Wells scores 22, No. 8 Maryland squeezes by Indiana 75-69
Mar. 14, 2015
CHICAGO (AP) — Maryland coach Mark Turgeon found himself reassessing his program around this time last year after a mediocre season.
It's safe to say, the Terrapins are in a better spot now.
Dez Wells scored 22 points, Melo Trimble added 17 and No. 8 Maryland won its first Big Ten Tournament game, beating Indiana 75-69 in the quarterfinals Friday night.
The Terrapins (27-5) got nine points from Wells in the final nine minutes and made enough defensive stops down the stretch to put away the Hoosiers (20-13). They shot 7 of 8 from the free-throw line in the final 39 seconds to seal it.
That gave the longtime ACC powers their eighth straight win and a spot in Saturday's semifinals against Michigan State.
"We're all focused," Wells said. "We've all bought in to what coach Turgeon wants from us this year. It's a special thing we have."
Yogi Ferrell led Indiana with 18 points. Troy Williams scored 17 and grabbed nine rebounds. But James Blackmon Jr. finished with just six points after scoring 25 the previous night, and the Hoosiers made just 7 of 31 shots in the second half to finish at 36 percent for the game. They went 6 minutes, 14 seconds without a field goal and missed nine consecutive shots before Max Hoetzel hit a meaningless 3-pointer with 4 seconds left.
Now, they will have to wait to find out if they're headed to the NCAA Tournament. Coach Tom Crean again stated his case, just as he did after Thursday's win over Northwestern.
"When you look at the body of work and factor things in — I really hope our league gets factored in," he said. "Obviously, there's a lot of really good teams in this league. What I'm encouraged about now (is) we're getting better."
The selection committee will decide if the Hoosiers make it.
The Terrapins are headed to the NCAAs for the first time in five years after making a strong transition from the ACC to the Big Ten. They set a school record for regular-season victories with 26 compared to 17 last season and put aside the transfers of five players last spring.
Now, they're one of the best teams in their new conference.
"This group has been phenomenal," Turgeon said. "They played with great poise tonight, and things weren't going well, but they knew they were going to win."
They sweated this one out until the end, though.
In a charged atmosphere, with fans from both sides trying to drown each other out, neither team would budge.
Maryland, which lost by 19 at Indiana in late January before winning by two at home last month to start this streak, was leading 62-55 with 7:23 remaining after Jared Nickens nailed a 3-pointer. That delighted a boisterous Terrapins contingent, but the Hoosiers did not go away quietly.
Indiana was within 64-62 when Evan Smotrycz hit two free throws for Maryland. Two more foul shots by Wells after a defensive stop made it 68-62 with 1:18 remaining.
Ferrell answered with two free throws for Indiana, Jake Layman missed the front end of a one for Maryland, and the Hoosiers' Robert Johnson hit two more foul shots to make it 68-66 with 39 seconds left.
Indiana immediately fouled Smotrycz, who buried two more pressure-filled free throws to make it a four-point game, and the Terrapins made two more defensive stops to clinch the victory.
HE SAID IT
Williams on his chat with Crean after the game: "Coach Crean is just like another father figure to me, away from my family. I see him as a mentor, as a father, not only as a coach or a friend. We were having a father-son conversation."
Indiana: Hanner Mosquera-Perea was in uniform, but did not play after getting helped off the court the previous night. He crashed to the floor and came up clutching his right knee, which already had a brace, as he tried to score midway through the second half. Crean said the injury was not serious and doesn't think it will "last very long at all," although he did not think Mosquera-Perea would have been ready to play Saturday.
Maryland: The Terrapins' most recent conference tournament championship was in 2004, when it won the ACC.
Indiana: Postseason to be determined.
Maryland: Meets the Ohio State-Michigan State winner in the semifinals Saturday.