It had been a long time since Maryland played well in the first half, opened a large lead and cruised to an easy victory.
All that happened in a 75-59 rout of Indiana on Saturday. Best of all, for the first time in weeks, the Terrapins had a blast on the basketball court.
Jalen Smith scored 19 points, Aaron Wiggins and Anthony Cowan Jr. had 13 apiece and No. 15 Maryland returned to form against the cold-shooting Hoosiers.
Darryl Morsell scored 12 for the Terrapins (12-2, 2-1 Big Ten), who climbed to No. 3 in mid-December before losing successive games to Penn State and Seton Hall. An unimpressive win over Bryant followed on Dec. 29, but Maryland opened the New Year in dominant fashion against the Hoosiers (11-3, 1-2).
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “That’s the best we’ve played in a while.”
The Terrapins turned a three-point game into a blowout with second-half runs of 8-0, 11-0 and 12-0.
It was flashback to a happier time, when the Terrapins opened with 10 straight wins. Then things got messy.
“The bottom line is, it’s been tough. There’s been a lot on our plate,” Turgeon said. “We were ranked really high. I’m not sure we were ready for it, I’m not sure we deserved it. I don’t think we were having any fun.
“[Saturday], the guys had fun. You saw them smiling, you saw guys playing more relaxed as the game went on. So, a lot of positives moving forward.”
Indiana trailed 71-41 with 3:44 left before using a late surge to avoid its lowest point total of the season. Still, it marked the fifth time in six games the Hoosiers scored 64 points or fewer.
“The ball is not going in the basket, whether it’s a layup, whether it’s a free throw or whether it’s a wide-open shot,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “At some point, you have to be able to put it in the basket.”
Devonte Green scored 18 for the Hoosiers, with most of those points coming in the final meaningless minutes. Indiana 6-foot-11 center Joey Brunk had nine points and 10 rebounds, but the Hoosiers could not supplement his inside play with jumpers from the outside.
Indiana went 4 for 18 beyond the arc, missing 12 of its initial 13 attempts, and shot only 36 percent from the floor.
“We got some good looks. We got some point-blank stuff around the basket in both halves,” Miller said. “We needed them to go down. They didn’t. We’ve got to find a way to knock those in as we move forward.”
NOTRE DAME 88, SYRACUSE 87
John Mooney matched his career high with 28 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, Prentiss Hubb had 22 points and Notre Dame held off Syracuse.
Notre Dame (10-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) won its second straight in the Carrier Dome for the first time since the Irish won on their first three visits — in 1986, 1990 and 1992. Syracuse (8-6, 1-2) saw its three-game winning streak end.
T.J. Gibbs, who matched Hubb with six 3-pointers, finished with 21 points.
Buddy Boeheim led Syracuse with 23 points, Joe Girard had 20 and Elijah Hughes 19. Marek Dolezaj had 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
VALPARAISO 81, EVANSVILLE 70, OT
Javon Freeman-Liberty scored eight points in the closing minutes of regulation and added four more in overtime to spark Valparaiso to an 81-70 win over Evansville on Saturday night.
The Crusaders came from 10 points down to pick up their first win at Evansville since 1969.
Freeman-Liberty, who finished with 25 points, scored at the basket with 1:04 left in regulation, but Valpo missed two opportunites in the last minute to win the game in regulation.
DeAndre Williams dunked and hit a 3-pointer in the final minute of overtime to keep the Purple Aces close.
Freeman-Liberty was 3 of 8 from distance and 6 for 6 from the line for Valpo (8-7, 1-1 Missouri Valley Conference). Eron Gordon and Ben Krikke added 11 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench and Donovan Clay added 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Williams was 11 of 13 from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 from distance to lead Evansville (9-6, 0-2) with 28 points. Artur Labinowicz added 16 points, Sam Cunliffe 15 and K.J. Riley contributed 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
DRAKE 80, INDIANA STATE 76
D.J. Wilkins and Roman Penn scored 16 points apiece as Drake extended its home winning streak to eight games, narrowly beating Indiana State.
Liam Robbins added 15 points and Jonah Jackson added 12 while Penn had six assists and Robbins posted six blocks for the Bulldogs Drake (11-4, 1-1 Missouri Valley Conference).
Indiana State put up 41 first-half points, a season high for the team.
Jake LaRavia scored a season-high 21 points for the Sycamores (8-5, 1-1), whose eight-game win streak was broken. Tyreke Key added 19 points and eight rebounds and Jordan Barnes had 15 points.