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Top 25 men’s basketball notebook: No. 12 Indiana beats No. 14 Maryland to stay perfect at home

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(Kimberly P. Mitchell/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

(Kimberly P. Mitchell/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

No. 12 Indiana showed its dominance Sunday afternoon at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, dismantling No. 14 Maryland 80-62 en route to clinching the Big Ten regular season championship and an undefeated season at home (17-0) in the process.

Indiana (25-6, 15-3 Big Ten) senior guard Yogi Ferrell scored 17 points and proved why he was chosen as one of 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy point guard of the year award. Ferrell capped his regular season collegiate playing career in style on Senior Night, adding four assists and four rebounds to help the Hoosiers maintain their lead throughout the game.

Forward Troy Williams tallied 23 points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks to help secure the win alongside Ferrell.

The Hoosiers opened up a comfortable 41-28 at halftime before the Terrapins battled back on an 11-4 run to decrease Indiana’s lead to nine with six minutes, 55 seconds remaining.

That was the closest Maryland would come to a second half comeback however, as the Hoosiers regained momentum and expanded their lead back to double digits minutes later.

Indiana is riding a hot streak, having won six of its last seven games, all against high caliber opponents. The Hoosiers will try to keep their explosive offense and lock down defense producing in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament on Friday in which they have the top seed. Maryland (24-7, 12-6 Big Ten) has claimed the third seed, and will play in the quarterfinals as well on Friday.

No. 15 Purdue closes regular season with third straight win

With a convincing 90-81 win over Wisconsin (20-11, 12-6 Big Ten) Sunday, No. 15 Purdue (24-7, 12-6 Big Ten) tightened the conference standings and moved into a four-way tie for third place in the Big Ten to end the regular season.

Purdue freshman Caleb Swanigan played a major role in the win, tallying a career-high 27 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard P.J. Thompson posted a career-high 22 points as well, including five first-half 3-pointers.

The Boilermakers pushed their lead to 11 points in the opening two minutes of the second half and never surrendered the lead down the stretch.

Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes led the Badgers in a losing effort with 30 points and played nearly the entire game (38 minutes), but there was simply not enough support from his teammates to complete a comeback late in the game.

Purdue will look to continue its recent success in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament on Friday with the No. 4 seed, while Wisconsin will play in the second round on Thursday, holding onto the No. 6 seed.

Cincinnati upsets No. 24 SMU

While both teams struggled shooting the basketball Sunday, it was Cincinnati who topped No. 24 Southern Methodist at home Sunday night, winning 61-54 in a game crucial to its NCAA tournament aspirations.

The Bearcats (22-9, 12-6 American Athletic Conference) shot a mere 29.5 percent and sunk just 1-of-19 3-point attempts but found a way to squeak out a victory after coming off a tough loss just three days prior at Houston.

Troy Caupain turned in an all-around effort for Cincinnati with 14 points, five assists and five rebounds as one of two Bearcats to finish with double digit figure points.

Cincinnati, who is unranked, led by as much as 11 midway through the second half but converted on only one shot from the floor over the final 12 minutes, six seconds in regulation as its lead was cut to three with 1:55 left on the clock.

With the Mustangs forced to foul down the stretch, the Bearcats went 6-of-8 in the final two minutes from the free throw line to secure the upset victory.

Cincinnati’s chances of sneaking into the NCAA tournament come Selection Sunday appear to have greatly improved following the win, while SMU’s (25-5, 13-5 American Athletic) season has come to a disappointing end as a result of postseason ineligibility put in place by the NCAA. Multiple violations, including academic fraud and unethical conduct, were discovered earlier in the season, casting a shadow on the Mustangs record this year.

Cincinnati will take on Connecticut in the American Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals on Friday, as the Bearcats enter as the No. 4 seed.

Leo Stern can be reached at [email protected]

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