No. 17 Maryland showed Tuesday it could win in the Big Ten away from College Park, rallying from 14 points down at halftime to beat Northwestern for its first true road win of the season.
The task will get tougher when the Terrapins (15-4, 5-3 Big Ten) play at Indiana on Sunday.
Maryland knocked off Indiana 75-59 at home on Jan. 4, a game in which the Terrapins led by as many as 30 points in the second half. However, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon is concerned about the challenge the Hoosiers will present on their home court, where they are 12-1 this season.
“It’s a totally different game for us because it’s at their place,” Turgeon said. “They’re really good in that building. They’re playing really well since we’ve played them. They’ve won four out of five, so they are a very talented team, deep team. … It’s a different animal going on the road.”
At Northwestern on Tuesday, Maryland rallied from down 40-26 at halftime to pull off a 77-66 win. Junior forward Jalen Smith scored a career-high 25 points to spark the comeback.
“We have gotten a little bit tougher physically and mentally,” Turgeon said. “Our guys believe they can come back, and that’s important …
“It’s really about playing better and growing as a team. We’re learning, we’ve had to do things differently in a positive way since Christmas with our offense, and it’s coming together. I just want my guys to play with confidence, that’s my whole deal, home, away, on the moon, I don’t care. Just play with confidence, have fun.”
Indiana (15-4, 5-3 Big Ten) pulled out a 67-63 home win over No. 11 Michigan State on Thursday night. The Hoosiers scored on three of their final four possessions, with junior guard Al Durham hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer to break a 60-60 tie with 1:51 remaining and junior forward Joey Brunk adding a put-back basket to put Indiana up 65-62 with one minute left.
“We have a lot of belief in each other and belief in what we’re doing since we’ve been here this summer,” Brunk said. “We weren’t going to quit fighting.”
The 6-foot-11 Brunk, a graduate transfer from Butler, has been one of the catalysts to the Hoosiers’ strong start in conference play. He is averaging 10.2 points and eight rebounds over his past six games.
“For a first-year player in our system, learning what’s going on with new players — he’s improved as much as any player I’ve been around from month to month,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said.
Indiana will try to find ways to score against one of the tougher defensive teams in the Big Ten. Maryland ranks third in the conference in scoring defense (61 points allowed per game) and fourth in field-goal-percentage defense (.381). But Turgeon wasn’t happy with how Maryland defended in giving up 40 first-half points against Northwestern.
“For us to be better on the road, we have to be much better defensively,” Turgeon said.
–Field Level Media