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03/19/2013 10:04 PM EDT
Maryland beats Niagara 86-70 in NIT opener
MARYLAND 86, NIAGARA 70

By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Nick Faust had 15 points and 11
rebounds, and Maryland used a strong second half to defeat
Niagara 86-70 Tuesday night in the opening round of the NIT.



Tied at halftime, the Terrapins (23-12) used a 21-2 run to take
a 56-38 lead before coasting to the finish. Second-seed Maryland
next hosts the winner of the Ohio-Denver game, held late
Tuesday.



The Terrapins would have preferred their first postseason
appearance since 2010 be in the NCAA tournament, but that
doesn't mean they're not motivated to win the NIT.



"Our approach has been great. If we didn't show up tonight we
would have lost," coach Mark Turgeon said. "Our play in the
second half shows you that we're pretty determined to get better
and move on."



After sinking a free throw to begin the second half, Niagara
missed nine straight field goal tries and went 1 for 16 from the
floor while Maryland got seven points from Seth Allen and five
from Faust during scoring sprees of 12-0 and 9-0.



"I think the difference in the second half is that we came out
with a lot more energy and got a lot of stops defensively,"
Allen said. "We start running in transition, and that really
helped us."



Five Terrapins scored in double figures, including Allen and
Logan Aronhalt with 15 apiece.



"A lot of teams aren't fortunate enough to play in the
postseason, so we just look at this as a good experience," Allen
said.



Maryland next plays on Thursday, and Turgeon has a feeling the
players can't wait.



"We're determined on just becoming a better basketball team," he
said. "We've got guys growing up, finally. They realize how hard
you have to work. They've had success and they feel good about
it. Has our program turned a corner? Yeah, I think it has."



Antoine Mason led Niagara (19-14) with 24 points and Ameen
Tanksley had 18. The Purple Eagles led 29-23 before halftime,
but Maryland used a 10-0 run to help forge a 35-35 tie at
halftime.



"I thought we had these guys back on their heels a little bit. I
thought we had a chance in the first half," Niagara coach Joe
Mihalich said. "Then it was dunk, layup, dunk, tie game. And
that was just what they needed to remind them how good they are,
that they beat Duke twice. They got a little of that mojo
going."



Maryland's depth was also a factor. The Terrapins got 42 points
from their bench.



"We wore them down," Turgeon said.



The game drew a crowd of 4,053, a season-low at Maryland.

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