Maryland 80, Indiana 68

by Rick Dimon | December 1st, 2009

Maryland went into Bloomington, Indiana on Tuesday night and pulled out a hard-fought 80-68 victory over the Hoosiers to put the ACC on the scoreboard of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The Terrapins trailed throughout the majority of the first half before earning a 35-33 advantage at the intermission. After a back-and-forth start to the second half, Maryland never trailed once it took a 55-54 lead with 8:40 remaining in the game.

Indiana was still within five at 63-58 with less than five minutes to play, but the host team was all but finished when Maryland ran off seven straight points to extend the lead to an insurmountable 70-58 margin.

Senior point guard Greivis Vasquez, the undisputed leader of this Terrapin team, scored a game-high 23 points despite going 4-for-14 from the floor. Vasquez converted 13 of 14 free throws and went 2-for-5 from three-point range. Landon Milbourne added 19 points and seven rebounds for Maryland.

Freshman guard Maurice Creek kept Indiana competitive throughout most of the game, scoring 19 points 6-of-14 shooting (3-of-9 on three-pointers). Freshman forward Christian Watford, who contributed 16 points, was the only other Hoosier in double-figures.

With the victory, Maryland improves to 5-2 in the early stages of its 2008-09 campaign. It was a crucial win for the Terrapins, who had dropped their first two contests against big-time competition following four unspectacular victories to begin the season. Gary Williams’ squad fell to both Cincinnati (69-57) and Wisconsin (78-69) at the Maui Invitational.

Maryland is coming off a season in which it was yet again on the bubble. The Terrapins sneaked in as a No. 10 seed and handled California 84-71 before getting blown out by Memphis 89-70. They are no lock for a dance ticket in 2010, but Tuesday night’s victory certainly keeps them in the early conversation.

Still in a transition period under second-year head coach Tom Crean, Indiana drops to 3-4 with the loss to Maryland. The Hoosiers’ trio of wins has come at the expense of unheralded opponents: Howard, USC Upstate, and Northwestern State. In addition to its ACC-Big Ten Challenge setback, Indiana has also dropped contests against Mississippi (89-71), Boston University (71-67), and George Mason (69-66).

Indiana compiled an unbelievably bad 6-25 record last season, including a dismal 1-18 against Big Ten competition (including a loss to Penn State in the first round of the conference tournament). Things should not be as bad this time around, but the Hoosiers appear to be at least a year away from NCAA Tournament contention.

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