Just when everything appeared to be looking up, IU suffered a devastating home loss.
After rallying from a 14 point first half deficit, the Hoosiers let a seven point lead of their own slip away in the final two minutes of the game.
A 77-76 loss to Maryland at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington on Sunday could come back to haunt Indiana if things get tight when it comes to choosing the field for the NCAA Tournament.
Now the mental toughness of this team will be tested. The Big Ten schedule does not let up of course, and IU will head back out on the road next week for two games.
Indiana (15-5, 5-4) travels to Penn State next to face the Nittany Lions at 8:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Neither team could miss to start the game, but Maryland’s pace was blistering as the Terps ran out to a 38-24 lead and would take a 45-36 advantage into the break.
The Hoosiers opened the second half on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 45-43, which extended their run from the first half to 12-2 and a junior guard Aljami Durham 3-pointer with 17:57 remaining in the game triggered a Maryland timeout.
Indiana took their first lead of the game at the 16:23 mark on a redshirt junior forward Joey Brunk layup, 47-46.
Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis hit a jumper with 11:44 remaining in the game to extend the Hoosier lead to 60-52 and force a Maryland timeout.
Indiana was on a 36-14 run at this point over a 15 minute span from their largest deficit, and they retained a 74-67 advantage with 2:37 left.
And then it all fell apart as Maryland went on a 10-2 run to close things out. The Terrapins hit two three-pointers, and sophomore forward Jalen Smith got two more baskets at the rim while IU struggled with Maryland’s full court pressure. It was difficult to process why IU had three forwards on the floor at that point in the game.
Indiana head coach Archie Miller attempted to sum up the disappointment in the locker room.
“Really tough loss,” Miller said. “I mean, one of the tougher losses I think you could probably imagine a locker room setting having for our group.”
Playing against one of the Big Ten’s top defenses, this was probably Indiana’s best offensive performance of the season.
Indiana had a season-high 22 assists on 30 made field goals, along with a season low 6 turnovers.
“When our offense plays the way it did tonight in the sharing of the ball, the ball movement, to score 76 points and have 22 assists and only 6 turnovers at home and lose, it’s a little bit befuddling,” Miller said.
One possible explanation for why Indiana still lost despite the strong offensive numbers was the fact that the Hoosiers did not get to the foul line.
“Our inability to get to the line against Maryland is another thing that’s really perplexing for our team,” Miller said. “We’re a good team around the basket. We find a way to get fouled quite a bit. We shot 10 free throws here. So the free-throw line was a little disappointing not being able to get there more.”
The Hoosiers came into the game No. 2 in the country with 25.7 free throw attempts per contest.
IU scored in the first half via the three-point shot, making 6-of-9 from deep, but in the second half the Hoosiers got back to their inside-out identity.
“I thought in the second half we did a much better job of establishing offense, inside-out,” Miller said.
IU outscored Maryland in the paint 26-14 in the second half.
Indiana tied its season high of three-pointers made with 9 on 19 attempts (47.4 percent).
The Hoosiers’ nine offensive rebounds were tied for the third lowest total of the season.
An early decision to put Joey Brunk on Maryland’s Smith helped put IU in that early hole. Smith made three first half three-pointers as Brunk struggled to close-out on the perimeter.
“We moved, to start the second half, Joey off of Jalen and moved Trayce onto him, Miller said.
“We wanted a more mobile guy in the ball screen to not get as stretched, maybe a better cover on the three line, because they weren’t setting as many ball screens obviously with (Donta) Scott.”
As a team Maryland was 9-of-17 from three-point range in the first half before cooling off a bit until the game’s final two minutes. The Terps made only one second half three-pointer until they made two of them in their closing run.
“At some point you hope the water sort of gets a little bit level,” Miller said. “I mean, they started the game basically making their first four. They may have made at least six out of their first eight three-pointers.
“But they missed — they didn’t get as many clean ones off dribble drives (in the second half). We tried to make them earn some more twos, and then we started to get some defensive rebounding.”
Maryland only shot 40 percent in the second half and IU outrebounded the Terps 22-13 after the break.
But as much as IU improved, things seemed to revert back to the first half form in the final minutes.
Miller spoke about the late game defensive breakdowns.
“We had two major breakdowns, three major breakdowns defensively guarding Cowan on a three-point shot when we already had a stop and a lead,” he said. “I think Jalen Smith, you know, at the end of the game on his last ball screen, you’re relying on communication all game long on ball screens, and on the last one, we’re indecisive on what we’re doing. He rolls through the basket uncontested. So that’s on us.”
For the game Maryland shot 48.2 percent from the field overall including 12-of-29 (41.4 percent) from three. The Terps had 14 assists and Indiana forced just 5 turnovers. Indiana had no steals for the game.
OTHER GAME COVERAGE
- Final box score and specialty stats
- Archie Miller and IU players post-game
- Mark Turgeon post-game comments
(players with meaningful minutes)
- Joey Brunk* (C+) It isn’t fair to blame Brunk for trying to guard Jalen Smith. That one goes on the coaching staff. But Brunk struggled from the field and wasn’t a big factor on the glass.
- Justin Smith* (B-) Smith was strong on the glass but missed several shots around the basket. Like everyone, there were highs and lows on the defensive end.
- Trayce Jackson-Davis* (B) After some early Big Ten struggles, Jackson-Davis is playing at a high level for a true freshman against tough competition. He continues to be a good passer out of the post. He struggled with Smith’s length at times.
- Al Durham* (B) Only played 21 minutes despite starting as Durham struggled on the defensive end against Maryland’s bigger guards. Played a clean game offensively, but Indiana needs more scoring production.
- Rob Phinisee* (B+) Hit some big early threes to keep IU afloat, and facilitated the offense with 7 assists. He struggled at times to stay in front of the lightning quick Cowan.
- Devonte Green (B+) The highs and lows of Devonte. Green gave IU a big boost off the bench and led the Hoosiers in scoring. Can he find consistency in his final games as a Hoosier?
- Jerome Hunter (B+) Hunter’s sudden emergence from behind the three-point line can give this offense a completely different look with a true wing. His turnover late soured an otherwise impressive day.
- Armaan Franklin (B) Franklin continues to look like a player whose confidence is growing over the course of a season. He made some big first half shots.
- De’Ron Davis (B) Davis was great passing out of the post. He did a decent job at times on Smith but had a costly foul on a three-point shot.
- Damezi Anderson also appeared in the game briefly.
– The following recruits were noted at the game: AJ Braun, Pierce Thomas, Aminu Mohammed, Payton Sparks, Logan Duncomb, Shawn Phillips, and Brayden Sipple.
– Redshirt sophomore Race Thompson was not uniform for the game after suffering an injury against Michigan State.
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