COLLEGE PARK, Md. — If the start of Big Ten play is any indication, this could be a very special season for the Nebraska basketball team.
Tai Webster scored 18 points, and the Cornhuskers closed with a 14-0 run to beat Maryland 67-65 Sunday and end the Terrapins’ six-game winning streak.
Nebraska trailed 65-53 with six minutes left before charging back behind Webster, who scored the game’s final seven points. Glynn Watson Jr. scored 17 for the Cornhuskers (8-6, 2-0), off to their best start in league play since the 2005-06 season.
“It was a really critical win,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “You don’t get it without buying in, and these guys have bought into each other.”
After losing half its 12 non-conference games — including a defeat at home against Gardner-Webb — Nebraska used a 54-point second half Wednesday to upset No. 16 Indiana, which had had won 26 straight at home.
That victory was no less shocking that this one, given that the Cornhuskers had yielded 17 straight points to a team that was 17-1 at home in the Big Ten since joining the league.
“We wanted to play better in moments like this, obviously, after not having the start of the season we wanted,” Webster said.
A layup by Webster with 30 seconds left put Nebraska up 66-65. After the senior guard added a free throw with 17 seconds to go, Maryland still had a chance to salvage the victory. But Melo Trimble fired up an air ball with five seconds left and clanged a shot off the rim just before the buzzer.
Coach Mark Turgeon said, “I told our guys in a meeting yesterday, ‘You got to knock Nebraska out. They keep coming.’ We never knocked them out.”
Trimble, Maryland’s scoring leader, finished with 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting and had three turnovers. Freshman Kevin Huerter scored a career-high 26 points for the Terrapins (13-2, 1-1). Maryland’s last basket was a jumper by Trimble in the paint with 6:43 remaining.
Earlier, the Terps appeared poised to win by virtue of a comeback of their own.
After Nebraska took a 41-33 lead early in the second half, Trimble hit a 3-pointer and Justin Jackson sank a layup to spark a 10-2 run that evened the score.
The Cornhuskers answered with successive layups, but would not score again over the next four minutes.
Maryland’s 17-point surge included four-point plays by Trimble and Huerter. That made it 60-43, but the Terrapins added only five points the rest of the way.
“Did a lot of nice things,” Turgeon said. “It’s disappointing we let it get away.”
Watson scored 12 points in the first half and the Cornhuskers went 4 for 5 from beyond the arc in taking a 34-30 lead.
Huerter kept the Terrapins close with 13 points, including six in a 10-0 run that erased a 26-19 deficit. Maryland missed 11 of its first 13 field goal tries and shot 33 percent before the break.
Nebraska’s switch to a 1-3-1 zone down the stretch blunted Maryland’s offense and made the comeback possible.
“We just had to go with it, and the guys did great,” Miles said.
Turgeon said: “The 1-3-1, we didn’t work on it enough. It’s 100 percent on me. We got some good looks. Got a few layups against it and just couldn’t finish. With that said, we just needed to make one play. We needed that one stop and a rebound. Or one play offensively. And we just never did it.”
It was Nebraska’s first win against Maryland in five tries. The series began in 2015.
Nebraska: Playing at a school known for its football team, the Cornhuskers’ basketball squad just might draw some attention from the state’s faithful fan base.
Maryland: Coming in, the Terps appeared on the brink of reaching the Top 25. It’s going to take some work to get there again.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers host Iowa on Thursday night. The Hawkeyes lead the series 18-9, but Nebraska is 7-5 at home.
Maryland: The Terrapins get a five-day break before facing Michigan on the road Saturday afternoon.
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