Maryland 82, Valparaiso 60
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Fifth-ranked Maryland, playing with the business-like attitude of a Final Four contender, wore down overmatched Valparaiso and advanced to the second round of the NCAA South Regional with an 82-60 victory Thursday.
Laron Profit and Terence Morris each scored 18 points and Steve Francis had 15 points and seven assists for the second-seeded Terrapins (27-5), who looked like a team with everything it takes to win it all.
Valpo (23-9), last year’s tournament darlings, simply didn’t enough speed or muscle to keep up with a bigger, stronger opponent. Zoran Viskovic led the Mid-Continent Conference champions with 14 points.
Maryland, playing in a school-record sixth straight NCAA tournament under coach Gary Williams, tied its mark for victories in a season set 27 years ago.
A year ago, Valpo stunned Mississippi 70-69 in the first round on Bryce Drew’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer and advanced to the round of 16 before losing to Rhode Island.
But there would be no repeat for the Crusaders this time. A 9-0 run in the closing minutes of the first half built Maryland’s lead to 12 and the Terrapins were never seriously threatened after that.
Valpo trimmed a 10-point halftime deficit to 50-44 before Francis and Juan Dixon hit 3-pointers during a 10-0 burst that put Maryland in control again. Another 10-0 spurt increased the lead 71-49 with seven minutes to go.
Morris scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half. He also finished with 10 rebounds.