LINCOLN–(KFOR Feb. 20)–The Nebraska men’s basketball team continues to find ways to play spoiler toward Big Ten opponents and had to go overtime to do it against Maryland.
The Huskers bounced back from an eight-point deficit in the final seven minutes of regulation and went on an 8-0 run in OT to beat Maryland 70-66 Sunday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Terrapins led 64-61 with 2:30 left in overtime, when Husker center Derrick Walker made a pair of free throws to spark the run. Sam Griesel’s basket with 1:23 remaining in the extra period gave NU a 65-64 lead. Maryland had the ball with 39 seconds left in OT at midcourt, but Sam Hoiberg’s steal and layup off the inbounds pass gave NU a 67-64 lead with 34 seconds left gave NU a 3-point lead. On Maryland’s next possession, Walker blocked Hakim Hart’s shot before Hoiberg was fouled. He hit the two free throws to push the lead to 69-64 as Nebraska won for the fourth time in five games.
Walker led the Huskers with 23 points and was a career best, as he went 9-of-11 from the foul line, setting personal bests in both categories and added three blocked shots. Keisei Tominaga pitched in 20 points in his fifth-straight game scoring 20 or more, while Griesel, despite being in foul trouble for most of the game, added 12 points. Hoiberg added nine points, six rebounds and two steals in 37 minutes, as Nebraska battled foul trouble throughout the second half.
After battling back from an eight-point deficit (50-42) and withstanding a 17-2 Maryland run, a Griesel layup cut the lead to one with two minutes left. Tominaga hit four crucial free throws to even the game at 56 with 1:06 left.
Jahmir Young floater gave Maryland the lead back with a floater, but Walker was able to tie it up with a tough layup with 29 seconds remaining, forcing overtime for the second straight home game.
Maryland, who fell to 18-9 and 9-7 in the Big Ten, came into the game with wins over six of their last seven contests. Julian Reese led the Terrapins with 16 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Young added 16 points and Hakim Hart had 14 for the visitors.
It was a defensive battle early on, as a Tominaga floater gave Nebraska a 9-5 lead at the 12:59 mark. Nebraska held Maryland to 14.3 percent (2-of-14) to open the game. Nebraska opened the lead up to 15-6 with a 6-0 run by Derrick Walker, but Maryland answered back with a 10-0 run of their own to take the lead with seven minutes left in the half.
Nebraska answered back with a six-point spurt to force a Maryland timeout on a Tominaga layup. Walker’s seventh and eighth points of the half. gave Nebraska a 23-18 lead with 4:49 left.
A Griesel floater at 17:12 stretched the Husker advantage to nine to open the second half, their biggest of the contest. However, after Griesel and Walker were forced to sit with foul trouble, Maryland capitalized, using an extended 17-2 run to take a 44-38 lead at 10:24.
After a Young three-pointer extended the Terrapin lead to 47-40, Sam Hoiberg responded with a triple of his own to trim the deficit to 50-45. Free throws from Blaise Keita and Griesel trimmed the deficit to two, but a three-point play from Julian Reese pushed Maryland’s lead back to five with 4 minutes left.
Nebraska will look to extend their three-game winning streak next Saturday, as they are set to face Minnesota. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.