Bloomington – A good start gave way to an ugly finish as Maryland topped Indiana 80-68 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in front of 17,039 at Assembly Hall.
Maryland turned a tie game with 8:49 remaining into a rout late thanks to a 26-14 closing run as the Terrpains handed Indiana its sixth loss in its last seven Big Ten/ACC Challenge games in front of 17,039 at Assembly Hall.
With the loss, Indiana drops to 3-4 and is still in search of its first win over a major conference opponent. Maryland, meanwhile, improved to 5-2.
Indiana jumped on Maryland early. Trailing 15-11, Christian Watford scored seven of his 16 points and Maurice Creek added five of his team-high 19 during a 17-6 run that gave the Hoosiers a seven-point lead with six minutes remaining in the half. Maryland eventually whittled that lead down and took a two-point lead, 35-33, at halftime.
The Hoosiers got off to that fast start despite the absence of Jeremiah Rivers for nearly 10 minutes of the opening half. After scoring on an acrobatic layup in the game's opening minute, Rivers dropped to the floor clutching his back with what was later labeled as a backspasm. Rivers was helped off the court and into the locker room before returning midway through the opening half with Indiana in the midst of its big run.
"When you go on the road, sometimes you have to take the other team's best shot in the opening 10 minutes," Maryland Coach Gary Williams. "We were able to withstand that."
Maryland extended its lead to six in the opening 3 ½ minutes of the second half before Indiana fought back. Baskets by Verdell Jones, Daniel Moore and Maurice Creek tied the game at 43-43 with 13:39 remaining. The teams proceeded to exchange the lead five times over the next four minutes, culminating in a Watford free throw with 8:49 remaining that tied the game at 54-54,
From there, Maryland dominated on both ends of the floor. Indiana missed 11 of its final 14 shots, while Maryland made six of its eight shots during the same time span. That helped Maryland open a double-digit lead, and the Hoosiers never again threatened as Maryland made 10 of 12 free throws in the final two minutes.
"Their offense just ate us alive at the end," Watford said. "They just stuck with it, and eventually it just tore us up and broke us down."
On the court, the result left a sour taste in IU Coach Tom Crean's mouth because he believed it was a game that Indiana could win as it looks for the kind of defining victory that would suggest to outsiders that the program is turning around. But the Hoosiers' inability to slow Maryland on the defensive end prevented that from happening Tuesday.
"It was a very winnable game," Crean said. "Maybe I shouldn't say that, two years in, with all the freshmen and sophomores that we have, and with all the lack of experience we have…but it was a winnable game, but we didn't pressure the ball well enough, we didn't play physical enough, and we did not play tough enough on the defensive end."
The defensive lapses weren't the only thing that had Crean upset following the game. IU's coach was also angered in the game's final minute when a group of IU students directed a profane cheer in the direction of Maryland senior guard Greivis Vasquez, who led all scorers with 23 points. Indiana's coach called timeout with :32.5 remaining and attempted to get on the public address system to quiet the crowd, but he was told by the game officials that it was no longer permissible for a coach to get on the PA system.
Crean backed off, but he apologized to Williams during the post-game handshakes about the chant, and he made it abundantly clear at the start of his post-game press conference that he doesn't want that scenario to unfold again.
"I love our fans – I love our students," Crean said. "We come to the games, we cheer like crazy, we can be obnoxious, we can be nasty, we can cheer against the other team, but we never use vulgarity. We never use vulgarities against an opponent. That's not what happened at Indiana in the past, and it's certainly not going to happen on my watch."
The game clearly didn't end the way that Crean nor the players had hoped, and Indiana missed out on a chance to win a game that they clearly thought was winnable.
"That's the biggest disappointment for our whole team - it was a game that we definitely should have won," said Verdell Jones, who led Indiana with 10 rebounds but made only 3-of-15 shots on his way to a six-point night. "We have to learn that when we go up we have to step on their throats all the way. We went up (six), and there were so many opportunities we could have pushed it ahead."
Watford 5-10 5-7 16, Pritchard 1-2 0-0 2, Creek 6-14 4-4 19, Rivers 2-4 1-3 5, Jones 3-15 0-0 6, Hulls 1-4 2-2 5, Moore 1-1 0-1 2, Capobianco 0-0 0-0 0, Elston 2-10 1-3 5, Dumes 2-10 2-2 8, Jobe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-70 15-22 68.
Milbourne 8-11 2-2 19, Williams 2-7 1-5 5, Hayes 5-10 2-2 14, Mosley 5-9 3-4 13, Vasquez 4-14 13-14 23, Choi 0-0 1-2 1, Bowie 2-4 1-2 5, Padgett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-55 23-31 80.
3-Pointers: Indiana 7-26 (Creek 3-9, Dumes 2-6, Watford 1-2, Hulls 1-3Jones 0-4, Elston 0-2), Maryland 5-12 (Vasquez 2=5, Hayes 2-4, Milbourne 1-2, Mosley 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 43 (Jones 10), Maryland 41 (Williams 11). Assists: Indiana 13 (Jones 3), Maryland 15 (Vasquez 8). Turnovers: Indiana 16, Maryland 18. Blocks: Indiana 3 (Watford 2, Rivers), Maryland 6 (Milbourne 2, Williams 2, Vasquez, Padgett). Steals: Indiana 5, Maryland 8. Officials: Ed Hightower, Jimi Burr, Rick Hartezll. Attendance: 17,039.
No Defense - IU Falls To Terps in Challenge
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