maryland

Maryland earns “must-win” victory over No. 2 Duke, 83-81

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. –

With just six games left in the regular season for the Maryland Terrapins, the opportunities to impress the selection committee were running out.

But the Terrapins made the most of their last opportunity against a ranked opponent, defeating No. 2 Duke 83-81 on Saturday night in front of a raucous Comcast Center in College Park, Md.

Despite not having point guard Pe’Shon Howard, who was suspended for violating team rules, the Terrapins got steady play from guard Seth Allen, who scored 14 points, including the final two from the foul line to propel the Terps to victory.

Duke was led by Seth Curry, who scored 14 first half points and finished with a game-high 25 points despite making only four field goals in the second half.

Alex Len led the Terrapins in scoring, finishing with 19 points and added 8 rebounds as well. Len had not scored more than 16 points in a game since scoring 19 points against Stony Brook on November 21st.

This was also Len’s best performance since scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the season-opener against Kentucky. Maryland needed a big game from their big man, and they got one.

Maryland entered the game with a RPI of 75 and ranked 113th in strength of schedule. Entering the game, Maryland's only "good win" was against then-No.14 North Carolina State, a team no longer ranked in the top-25.

The Terrapins have games remaining against Virginia and North Carolina. Beating Duke on Saturday means that Maryland still has a chance to play their way in with a strong finish to the season.

If the Terps finish the season on a six-game winning streak with wins over Duke, Virginia and North Carolina, an automatic bid would be much more accessible.

Whether or not Maryland can win the next five games is still up for debate, but they got the most important win out of the way.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.