pace, finding guys,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “Just the way he’s playing and passing the basketball made a big difference.”
The Terps shot 34.8% from beyond the arc as guard Don Carey shot 4-4 from beyond the arc and finished the game with 16 points. Carey began both halves with a three-pointer which sparked the Terps’ strong start to each half.
“The work never stopped, my confidence never dropped,” Carey said. “A lot of people doubted me, but my teammates believed in me and that’s the most important thing for me and I just worked every day.”
While Reese spent much of the game in foul trouble, forward Patrick Emilien played one of his best games as a Terp. Emilien made a big impact defensively for the Terps by blocking shots and forcing turnovers, one that turned into back-up point guard Jahari Long’s three-pointer in the first half.
“He just gives us a different dynamic and the fact that when we switch pick and rolls he can slide over to the power forward, slide him to the center [position],” Willard said.
Willard has raved that Emilien is one of the team’s best players even if it does not always show up in the box score. Today, however, the grad student lit up the stat sheet with 10 points and seven rebounds, one steal and a block.
Both teams struggled offensively out of the halftime break but Carey got the Terps going with a three-pointer that rattled around before falling through the net. The Terps found their groove from intercepting Nebraska passes and turning the turnovers into points. Young recorded five steals in the second half alone.
The Terps converted Nebraska’s 15 turnovers into 20 points including Scott’s big dunk.
Maryland continued their successful three-point and free throw shooting going on a late second half 15-2 run to build a 71-52 lead with 5:50 left in the game finally earning separation from the Cornhuskers. During the run Scott and Carey each added a three-pointer while the Terps finished the game shooting 24-26 from the free throw line.
Maryland will seek to cap off a successful homestand when they face Indiana on Tuesday night.