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Maryland focused on making sure Nebraska collapse doesn't happen again

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon normally likes his team to get back on the court as soon as it can after losing a game, especially in the manner the Terps lost to Nebraska on Sunday, when the Cornhuskers scored the last 14 points to win 67-65 at Xfinity Center.

With six days to prepare for Saturday's game at Michigan, Turgeon said he used the time to practice and meet with his team to work on the deficiencies that were exposed by Nebraska, which is now 3-0 in the Big Ten after beating Iowa in Lincoln, Neb., on Thursday.

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"I think whenever you lose a game, you want to get back out there as quickly as you can. As a coach, you knew you had six days and you've got to use it a certain way," Turgeon said Friday. "We used it to get better, but we also used it to stay fresh.

"I wished we had played Monday but we got a lot out of this week. … That was an aberration what happened there. We're a good basketball team. We're a really good basketball team. We're 13-2 and we were up on a team that's 3-0 in our league. The game was over. We have to move on if we're resilient."

Among the things that the Terps worked on:

Finishing at the rim

Maryland missed nine layups in the first half and 15 for the game, making just seven close-in shots of the 22 the Terps attempted overall. Turgeon and his players said that was a focal point at practice this week.

"We counted double-figure layups that we missed around the rim," Turgeon said. "If you make five of those, it's 10 points. You make four of those eight free throws we missed, that's 14. We score 79 and we probably win the game."

Said junior guard Jaylen Brantley, "The main focus was, when we get the rebounds, just try to focus and finish the layups. It was like running extra sprints [in practice] if you missed a layup, just to get in your mind to make the layup."

Making free throws

After shooting 76.9 percent as a team last season – the best the Terps have shot from the foul line in Turgeon's first five years – Maryland is now shooting 70.7 percent after going 8-for-16 from the line against the Cornhuskers.

It was the worst Maryland has shot in a game this season. In the two Big Ten games, the Terps are 19-for-34. It's a sizeable drop from what the team shot last season in the Big Ten, when Maryland's 75.9 percent was second only to Illinois (78.1).

"We lost by two and we missed eight out of 16," Turgeon said. "I do think we'll get there [to the free-throw line]. I do think we're executing at a higher level than we had been. It's always nice to get to the foul line. It's nice to make them when you get there. Hopefully we'll get there more tomorrow."

Playing against a 1-3-1 zone

Though Michigan plays a lot less zone these days than the Wolverines did when coach John Beilein first got to Ann Arbor in 2007, and have used more of a pack-line defense (a sagging man-to-man) this season similar to what Virginia plays, don't be surprised to see a 1-3-1 against the Terps.

That's what the Cornhuskers used in their comeback, despite having played it for only a couple of possessions this season. Nebraska coach Tim Miles acknowledged after the game that it came in desperation in trying to stop freshman wing Kevin Huerter, who had hit seven 3-pointers in the game and helped the Terps built a 13-point lead with 8:37 left.

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The Terps looked pretty clueless in trying to attack Nebraska's 1-3-1, and struggled earlier this season when a number of teams, Pittsburgh in particular, slowed them down with a variety of zone defenses designed to stop junior guard Melo Trimble.

"We prepared on a lot of different things, such as zone. You are right; we did zone," freshman guard Anthony Cowan said Friday. "We just practiced on making sure we made our free throws, for our bigs to finish around the rim and for us to just take care of the ball more."

Communicating better

Turgeon said the team met to discuss what happened against Nebraska in order to make sure it didn't happen again. Senior Damonte Dodd said he and Trimble also called a team meeting among the players.

"Both of the meetings really helped us," Dodd said Friday. "We kind of got some things out the window, what we need to work on, and then we got on the court and even got better."

Brantley said the meetings were to "focus on our identity as a team" in order to improve.

And what is that identity?

"Just being a more defensive-minded team, more of a rebounding team, also just play together and have as much fun as we can," Brantley said.

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