COLLEGE PARK, Md Jalen Smith’s basket with 2.4 seconds remaining lifted Maryland to a 74-72 win over No.24/23 Nebraska Wednesday evening at the XFINITY Center.
Smith, who scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half, broke the deadlock with a jumper in the lane to give Maryland (11-3, 2-1 Big Ten). Smith scored Maryland’s final seven points in a see-saw contest which saw 11 ties and nine lead changes.
Nebraska had one final opportunity and inbounded the ball to Thomas Allen, who got it to halfcourt and found Isaiah Roby going to the hoop, but Roby, who was battling contact, was unable to haul in the pass and get the shot off as the buzzer sounded.
James Palmer Jr. led Nebraska (11-3, 1-2 Big Ten) with 26, seven rebounds and five steals, while Glynn Watson Jr. and Isaiah Roby had 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Anthony Cowan Jr. led Maryland with 19 points, while Bruno Fernando added 18 points and 17 rebounds, as the Terrapins outrebounded Nebraska, 38-28, including 14 offensive boards that led to 14 second-chance points.
Trailing 70-69, Nebraska regained the lead on a steal and dunk from Palmer with 2:13 left and was in position to steal a road win, as Palmer’s jumper on the next possession rimmed out. On Maryland’s next possession, Cowan missed a 3-pointer, but Smith grabbed the rebound and got the putback to give Maryland a 72-71 lead with 32 seconds left.
On NU’s next possession, Palmer was fouled with 22 seconds left and converted one of two free throws to knot the game, but giving the Terrapins a chance to win in regulation.
Nebraska had seemingly started to take control in the opening minutes of the second half, using an 8-0 run behind Palmer and Roby to build its largest lead at 47-39 with 15:28 left, but Maryland answered right back. The Terrapins used a 10-2 spurt to pull even at 49 with 11:26 left after 3-pointers from Aaron Wiggins and Cowan.
From there, neither team led by more than four points the rest of the way, as tonight was the sixth time in seven meetings that the contest was decided by five points or less.
The Huskers closed the first half with a flourish, using a 10-2 run in the final three minutes to take a 39-35 lead into the locker room.
Nebraska, which had led 29-24 before Maryland ran off nine straight points to take a four-point lead, got going behind Thomas Allen, who scored all five of his points in the run. Allen’s 3-pointer started an 8-0 run before Tanner Borchardt’s layup gave the Huskers a 34-33 lead.
Nebraska would eventually stretch it back to four on a 3-pointer from Isaiah Roby before Allen’s driving baseline floater beat the first-half buzzer.
Nebraska shot 44 percent from the field in the first half, including 6-of-15 from 3-point range, while Maryland shot 45 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. Anthony Cowan Jr. had 10 first-half points, while Bruno Fernando had eight points nine and nine caroms in the opening 20 minutes.
Neither team could seize control in the opening 20 minutes, as the largest lead from either team was five points.
James Palmer Jr. led NU with 13 points and five rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, while Glynn Watson Jr. had eight points despite playing 10 minutes because of foul trouble.
Nebraska led by one before using an 8-4 run to build its largest lead of the half at 25-20 after a James Palmer Jr. 3-point play with 6:01 left in the half. The Huskers eventually pushed the margin back to five after a Watson 3-pointer, before Cowan scored six of his 10 first-half points in run of nine straight points.
The Huskers return to action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to No. 25 Iowa. Tipoff is slated for 4:30 and will be carried on BTN and the Husker Sports Network.