With how this season has played out in college basketball and in the Big Ten, no one can quite predict how good top teams will be from one day to the next, from the regular season to the conference tournament or the NCAA tournament. But if Indiana plays as well as it did Sunday in next week's Big Ten Tournament and in the ensuing NCAA tournament, then the Big Ten's regular-season champions will have as good a chance as any to cut down some nets.
The Hoosiers were unstoppable Sunday, blasting away from the visiting Maryland Terrapins — a top-20 team in their own right — in the middle of the first half and never looking back in an 80-62 win in Bloomington.
Indiana shot 51 percent from the field, knocked down eight 3-pointers and scored 20 points at the free-throw line in the win.
After Maryland started with the early energy, Indiana answered in a hurry. The Terps had a very early 10-2 lead and were up, 22-18, about midway through the first half. But that's when the Hoosiers took off, scoring the next 10 points to flip that four-point deficit into a six-point advantage. It was the start of a collective 23-6 run to finish off the first half, one that featured 3-pointers from Max Bielfeldt, Nick Zeisloft and Troy Williams, Williams' triple beating the buzzer and polishing off a smaller 9-0 burst to end the opening 20 minutes. All in all, the Hoosiers shot 55.6 percent from the field in the first half, going 6-for-12 from 3-point range. The Terps had no answer, scoring just six points and making just two baskets over the final 10 minutes and 45 seconds of the half.
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After halftime, Williams continued to make the scoreboard operator earn his money, scoring 10 points in the opening four minutes of the second half. Indiana's 13-point halftime lead bulged as big as 17 in the early stages of the second half. Maryland was able to whittle the margin down throughout the period, and the lead reached single digits when Jaylen Brantley hit a 3 with about seven minutes left. But back-to-back buckets by the Hoosiers sent the lead almost instantaneously back to double figures, and Indiana scored the game's final eight points over the last minute and a half of action to finish things with a game-high 18-point lead.
Williams scored a game-high 23 points, going 7-for-14 from the field and 8-for-10 from the free-throw line. Yogi Ferrell — who has started more games at Indiana than any other player in program history — scored 17 points on Senior Day. Zeisloft added nine points, and Thomas Bryant had eight.
Melo Trimble scored 17 points for Maryland, with Robert Carter adding 14 and Diamond Stone scoring 12.
Indiana will ride a five-game winning streak into next week's Big Ten Tournament, where it will be the No. 1 seed. The Hoosiers are 25-6 overall and 15-3 in conference play.
The Terps have dropped four of their last six and head into the conference tourney with an overall record of 24-7 and a league record of 12-6.