LINCOLN — Regrets? Yeah, Nebraska had a few.
Despite multiple chances, the Huskers couldn’t quite take control against No. 4 Maryland down the stretch. Instead, NU was left to wonder what could have been in a 70-65 loss Wednesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“There were a lot of missed opportunities for us,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said.
To determine the culprit for the Huskers’ third straight loss, start with a positive: Maryland’s 18 turnovers — its second-highest total of the season. However, the Huskers (12-11, 4-6) converted those miscues into only nine points.
Or look at the botched fast breaks. Nebraska mismanaged multiple 2-on-1 attacks and finished with just two fast-break points, scoring on a sweet alley-oop from Benny Parker to Andrew White.
“Our primary break was not good,” Miles said. “We didn’t execute very well. I think their length has something to do with it. Their athleticism certainly does. But we just didn’t make great decisions.”
White attributed the loss to the Huskers’ failure to capitalize on turnovers.
“Just because usually that is such an easy thing,” the junior 6-foot-7 junior said. “You get a turnover, you should get a layup or a good shot. That is why this one is just a tough loss to take because we put ourselves in a position to win a game and something easy slipped by us today.”
NU also had trouble finishing from close range. The Huskers shot 31.8 percent from the floor, including 6-for-18 at the rim. Maryland (20-3, 9-2) finished with a season-high 13 blocked shots.
Miles said the Huskers were too amped up from defense and didn’t transition their intensity effectively from defense to offense.
“When you play defense, you’re playing in 10th gear, frothing at the mouth, and you’re turning them over,” Miles said. “When you go on offense, you’ve got to play in seventh gear. You have to wipe yourself off a little bit and have some poise, and we didn’t do that.”
Don’t forget about several big plays that negated the Huskers’ momentum down the stretch.
For example, Maryland called time out with 8:20 remaining after Tai Webster capped a 7-0 run to give Nebraska a 54-51 lead. On the next possession, Jack McVeigh couldn’t control a defensive rebound and Melo Trimble connected on a 3-pointer to tie the game.
Or after Michael Jacobson cut the Husker deficit to 62-61, Jake Layman made a bucket and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but 6-foot-11 Damonte Dodd tipped the rebound to Diamond Stone for a dunk.
Perhaps NU’s biggest missed opportunity came late in the first half. The Terrapins led 27-21 with 6:55 remaining in the half before its offense fell apart.
During its final 13 possessions in the first half, Maryland committed seven turnovers and missed two field goals and five free throws. Maryland’s only points came with 1:53 left as Stone made a short jumper. Those points gave Maryland the lead back just before halftime, 29-28.
“It was amazing we had a one-point lead at half,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said.
Down the stretch, White had a chance to tie the game, but his 3-pointer with 14 seconds left was off and Trimble made both free throws to seal the outcome.
The Husker junior said he was excited to take the shot, the first time a crunch time shot was drawn up for him this season. But he was slightly off-balance and fading away.
“I’ve never been that confident and that excited to shoot a shot in my life,” said White, who led four Nebraska players in double figures with 19 points. “It felt good. I was really confident in myself. I felt like the team and fans probably thought it was going in, but it was a tough shot to make for sure just with a guy kind of running up under you and you’re a little rushed with the passer and defender jumping you.”
Trimble’s big 3-pointer gives Terrapins a spark
When Maryland needed a spark, Melo Trimble, the Big Ten preseason player of the year, carried it down the stretch. The 6-foot-3 sophomore scored nine of his game-high 20 points in the final eight minutes.
“You just have to know he’s going to do what he does. ... He’s a winner. He just keeps doing it,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said about Trimble. “We’re down three and they have all the momentum and he hits the big shot to tie it. It’s what he does.”
Bits and pieces
» Freshman Ed Morrow was limited to three minutes after dealing with a foot injury. Miles said Morrow didn’t practice all week, but he should be back to practice and available for Saturday’s game against Rutgers.
» Maryland freshman Diamond Stone nearly finished with a triple-double with eight blocks to go along with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The consensus top-10 recruit had previously recorded three double-doubles this season, and his previous best for blocks in a game was three.
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