B10 Nebraska Rutgers Basketball

Nebraska guard Glynn Watson (5) drives to the basket against Rutgers forward Eugene Omoruyi during the first half Wednesday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago.

The last time Nebraska played Maryland, in the middle of its late-season swoon, the Huskers played one of their worst offensive games in years in a 60-45 loss.

The task Thursday, with Maryland's imposing front line, will literally be a tall one. And who knows where Nebraska's legs will be. But NU plans on showing up.

At least one Husker thought playing on Wednesday was an advantage. Teams aren't able to shoot in the United Center before their games.

"I think today was a good day to play. Now we know what to expect, and we know how the rims work," Glynn Watson said. "We played in here once and those guys are coming in fresh, so hopefully they'll be missing all their shots."

Maryland won't miss them all, but Nebraska feels confident enough in a defensive game plan that gave the team a chance in College Park and limited the Terps to 60 points in Lincoln.

So the Huskers can check off at least two boxes — attitude and defense. The question becomes whether Nebraska can find enough offense.

They'll need at least some points, even with an us-against-the-world mentality.

"We've been having that a little bit. Because when you go on a losing streak — it's really tough to go through that," Isaiah Roby said. "So when you go through that, you're either going to fall apart or come together. And fortunately we came together as a team, as a coaching staff, as a group of players."

Bench Mob pride: Tanner Borchardt used to be on Johnny Trueblood's shoes.

The former walk-on from Gothenburg was a founding member of Nebraska's Bench Mob last season, leading celebrations from the bench along with Trueblood and others.

"We're both a part of the Bench Mob — gotta remember where you came from," Borchardt said. "And I got called up to the big leagues a little earlier than him, but now it's his turn and he's making the most of it."

The two are good friends and room together on road trips.

And the guy from western Nebraska is plenty proud of his friend from the east.

"He's a great dude. I've talked to him all season. Obviously everybody wants to play, and he's been itching to play all season, and I've just been encouraging him — your time will come," Borchardt said. "And obviously it's come the last two games. He's performed above expectations and he's doing great."

Coming alive: James Palmer continued his late-season resurgence with a 34-point effort that ranks among the best not only in the history of the Big Ten Tournament, but in Nebraska's conference tournament history.

Palmer's total is the second-highest ever by a Husker in a conference tournament game, behind only the 42-point effort by Eric Piatkowski in the 1994 Big Eight Tournament.

Glynn Watson laughed when asked what he does when Palmer gets going like that.

"I just watch. Do my job. Whatever the play is, I try to do my job. But he was getting it going, so I was just trying to get the ball in his hands," Watson said. "He was getting fouled, he was doing whatever. He was doing James. That was big for us."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


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