COLLEGE PARK, MD. — Nebraska came out of the chute today hitting five 3-pointers to start their scoring, and it looked like the sluggish start by the Maryland Terps would sink them quickly. But then Jahari Long stepped up big with his own 3-point scoring on his way to 11 points in the game, and that energized his team that went on a run and never looked back. It was a combination of aggressive defense to keep the Cornhuskers from uncontested 3-point shooting the rest of the way, and Maryland moving around the ball on offense to the open man for clear shots.
Nebraska came into College Park with a strong 15-5 record on the season, and a major upset win just 18 days ago against the No. 1 team in the country at the time, Purdue, and the Cornhuskers smoked them with a final score of 88-72. Many favored Nebraska in this game, and it started out to look like that until the freshman, Jamie Kaiser Jr., stepped up in the first half.
Watching Kaiser score 14 points for Maryland (13-8, 5-5 Big Ten), and go 4-of-5 from beyond the three-pointer arc, was much-needed on this day. Kaiser scored 11 of his 14 before halftime, and this was a game that the bench players gave Maryland their most balanced scoring of the season. Kaiser was coming off of a 4-game scoreless streak, and he desperately needed a game like this — and so did his team that is still hoping to finish strong this season. The other freshman, DeShawn Harris-Smith added nine points. In all, seven Terps scored today with 11-players logging time on the court.
Player of the game honors go to Kaiser, even though Julian Reese scored 15 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Terrapins in a nice double-double, and on their way to a dominant victory for Maryland as they took a 17-point lead to halftime and finished off Nebraska 73-51 on this Saturday.
Maryland’s top player on this season and also the team’s leading scorer, Jahmir Young, (20.3 ppg) came off of his heroic victory in Iowa — and didn’t need to be the star today. He scored 12 points which is light for him. The Terps led 44-27 at halftime, and Young could actually watch his teammates push their stats.
“I’ve been saying all along, this team’s going to get better and better as the season goes on,” head coach Kevin Willard said in the postgame.
“What we saw in November wasn’t even close to what we’re going to see — and I still think that we’re going to get better. Offensively, we’re going to get better, and if we continue to play defense the way we’re playing, I’ll play against anybody.”
Donta Scott became the fifth Terp in the team’s history to record 1,500 points and 800 rebounds in a career. He joins a list that included Maryland greats such as Tom McMillen, Keith Booth, Lonny Baxter and Terence Morris.
Maryland is now 7-1 all-time against Nebraska at College Park, Maryland, and the Terps will take a week off with their next game is Saturday against Michigan State on Feb. 3. The game will tip-off at 5:30 p.m., and will be televised on FOX.