Terps' Kevin Huerter shows off the skill that made him such an intriguing prospect

COLLEGE PARK — Going into Sunday's game against Nebraska, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said he wanted freshman Kevin Huerter to become more aggressive offensively.

In a season in which the 6-foot-7 wing started every game because of his defense, rebounding and overall court sense, Huerter had yet to really show what attracted Turgeon and other recruiters to Shenendehowa High (N.Y.) in the first place.


Long-range shooting.

Huerter had a couple of short shooting bursts throughout the team's first 14 games, as well as a couple of longer cold spells. Against the Cornhuskers, Huerter showed what could bring NBA scouts to Xfinity Center in the coming years.


Though it looked until the last minutes that Huerter's 3-point shooting – 7-for-11 – would carry the Terps to an easy victory, his season-high 26-point performance was overshadowed when Maryland blew a 13-point lead and lost.

"It felt really good during the game, but it's not a great feeling in the end. Winning is all that matters. Winning kind of cures everything. If you don't win, it really doesn't matter," Huerter said after the 67-65 loss.

Huerter became the sixth different player, and the first freshman, in Maryland history to hit at least seven 3-point shots in a game. The all-time record holder is Mike Jones, who hit nine against Missouri-Kansas City in 2006.

After hitting four of the first five 3-pointers he attempted this season, Huerter made just one of his next 12. He came into Sunday's game having made just 18 of 59 (30.5 percent), including missing all three in a win over Illinois on Tuesday.

Asked if his individual performance can help build confidence once the sting of the tough loss begins the fade, Huerter said, "We have to put today aside. I think what today helped is I was aggressive right from the tip."

"...For any shooter, you see the first shot go in and you feel a lot better, you feel a lot more confident," said Huerter, who made his first three shots Sunday. "Guys just continued to find me."

With the Corhunskers geared to stopping junior guard Melo Trimble from penetrating on high ball screens, Huerter found openings by finding his spots or getting behind the screeners for open looks.

"We kind of ran a similar play all game, and Melo kept going through it [the screen], allowing me to get a shot," said Huerter, who was 9-of-17 from the field overall. "Just guys were being unselfish. If we keeping doing that, a lot of guys will have their [high] game."


Huerter shot more off screens than he had the whole season.

"They were kind of sagging in; we knew a lot of people were going to focus on Melo and his dribble drives," Huerter said. "For me as a screener, we set double screens and he would come off them. Our big guys were setting good screens today. Melo was unselfish, he kept taking what the defense gave us and not try to force things."

Huerter had established himself as one of the team's best defenders, often taking on the opposing team's top perimeter scorer. He is also an underrated rebounder, considering how skinny he is (198 pounds) and a superb passer that dates back to his years as a point guard in high school.

Ironically, it was Huerter's hot shooting that ultimately led to Maryland losing the game. Unable to find Huerter in the man-to-man, Nebraska switched to the 1-3-1 defense that helped the Cornhuskers follow up a road win at Indiana Wednesday with their first in five tries over the Terps in Big Ten play.

"I just thought we weren't going to be able to go out and chase them man-to-man,"  Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. "Our other option was to switch everything, and I didn't like that because we needed our two bigs. Our next part would be to trap, but then you feel like you have to get way off the shooters. I ended up doing that for awhile, but Kevin had six already. Now, odds are that he's going to miss, but I'm not playing those odds. So we had to go with it, and the guys did great."

Disappointed with the game's outcome, Turgeon was certainly encouraged by Huerter's aggressive play at the offensive end. He also had five rebounds, three assists and three turnovers in a season-high 35 minutes.


"He's been practicing well. You could see it coming. He's been shooting the ball well," Turgeon said. "He's got his legs under him. It was good to see. He was the one who really separated the game [when Maryland took a 60-47 lead]. Seventeen [shots] is a lot, but it was good to see him get more aggressive."

Trimble, whose career-high of six 3-pointers came against Michigan State at home as a freshman, looked at the stat sheet Sunday and said, "Just like when I was a freshman, I scored a lot of points and it gave me a lot of confidence. Kevin's going to have a lot of confidence after this game."

The highlight – for Huerter and the Terps – was a 4-point play to give Maryland its biggest lead with 8:37 remaining. Huerter's shot came from about 25 feet away on the left wing as he was fouled.

"That was a cool moment. I haven't hit an and-one 3 in a very long time," Huerter said. "To see it go in after the foul was a really good moment."

Unfortunately for the Terps, it didn't last.

And neither did Maryland's lead.