COLLEGE PARK, Md. — 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.
“Today, 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.”
After Indiana cut an 11-point deficit to 36-33, Terps freshman Donta Scott hit a jumper, Cowan and Eric Ayala followed with layups and Cowan capped the 8-0 surge with two free throws.
Minutes later, Cowan drilled a 3-pointer and blocked a shot on the other end to set up a layup by Smith. Scott then turned an Indiana turnover into a fast-break dunk and Wiggins made two layups to cap the 11-0 run and make it 57-38 with 8 minutes to go.
“We just locked in,” Morsell said. “We limited them to one shot. We got out and ran, and we made great decisions on the break.”
The Terrapins got nine points from Morsell and eight from Smith in taking a 28-20 halftime lead.
Maryland missed 12 of its first 15 shots and trailed 16-11 before rattling off 11 straight points to take control. Indiana made only one basket over the final nine minutes of its lowest scoring half of the season.
The Terrapins should be headed back up in the AP poll after this impressive blowout. “Moving forward, it’s a confidence builder because we know we’re capable of it,” Morsell said.
The Terrapins are 4-0 against Indiana at home since joining the Big Ten in 2014-15. Maryland trails the series 7-8 but won the most significant match-up, beating the Hoosiers 64-52 in the 2002 NCAA title game.
Indiana: Hosts Northwestern on Wednesday night, a series the Hoosiers lead 91-27.
Maryland: Hosts No. 5 Ohio State on Tuesday night. The Buckeyes have dropped two in a row following an 11-1 start.