COLLEGE PARK — After Monday’s mid-day practice, Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon expressed the need to suppress Indiana’s run-and-gun style, while bringing iron-fist-like physicality for Tuesday night’s primetime matinee.
Though passing their first true road test with no blemishes, picking up a 77-70 win at Michigan on Saturday, the “slap in the face” Nebraska dealt Maryland on New Year’s day still lingered; when the Terrapins squandered a double-digit lead in the final four minutes to lose 67-65.
On Tuesday night, Maryland followed Turgeon’s blueprint and executed down the stretch to put away Indiana with the world watching them on ESPN, 75-72.
Junior guard Melo Trimble led Maryland (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) in the stat book with 18 points (8-for-10 from the free throw line) on a pedestrian 5 of 16 shooting and three assists. But no greater sequence and put-away energy topped Kevin Huerter’s two-play swing to lift Maryland out of a two-point deficit and into a three-point lead with less than two minutes remaining.
Trailing 70-68, Huerter, as poised as they come in college basketball’s Class of 2020, spotted up on the left wing, received a swing pass from fellow freshman Anthony Cowan and drilled the go-ahead 3 without hesitation to buzz the Xfinity Center crowd. Thirty seconds later, Huerter hauled in the rebound and frozen-roped an outlet pass to a wide-open Anthony Cowan in transition, who then finished the lay-in that gave Maryland a 73-70 lead with 1:13 remaining.
The flashy sequence fueled the energy required to put away Indiana, a team ranked No. 3 in the AP poll not too long ago. Hoosiers’ O.G. Anundoby hammered a thunderous dunk to bring Indiana within one with eight seconds to go, 73-72, but Trimble’s two free throws and a last second defensive stand was all the Terrapins needed.
Maryland hunkered down and held Indiana, a team that excels in transition and on the offensive glass, to five fast-break points and outscored them on second chance points, 15-11.
The three freshman, Cowan (15 points on 6 of 9 shooting), Huerter (11 points and seven rebounds) and Jackson (11 points), combined for Maryland’s 34 of 75 points.
Maryland held their largest lead at seven, 21-14, after a 9-2 run with just under nine to minutes to play in the first half. Indiana had their largest lead at five, twice, at the 12:09 mark (55-50) in the second and with 9:57 to go (60-55).
Damonte Dodd, tasked with a tall order of defending blue chip center Thomas Bryant because Michal Cekovsky is sidelined with a foot injury, blocked six shots inside and capped Bryant to six points on 2-for-8 shooting. On Indiana’s second to last possession, Dodd dislodged the ball from Bryant’s grasp and forced one of his two turnovers with 40 seconds to go.
Indiana guard James Blackmon registered a game-high 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting.
Maryland shot 43.9 percent (25 of 57) while Indiana shot 42.2 percent (27 of 64) overall and 43.5 percent from behind the arc (10 of 23).
Maryland travels to Illinois on Saturday, January 14, a team they’ve beaten already, 84-59, on Dec. 27.