Indiana let one slip away on Sunday afternoon in Bloomington.
With 2:37 remaining at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, IU took a 74-67 lead over the visiting Maryland Terrapins after a Jerome Hunter free-throw. The Hoosiers appeared to be on their way to a sixth straight win over a ranked opponent at home.
But it wasn’t to be.
The Terrapins proceeded to end the game on a 10-2 run to stun the home crowd and capture a 77-76 road victory.
“I think the last 3:32 of the game, the last media segment as we came out, that’s when you’ve got to be really, really tough minded,” Indiana head coach Archie Miller said. “That’s when you’ve got to really execute. That’s when you’ve got to know time and score. That’s when your communication has got to be at its finest.”
Coming into today, the Hoosiers had been successful in finding ways to come out victorious in tightly contested games, having a perfect 4-0 record in games decided by five points or less.
The way the first half went, the fact that IU had a chance to come away with a win at all was somewhat surprising.
Maryland led by as many as 14 points before the break behind a highly efficient offense.
The Terps shot 17-for-31, or 54.8 percent, from the field including 9-for-17, or 52.9 percent, from distance to take a 45-36 lead into the locker room.
Penetration by the Terrapins guards allowed good looks from both inside and on the perimeter for sophomore forward Jalen Smith.
Coming in averaging 14.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, Smith almost had his averages by halftime. The 6-foot-10 Smith finished the game with 29 points and 11 rebounds and made 4-of-6 shots from behind the arc.
“I thought Jalen Smith was obviously a huge difference in the game on the offensive glass, his ability to shoot threes,” Miller said. “And Anthony Cowan was really, really good in the game as well, very difficult cover, as quick as they come.”
On a day when Indiana’s defense struggled in the opening period, it was their own offensive production that kept them within striking distance. IU shot 13-for-25, or 52 percent in the first half, while also hitting 6-for-9, or 66.7 percent, from three.
The Hoosiers opened the second half on a big run, scoring on their first 11 possessions. With their defense clamped down, IU went on a 24-7 run to take a 60-52 lead with just under 12 minutes remaining.
“They made a run, we couldn’t guard them,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. “In about the first 32 minutes they made a lot of shots. Their post-up game was terrific. We had no answer.”
IU went back to their bread-and-butter on offense after the break as they fed the the ball inside. In the first half, Indiana only had 10 points in the paint compared to 26 in the second half.
But the Terrapins did not give in.
After falling behind by seven late, Maryland had a stretch that saw two three-pointers go down. One was made by senior guard Cowan while the other was courtesy of sophomore guard Aaron Wiggins.
A turnover by Jerome Hunter contributed to the late collapse.
“That’s a first year player in Jerome, who’s never in that situation, where he’s just got to be strong with the ball, either bring it across half-court and tuck it, or he’s just got to chin the ball and be strong with it,” Miller said. “You’re in a minute-some situation there. I just talked to him a little bit about it.
“It’s one of those things as a player you’ve got to go through, but to be able to throw it ahead to your big guy down the floor, it’s about time and scoring in that situation, and that’s part of getting better and learning. Not that that one play was the name of the game. It obviously was a big play, but there are a lot of big plays.”
After a Devonte Green missed jumper, Maryland’s Smith made a layup that ultimately proved to be the game winner.
The Hoosiers had the ball with a chance to win at the buzzer, but a Trayce Jackson-Davis attempt in the paint rimmed off.
Inside The Numbers:
Four players were in double figures for Indiana. Green led the way with 16 points followed by Jackson-Davis with 13, Hunter with 12, and Rob Phinisee with 10. Jackson-Davis was tied with Justin Smith for the team lead in rebounds with eight.
IU won the rebounding margin 33-29.
For the game, Indiana was 30-of-57, or 52.6 percent, from the field including going 9-of-19, or 47.4 percent, from three-point range.
The Hoosiers had 36 points in the paint compared to 30 for the Terrapins.
IU had 22 assists compared to only 6 turnovers for the game. The 22 assists is well above the Hoosiers’ season average of 13.1 per game.
Cowan Jr. added 18 points and 4 assists for the Terrapins.
Indiana (15-5, 5-4) travels to Penn State for a Big Ten conference matchup. The game tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 29.
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