LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Jalen Smith had 18 points and 11 rebounds and fueled Maryland’s decisive surge in the first half, and the 24th-ranked Terrapins beat fading Nebraska 60-45 on Wednesday night.
Bruno Fernando wasn’t at his best shooting but still had his sixth consecutive double-double, and 15th of the season, with 13 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for Maryland (18-6, 9-4 Big Ten).
Nebraska (13-10, 3-9) set season lows for points and field goal percentage (21 percent) while losing its sixth straight and dropping to 13th place in the conference.
Isaiah Roby led the Cornhuskers with 20 points and 14 rebounds, and James Palmer Jr. added 11 points.
The Terps were lethargic at the outset, missing 11 of their first 14 shots as offensive leaders Fernando, Anthony Cowan Jr. and Smith went scoreless through the first nine minutes. Meanwhile, Roby scored 12 points as the Huskers jumped to a 15-10 lead.
But then Nebraska had one of its all-too-familiar scoring droughts, this one lasting longer than eight minutes. Smith, whose short runner with 3 seconds left gave the Terps a 74-72 win over the Huskers on Jan. 2, scored 11 straight points to put his team in front after Tanner Borchardt went to the bench with his second foul.
Maryland outscored the Cornhuskers 20-5 to close the half, with Nebraska making just one field goal over the last 11:41.
The Terps left the door open, starting the second half much as they did the first. Fernando traveled, Smith committed an offensive foul and the Huskers scored nine straight to draw to 31-29 before Aaron Wiggins hit a 3-pointer and Smith dunked off a lob to make it 36-29.
A minute later, Fernando posted up and moved into Borchardt under the basket, knocking him down, before jamming a one-handed dunk. The play brought howls from fans who wanted a foul and a technical on Nebraska coach Tim Miles, who wanted the same thing.
The Terps soon were up by double digits again and on their way to bouncing back from a 69-61 loss at Wisconsin last Friday.
Next up, Maryland will host Purdue on Tuesday.