COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Indiana played a messy game against Maryland.
The Hoosiers weren’t perfect during their five-game winning streak, only playing to their full potential on both ends, simultaneously, in spurts. But IU was finding ways to win games.
That was not the case Tuesday. The Hoosiers let Maryland be the aggressor for most of the game, and they just couldn’t get into a rhythm. And that saw their streak end, with Maryland pulling out a 66-55 win at Xfinity Center.
“We couldn’t make shots. Our perimeter play was non-existent tonight. And we haven’t had it like that in a while. We’ve just got to regroup,” IU head coach Mike Woodson said. “They shoot 30 percent, 20-something percent from the 3, you’ve got to think that you can win a game when that happens, and out-rebound them. We couldn’t find any offense.”
IU (15-7, 6-5 Big Ten) did shoot at higher clips than Maryland (15-7, 6-5). And the Hoosiers got another huge game from Trayce Jackson-Davis, who set an Xfinity Center record with his 20 rebounds and fought through frequent double-teams and triple-teams to score 18 points.
But nobody else could get going offensively. Jalen Hood-Schifino had one of his worst games of the season, shooting 1 for 14 for just three points with five rebounds, four assists, and four turnovers. IU’s main guards — Hood-Schifino, Tamar Bates, and Trey Galloway — combined to shoot 4 for 23.
Race Thompson finished in double-figures, and played his most minutes since returning from his knee injury. But, especially while still working his way back from the injury, he could only do so much against a Maryland defense set up to take away Indiana’s post game.
The Terps’ zone defense caused IU a lot of trouble. This isn’t the first time the Hoosiers have faced a zone, and it’s not the first time they had trouble with it. Indiana’s offense was completely disjointed when Jackson-Davis couldn’t escape the defensive pressure.
And it’s just difficult for a team to win when missing shots the way IU was.
“It’s the same 2-3 zone that we played against Iowa and scored almost 90 points against. We’ve just got to hit shots. Tonight, we weren’t hitting them,” Jackson-Davis said. “I think sometimes we were rushing it a little bit, coming off of screens, instead of making the one more pass, we were shooting contested jumpers. And then sometimes we had open shots, and we just weren’t shooting them.”
The biggest statistical disparity came at the foul line. The Terps attempted 29 free throws, with 25 made. IU got just 12 tries at the stripe, converting 10 of them.
Big Ten officiating is often a hot-button issue, and their calls were inconsistent Tuesday. That went both ways — several bad calls went in IU’s favor, too.
But the fouls stacked up quickly for the Hoosiers. Freshman Malik Reneau fouled out, Galloway finished with four, and Bates and Miller Kopp had three each. Indiana was already thinner on depth with Xavier Johnson not yet ready to return and Jordan Geronimo missing his second straight game. As crunch time approached, Woodson had no choice but to let some of his guys play through foul trouble.
The foul shot disparity wasn’t the only thing going wrong for Indiana. But Woodson made clear after the game that he thought his team deserved more calls.
“This team shoots a lot of free throws here at home, and it was obvious again tonight. And you look at the stat sheet, I see 29 to 12. Come on man,” Woodson said. “It’s two physical teams. It can’t be that lopsided.”
Jackson-Davis said the Hoosiers grabbed and held too much on defense, and let other teams get into the bonus too quickly.
Defensively, Indiana was pretty good in the second half, outside of the fouling. IU held Maryland to .967 points per possession in the second half, and the Terps shot just 34 percent from the field in the game.
But IU allowed far too many open looks from 3-point range in the first half. The Terps are bottom-50 in the country in 3-point percentage, and IU — whether because of defensive lapses or by design — left them open repeatedly. Maryland fired off 15 first-half 3-point attempts, with just four makes. Still, the Terps put up 1.233 points per possession in the first half, and IU’s offense was not close to picking up that slack.
Indiana has to tighten that up as Big Ten play rolls on. Indiana has plenty of teams remaining who are more lethal from beyond the arc, and those teams would pounce on these opportunities.
“No team is perfect. I still feel like even in this game, we had our chances. We were down by five or four with about four or five minutes left. And so it wasn’t like it was always out (of reach). But they brought their pressure, and they picked it up when they needed to,” Jackson-Davis said. “It was a fun game to play in, but the ball didn’t bounce our way.”
The Hoosiers have a tough stretch coming up. They host No. 1 Purdue on Saturday, and then two out of the next three games after that are against Rutgers and Northwestern, who have already beaten them. Indiana can’t afford to play messy games against those teams.
Like Maryland did, those opponents will make the Hoosiers pay for messy basketball.
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