Indiana absolutely needed a win, and they got it. The Hoosiers knocked off Maryland 74-64 in Bloomington on Thursday evening to snap a five-game losing streak and keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
IU never trailed in the game, and in both halves they pulled out to ten point leads only to see Maryland claw back. Finally, after the Terps had pulled to within 53-50 with 9:53 left, Indiana went on an 18-6 run to put things out of reach.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers won with another edition of The Report Card.
IU (17-10, 8-9) will next travel to Minnesota for a 6 p.m. Eastern tip on Sunday evening in Minneapolis.
It would be easy to get too carried away with the numbers — because they were good. Very good. Indiana shot a season high 59.6 percent from the field including 23-of-34 (67.6 percent) from 2-point range. Indiana had an advantage in the frontcourt and they exploited it, with Race Thompson and Trayce Jackson-Davis combining to go 13-of-18 from the field.
Maryland doubled whenever Jackson-Davis caught the ball, and Thompson made them pay for single coverage.
“That’s our game plan a lot of the time. Go to me and Trayce,” Thompson said. “And then once, hopefully, we can get going, it opens up the court for everybody because then the defense starts crowding down on us.”
Indiana had 15 assists on the evening, with Xavier Johnson leading the way with six. He used high ball screens to get a step on his man and found Thompson and Jackson-Davis when he probed.
Maryland’s gameplan was to limit Johnson from getting into the lane by going under ball screens.
“Going into the ball game, we knew he was going to be able to get downhill and attack,” Maryland’s Danny Manning said. “So, for us to pick the poison was make him shoot threes and he made them tonight.”
Johnson was a perfect 3-of-3 from behind-the-arc to complement his efforts as a facilitator and scorer in the lane. His 7-of-7 day from the field of course isn’t reasonable to expect every game, meaning IU still needs to find ways to get others in the backcourt more involved.
For a while, Thompson and Johnson were enough. From the 17:47 mark of the second half to the 5:53 mark, Indiana made 13 straight shots, and the forward/guard duo made 10 of them.
For the game IU scored 1.13 points per possession, their best since a home win over Penn State and fifth best rate against a high major foe. Their 64.9 percent effective field goal rate was their best effort of the season. Indiana’s 10.5 percent offensive rebounding rate was a season low as the Hoosiers grabbed just two of their misses, and their 16.8 percent turnover rate was their highest since a road win at Nebraska on Jan. 17.
Maryland’s Fatts Russell was hitting shots that were just about impossible to defend. There were several of the tip your cap variety, and he had 23 points and made five 3-pointers. But the key for Indiana was that no one else really got going for the Terps. First and third leading scorers on the season Eric Ayala and Donta Scott combined to make just 4-of-18 shots including 1-of-11 threes. They scored just 13 points combined, less than half of their season average coming into the game.
The Hoosiers forced Maryland late into the shot clock on several possessions and a couple times forced shot clock turnovers. Indiana’s defense held Maryland to a 6:58 scoring drought in the first half from the 9:38 to the 2:40 mark of the first half, and there were multiple three-plus minute scoreless stretches for the Terrapins after the break.
Maryland came into the game with a propensity to get to the foul line, but they earned just 11 free throw attempts. Much of their offense was spent wandering aimlessly on the perimeter. The Terps had just seven assists on 23 field goals.
Indiana forced turnovers on 24.5 percent of Maryland’s possessions, their second best effort of the season (Northern Illinois). The Hoosiers forced Maryland to commit 16 turnovers and scored 22 points off them.
Maryland scored .979 points per possession and was IU’s first opponent since Northwestern to score less than one point per possession. That remains the only game they’ve lost when holding a team under one point per trip.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Final box score, highlights, keys to the game and specialty stats
- Woodson, Thompson and Johnson post-game
- Xavier Johnson nearly perfect as Hoosiers end five game skid
- Long form highlights:
Trayce Jackson-Davis (B) Foul trouble has been a trend for Jackson-Davis in league play, and IU gave up its biggest advantage — front court dominance — when he was on the bench. Beyond the fouls Jackson-Davis had a solid outing save for an air-balled free throw he’d no doubt like to forget.
Race Thompson (A-) In large part due to Jackson-Davis’ foul trouble, Thompson played 38 minutes and put together a solid effort. He made 9-of-12 shots and has scored in double figures for eight straight games. As is often the case, Thompson was overshadowed, but the redshirt senior big man was sturdy throughout.
Xavier Johnson (A) He’s hard to predict from game to game, but Indiana can play with anyone when Johnson is performing at this level. It wasn’t just his perfect 7-of-7 day from the field. Johnson read the defense and didn’t force the issue. Defensively he did struggle at times with Russell, something that was perhaps influenced in part by his own foul trouble.
Miller Kopp (B) Kopp delivered a solid game on both ends of the floor. Of note, all three of his field goals came from inside the 3-point line, something that is critical with defenses intent on taking away his 3-point shot. Kopp isn’t a great defender but he is giving high level effort on that end.
Parker Stewart (C-) The great news for Indiana is that they got Stewart free for six 3-point attempts. The bad news is that he made just one of them. He had just one rebound and no assists in 27 minutes.
Anthony Leal (B) Leal delivered a 3-pointer, an assist and a steal in 10 solid minutes. He could easily begin to start taking minutes from Stewart if he can consistently make threes, at least while Trey Galloway remains out.
Michael Durr (B) Durr had two rebounds and two assists in six minutes. He seemed to have his best energy of the season.
Tamar Bates (B-) Bates did a good job getting to the rim a few times. The problem right now is just an overall lack of efficiency, and Bates had two turnovers on this night. It’s all there, it is just a matter of Bates producing on a more consistent basis.
Jordan Geronimo (B) Geronimo has had multiple offensive rebounds on missed free throws, but none like his volleyball spike into the ground that bounced up and into the hoop. His turnover on a drive into the lane reminded that aspects of his offensive game are still raw.
Logan Duncomb played briefly. Rob Phinisee, Trey Galloway and Khristian Lander were out with injuries.
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