IU wows Maryland in tourney opener

IU wows Maryland in tourney opener

By Bob Hammel, Sunday Herald-Times

March 15, 1981

From the March 15, 1981 Bloomington Sunday Herald-Times

DAYTON, Ohio – Dayton Arena was still reverberating with shock waves from the St. Joseph’s elimination of No. 1-ranked DePaul late Saturday afternoon when Maryland threatened a new tremor. In two fast-paced minutes, the terribly named Terrapins bolted to an 8-0 lead over Indiana’s Big Ten champions.

“I was kinda surprised,” IU guard Isiah Thomas admitted.

Thomas and the Hoosiers dealt out the rest of the afternoon’s surprises, taking the Terps apart with superb play at both ends of the court in a 99-64 rout.

The victory brought the Hoosiers back to Assembly Hall for NCAA Mideast Regional play Friday night. They’ll meet the winner of today’s game at Tuscaloosa, Ala., between Kentucky and Alabama-Birmingham. St. Joseph’s also will learn its Friday opponent today, when Boston College plays Wake Forest at Tuscaloosa.

Indiana’s sixth straight victory was “a continuation of some pretty good play,” reviewer Bob Knight said.

“We just got our fannies beat,” Maryland coach Lefty Driesell put it.

“They played great. They dominated us on the boards. They dominated us on defense. If they’d been playing the 76ers today, they’d have beaten the 76ers.”

Among the surprises the Hoosiers dealt out to Maryland were some medium range jump shots by Ray Tolbert and Landon Turner, the big-man combination that suddenly clicked in IU’s stretch run to the Big Ten title. “From the films we saw the scouting reports, their big men don’t shoot out there,” said Maryland’s all-American forward, Albert King. “It was very surprising.”

Frequently, the same two were shooting from above the rim, freed from most of their eight dunks by a running game that wasn’t supposed to be there, either, according to Maryland’s intelligence reports. “We thought they’d slow it down and run if they had a chance to,” King said. “We didn’t think they’d run that much.”

Tolbert had his IU high with 26 points, including five of the dunks. Turner scored 20 points, and the two combined to hit 19 of 26 shots.

Thomas shot even better (9-for-11) and passed better yet. His 14 assists tied the recognized IU record (Quinn Buckner, vs. Illinois, 1974, and Bobby Wilkerson, vs. Michigan, 1976). “He played a super game, said Driesell, who found agreement from the NBC-TV selectors who made Thomas their player of the game.

The Hoosiers’ .651 shooting and the 99 points were Indiana records for NCAA tournament play.

Neither mark seemed likely when Maryland’s screeching start contrasted with a cough and a sputter as IU tried to move out.

The Hoosiers opened the game with a turnover, then four different players missed shots before Turner ended thought of a shutout by laying in a rebound shot.

The Indiana offense hummed, once it got in gear. Until it did, Maryland learned that IU’s defensive reputation isn’t all talk.

Three times in the first six minutes, Maryland lost the ball on offensive fouls.

“We probably just forced our offense a little, ” Driesell said. “They play great defense.”

Two of the fouls went against 6-foot-8 center Buck Williams, the quick and strong hub of Terp happenings on both offense and defense.

Williams was matched against Tolbert at IU’s end, and the fouls plus the scouting information led him to back off and watch as Tolbert – surprised but delighted – went for a 15-foot jump shot that gave IU its first lead, 14-13.

Next time downcourt, Tolbert ran to the same region, recognized the same passivity and shouted “Isiah! Isiah!” A pass came, Tolbert went up again, and IU led 16-13.

Maryland’s Greg Manning tried to get the Terrapins going again with a long-range jump shot, but Thomas blocked it, then scooted downcourt to set up Tolbert for the first fast-break dunk and push Driesell to a time out.

He didn’t find any answers in the huddle. Indiana was in another of the nirvana stretches that have been habitual of late.

For 16 minutes, the Hoosiers played without a turnover, shot .710 (22-for-30) and outscored Maryland, 46-26, in exploding away to a 50-34 halftime lead.

In Knight’s view, things got better later. Maryland started the second half almost as quickly as the first, cutting the lead to 54-42 and whipping up somenewfound hope within the optomistiv Driesell.

“I thought when we got it back to 12, we were going to get back in it,” he said.

But Ted Kitchel hit from the side, Thomas beat the Maryland defense downcourt with a quick-break jump shot, Kitchel worked loose for a 3-point play, Thomas supplied Tolbert with another dunk and the Hoosiers were out of sight again, 63-42. The lead reached 69-42 before the 31/2-minute Indiana point run ended at 15.

“That was maybe the most important period for us,” Knight said. “We were able to reassert ourselves.

More than 14 minutes remained, but all doubt was gone. Randy Wittman was the first of all the Hoosier startersto be pulled, with 6:14 to go. Thomas left to a standing ovation with 3:18 remaining, and the other starters followed seconds later.

All five reached double figures, Thomas totaling 19, Kitchel 13, and Wittman 10. King fired 28 times to get his 10 field goals and 22 points in leading Maryland (21-10), while Williams had 16 points and Ernest Graham 14.

MARYLAND 64
M FG FT R A BS ST PF TP
King, f 30 10-28 2-4 4 2 0 0 4 22
Graham, f 30 7-18 0-0 10 3 0 1 4 14
Williams, c 39 7-9 2-2 10 1 0 0 4 16
Jackson, g 24 0-2 0-0 0 1 0 0 3 0
Manning, g 37 3-8 0-0 0 2 0 0 3 6
Pittman 23 3-3 0-0 6 0 0 0 0 6
Rivers 8 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Morley 9 0-1 0-0 1 4 0 1 2 0
Team 2
Totals 30-69 4-6 33 14 0 2 20 64
INDIANA 99
M FG FT R A BS ST PF TP
Turner, f 38 9-13 2-2 7 2 1 2 2 20
Kitchel, f 30 5-11 3-3 6 2 0 0 3 13
Tolbert, c 38 10-13 6-6 8 1 4 1 1 26
Wittman, g 34 4-9 2-2 2 4 0 2 0 10
I. Thomas, g 35 9-11 1-2 4 14 1 0 2 19
J. Thomas 6 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Risley 8 2-3 1-3 3 0 0 0 1 5
Brown 3 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Isenbarger 2 2-2 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 4
Bouchie 2 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Grunwald 1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Franz 2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0
LaFave 1 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Team 0
Totals 41-63 17-20 33 25 6 5 9 99
SCORE BY HALVES
Maryland 34 30 – 64
Indiana 50 49 – 99
Errors – Maryland 16, Indiana 9.
Technical foul – Tolbert (grabbing rim).
SHOOTING
FG Pct. FT Pct.
Maryland 30-69 0.435 4-6 0.667
Indiana 41-63 0.651 17-20 0.85
Officials – Hank Nichols, George Solomon and Willis McJunkin
Attendance – 13,458 (sellout).