Poor ball security and transition defense proved costly for Nebraska on the road Saturday as Maryland built a 10-point lead at halftime then pulled away in the second half for an 82-63 victory.
The Huskers (10-12, 3-8 Big Ten) turned the ball over 15 times, leading to 20 points the other way for Maryland. The Terrapins (14-7, 6-3) scored 22 fast break points overall. The Cornhuskers also gave up 11 second-chance points on 11 offensive rebounds. Nebraska totaled just 15 points in those three categories.
“That’s exactly what happened with our turnovers, they led to baskets,” Coach Fred Hoiberg said during his post-game radio interview. “Fifteen turnovers lead to led to 20 points, 22 fast break points; that can’t happen. We shoot 54% almost from the field, 58% in the second half, so we had a really efficient offensive game besides the turnovers. It just shows you on the road if you turn that thing over, it’s death …
“We handled their press, the full-court press very well. We got some baskets on it early, got them out of it. Half court, we should have handled it, their switching; normally we have good cutting off of that, getting to the basket. But just too many second chance opportunities, too many miscues on our part led to a very difficult formula to win the game.”
Maryland also shot 26 free throws (making 24 of them) against a Nebraska defense that typically doesn’t put teams at the line a ton. The Huskers attempted just one free throw in the first half and finished 9-for-15 at the line.
All of that added up to spoil an otherwise fairly efficient shooting game for Nebraska at 53.3% from the field including 42.9% from 3. Derrick Walker led the way with 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting and eight rebounds but turned the ball over five times.
“Derrick, I thought at times, when he was aggressive and he went to attack mode, he was really good,” Hoiberg said. “When he was indecisive, that’s when he had the turnovers. Two assists, five turnovers for Derrick tonight. When he gets it down there and creates an angle for himself, he’s really hard to stop, but I thought too many times he was just a little too casual and that’s what caused those turnovers.”
Redshirt freshman Sam Hoiberg stepped up even more following his big first rotation minutes, adding 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting (3-of-3 from 3) in 26 minutes off the bench. Sam Griesel chipped in eight points on 2-of-4 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line with six assists while Jamarques Lawrence added seven points on 3-of-4 from the field including 1-of-2 from deep and three assists.
However, the rest of the team combined to shoot 5-of-17 from the field with six turnovers while Maryland had five players score 10 or more led by Jahmir Young with 18 points and seven assists. The Terrapins shot 44.6% from the field including 34.8% from 3 to supplement their free throws.
After a quiet game against Northwestern, Walker got the Huskers off to a great start with eight early points as Nebraska took a 13-8 lead.
Maryland turned the tables with a 10-0 run, however, taking advantage of Nebraska turnovers on offense and defensive miscues on the other end.
Then Hoiberg checked in and provided a spark once again, hitting his first three shots — a right corner 3, a one-dribble pull-up and a left corner 3 — for a personal 8-4 run to pull Nebraska within one.
“Sam continues to play well for us,” Fred Hoiberg said. “I thought he hunted his shot tonight. I thought C.J. made a great kick-out to him coming to a jump stop in the corner, and it’s always nice to knock down that first shot. It gives you a little bolt of confidence. He had a couple of nice takes to the basket. He had an easy one that rimmed out as well, but Sam, I’m proud of him for continuing to go out there and give us good, quality minutes.”
The Huskers went nearly four minutes without scoring as Maryland stretched the lead out to eight before Hoiberg knocked down another 3, this time from the left wing, to make it 29-24 with less than five to play in the half.
Maryland extended the lead back to 10, however then traded buckets with Nebraska until halftime.
The Terrapins led 40-30 at the break after shooting 5-of-10 from deep and 13-of-13 at the foul line. C.J. Wilcher missed Nebraska’s only free-throw attempt which came as a result of a flopping technical call.
The Terrapins got contributions from up and down the lineup while Walker and Hoiberg combined for 24 of Nebraska’s 30 points. Griesel only attempted one shot but dished out four assists. The rest of the team shot a combined 3-of-13 from the field with four turnovers. Nebraska had seven giveaways in all which led to 11 points on the other end for the Terps.
Maryland continued to push the pace and make Nebraska pay for its mistakes, using an 8-2 run including two buckets off turnovers to extend its lead to 15 less than five minutes into the half.
Nebraska used a 9-2 run (including two Griesel free throws on the first shooting foul of the game on Maryland seven minutes into the second half) to cut it back down to eight. The lead bounced between eight and 12 before a Wilhelm Breidenbach 3 made it 59-50 with nine minutes to go.
Then a disastrous possession sparked a big Maryland run. The Huskers defended well for most of the shot clock and forced a miss, but Wilcher committed a foul on the rebound then said something to the official, drawing a technical foul. Young hit both free throws, then Donta Scott hit a 3 for a five-point possession, the beginning of a 15-2 run that pushed the lead to 22.
The closest Nebraska got the rest of the way was 16 as the Terrapins cruised to the victory.
Nebraska shot 57.9% from the field in the second half but committed eight more turnovers and gave up eight offensive rebounds, giving Maryland a massive edge in field goal attempts. Maryland only shot 43.8% including 3-of-13 from deep but still outscored Nebraska from both the field and the foul line.
“It’s a good team,” Hoiberg said. “Obviously they’re really good in this building. They’re 11-1 in this building, only lost UCLA, so we knew it was going to be tough and I thought we competed, I really did. That first half, we were flying around. We’ve just got to clean it up. If we clean it up and continue to play with effort, we’re going to have a chance to win some games.”
Nebraska will remain on the road over the weekend before heading to Champaign to take on Illinois Tuesday night. The Huskers fell to the Illini at home 76-50 on Jan. 10 in the teams’ first meeting.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.