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Smith scores 19 to lead No. 15 Maryland past Indiana 75-59

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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.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

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.

RUDE HOSTS

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.

UP NEXT

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.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.