No. 11 Xavier ousts No. 6 Maryland in first round of NCAA tournament

The No. 11 Xavier Musketeers overcame a halftime deficit to rattle off a 14-0 scoring run in the second period en route to a 76-65 victory over the No. 6 Maryland Terrapins.

Reminiscent of their early Big Ten Tournament exit at the hands of Northwestern, Maryland again failed to score a basket for long stretches throughout the second half, opening the floodgates for Northwestern to go on 7-0 and 14-0 runs.

Despite the prolific scoring sprees, Xavier had scoring droughts of their own. Droughts that surely Maryland — an experienced late-game team wielding superstar closer Melo Trimble (13 points, three assists and two rebounds) — could capitalize on.

But, to no avail.

The Musketeers stalled at 63 points for more than two minutes, but Maryland could only muster three points on a Kevin Huerter three pointer.

Huerter had 19 points, five assists and four rebounds, leading the team in the three major statistical marks.

With 4:56 left on the clock, Xavier’s J.P. Macura capitalized on an Anthony Cowan turnover, finishing a layup in transition. The Musketeers wouldn’t score again until the 2:21 mark. Again, the Terps managed just three points on an Ivan Bender tip-in and trip to the free throw line for Trimble.

Maryland had opportunities, but they couldn’t buy a bucket.

The Terps shot just over 40 percent from the floor and a woeful 25.9 percent from three, compared to 50 percent and 39.1 percent, respectively, for the Musketeers.

“Trevon Bluiett has scored on all three levels,” Trimble said on Wednesday, according to quotes released by the team.

The Xavier guard caught fire in the second half, contributing to his game-high 21 points. Bluiett also managed to connect on five of 10 three-point attempts.

Seeing as though Maryland’s leading rebounder was their 6-foot-7 freshman guard Huerter, who amassed just four boards, Xavier out rebounded Maryland 34-24.

Junior forward Sean O’Mara (18 points) led the Musketeers with seven rebounds.

Maryland won the turnover battle with 11 turnovers, while their counterparts turned the ball over 15 times. The Terps connected on 73.7 percent of their free throws; Xavier made just 70.8 percent.

The Musketeers will face the winner of the Florida State versus Florida Gulf Coast in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The Terps’ season is over, and the Maryland faithful will turn their attention to Trimble’s looming decision: to declare for the NBA draft, or to stay for his senior year.

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