Maryland seems unconcerned by some road woes from star freshman Melo Trimble as the postseason nears.
Nebraska is probably concerned about everything at the moment.
The 10th-ranked Terrapins hope to get Trimble untracked in Sunday night’s regular-season finale on the road against a Cornhuskers team that has dropped seven straight.
Maryland (25-5, 13-4 Big Ten) won its sixth straight Tuesday with a 60-50 victory at Rutgers despite another rough night from Trimble, the conference co-freshman of the year along with Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell. Trimble made 3 of 13 shots for 10 points.
He’s shooting 32.9 percent and averaging 13.5 points in Big Ten road games compared to 44.9 percent and 18.3 points at home in conference play.
The Terrapins overcame Trimble’s effort because they limited the last-place Scarlet Knights to 32.2 percent shooting and got another strong game from Dez Wells, who had 20 points and a season-high 10 rebounds. Wells is averaging 18.5 points on 57.1 percent shooting in his last eight games.
“That’s how this team is built,” said forward Jake Layman, who had 14 points. “If Melo is not playing well other guys step up.”
One concern was a 42-38 rebounding disparity that included Rutgers’ 20 offensive rebounds – a season high for a Maryland opponent.
“Obviously we didn’t rebound great,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “That was probably the one thing that was the real negative of the game. That kept them around.”
The Terrapins have failed to outrebound the opposition in all five of their losses and nine of their past 12 games overall.
Nebraska (13-16, 5-12) is one of the conference’s worst teams in rebound margin at minus-2.7, though it held a 33-26 edge in a 69-65 loss at Maryland on Feb. 19 in the first-ever meeting between these programs.
Trimble was spectacular that night with team highs of 26 points, six rebounds and five assists. He drained two big 3-pointers down the stretch and drew praise from Nebraska coach Tim Miles afterward.
“He just steps up and makes those two 3s late,” Miles said. “It says a lot about his competitiveness. I’ve heard Mark talk about him during the summer and he’s lived up to the billing for sure.”
That game was the closest Miles’ team has come to victory in this seven-game skid. Ranked No. 21 in the preseason, the Cornhuskers are now seeking to avoid their first eight-game slide since dropping nine in a row Jan. 22-Feb. 22, 2003.
This is Nebraska’s final home game and its first since a humiliating 74-46 defeat to Iowa on Feb. 22. Miles banned the team from the facilities after that contest.
Things haven’t gotten any better, though the coach was happier with the effort in Wednesday’s 69-57 loss at Illinois. The Cornhuskers held the Illini to 42.9 percent shooting after their previous two opponents combined to shoot 51.8 percent.
Top scorer Terran Petteway is shooting 32.7 percent during this slide. His worst effort in that span came when he made 2 of 14 shots for eight points against Maryland, though he handed out a season-high nine assists.
Petteway has since totaled six assists in three games for the Huskers, the Big Ten’s worst 3-point shooting team and one of the worst among major college programs at 28.6 percent.
Trimble averages 6.9 free throw attempts to rank second in the conference. Petteway (5.4) and teammate Shavon Shields (5.1) are not far behind.