CHICAGO — Maryland men’s basketball now knows its opponent for the second round of the Big Ten tournament.
The sixth-seeded Terps will take on Minnesota on Thursday after the No. 14 seed defeated No. 11 seed Nebraska, 78-75, in the first round of the conference tournament at United Center Wednesday.
The Golden Gophers survived a late surge from the Cornhuskers and a desperate three-point heave at the buzzer from Keisei Tominaga that clanked off the rim to earn just their third victory against a Big Ten opponent all season.
Minnesota leaned on top-scorer Dawson Garcia, who dropped a team-high 18 points. A balanced scoring attack from Minnesota’s supporting cast, including eight or more points from each starter, and efficient shooting helped the Golden Gophers into the next round. They added a season-high 25 assists as a team.
[Don Carey finds his form for Maryland as he nears the end of his sixth collegiate season]
Maryland swept its regular season series against Minnesota, picking up its only away win in conference play this season on the road against the Golden Gophers. That 35-point win on the road over the Golden Gophers tied Maryland’s record for margin of victory in a Big Ten game.
“[Maryland is] a really, really good team,” Minnesota coach Ben Johnson said. “I think Kevin does a phenomenal job, I really do. What they do defensively has caused us problems, they’ve got great depth … We’ve got to go back to the hotel and really have a phenomenal game plan to be successful tomorrow.”
Minnesota won just one of its last 14 games before stunning an in-form Nebraska, who saw victory in five of its previous six games.
Maryland hasn’t played Minnesota in the conference tournament since joining the Big Ten. The Terps would play No. 3 seed Indiana in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals Friday if they defeat the bottom-seeded Golden Gophers in the second round.