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Maryland Holds Off Valparaiso With Late Swipe

Maryland 65, Valparaiso 62

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Jared Nickens , Dez Wells, Evan Smotrycz, and Melo Trimble of the Maryland Terrapins during the second round of the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena March 20, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

    Dez Wells converted an offensive rebound into a three-point play with 1:44 left and Varun Ram stripped away Valparaiso's last chance as Maryland held off the determined Crusaders 65-62 Friday to move on in the NCAA Tournament.

    The fourth-seeded Terrapins (27-6), in the tournament for the first time since 2010, advanced to face West Virginia in Midwest Regional on Sunday.

    Alec Peters led 13th-seeded Valpo (28-6) with 18 points.

    The Crusaders were down 3 with one last chance for coach Bryce Drew to draw up a winning play. He didn't need a length of the court pass as he did when he made the most famous shot in school history back in the 1998 tournament, but Valpo did need a 3.

    Keith Carter went up for one in the corner, but Ram reached in and swiped the ball away -- maybe getting some of Carter's arm in the process.

    Wells finished with 14 points for the Terps, including that three-point play that made it 65-61. Melo Trimble had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Maryland, playing in its first NCAA Tournament under fourth-year coach Mark Turgeon.

    The Terrapins were expected to be middle of the pack in their first season in the Big Ten but instead finished second behind Wisconsin. They are now 11 wins better than last year.

    E. Victor Nickerson dropped in a 3 with 6:37 left to tie the game at 49 for Valpo and make Maryland call a timeout.

    The Terps got the lead back with a couple of free throws, and then Trimble snagged a Valpo pass in the paint, broke quickly the other way and found Damonte Dodd for a layup to put the Terps up 53-49 with 6:00 left.

    But the Terps could never put away the Crusaders, who shot 12 for 27 from 3-point range.

    Tevonn Walker, who scored 14 points, made one free throw for Valpo with 1:00 left to make it 65-62, but couldn't get their first NCAA Tournament win since Drew's buzz-beater against Mississippi sparked a surprising Sweet Sixteen run 17 years ago.

    Jared Nickens made four first-half 3-pointers to help Maryland to a 31-27 lead at the break. Three-point shooting and offensive rebounds kept Valpo close. The Crusaders were 7 for 15 from deep, including one right before the end of the half by Peters. Valpo was 3 for 19 from inside the arc, but the best rebounding team in the Horizon League had nine offensive rebounds.