Behind an energized Assembly Hall crowd and a superlative three-point shooting effort, No. 23 Indiana beat the 13th-ranked Maryland men's basketball team, 89-70, on Thursday night in Bloomington.
Veteran guard Yogi Ferrell scored 24 points on 7-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc for Indiana, while his freshman backcourt partner, James Blackmon, added 22 of his own. Forwards Troy Williams and Collin Hartman also reached double figures as part of a balanced Indiana starting five, which carried the Hoosiers (15-4, 5-1 Big Ten) to a win despite getting only five bench points. The Hoosiers shot 15-of-22 (68.2 percent) on three-pointers in the win.
Maryland (17-3, 5-2 Big Ten) got 13 mildly efficient points from Jake Layman, but star guards Melo Trimble and Dez Wells struggled to cobble together baskets against a tight Indiana defense. The Terrapins failed to get the foul line, make foul shots or defend three-pointers – three of their defining strengths this season – and paid for it, especially during a lackluster second half that sealed their fate.
The loss pushed Maryland out of its momentary hold on first place in the Big Ten, which now has co-leaders in Indiana and Wisconsin. The Terps and Hoosiers will play again on February 11.
Indiana started the game hot from the field, draining six of its first eight three-point attempts in the early going. The Hoosiers rode their shooting to an early lead of 10-1 and then, after Maryland nibbled away to tie the game at 26-26, to 37-30 as the first half wound down. A late first-half run by Maryland trimmed the Terps' halftime deficit to only three points, despite neither Trimble or Wells making many shots and the entire team failing to draw – or knock down – foul shots at its usual rate.
But after Maryland drew closer, the Hoosiers kicked off the final 20 minutes with a 6-0 run, stretching their lead back to nine points and putting Maryland in a precarious position. The Hoosiers never quite stopped draining three-pointers, either, and Maryland dealt with a barrage of turnovers and missed shots in close that held back its offensive effort.
In sum, the Terps were an altogether horrible 6-of-12 from the foul line. They shot well on their own three-pointers but otherwise faltered offensively. They left the Hoosiers reasonably open for three-pointer after three-pointer, and the Hoosiers knocked them down while getting to the foul line at a rate similar to what Maryland, itself, has become accustomed to this year. The Hoosiers connected on 14-of-18 foul shots.
The Hoosiers' 89 points were 13 more than any other team has scored against the Terrapins this season. Maryland's defense – with its best players, its foul shooting and its interior offensive game – will try to get back on track on Sunday, when Northwestern visits College Park for an evening tip at XFINITY Center.
Three things we learned
1. Maryland actually weathered a storm early on. This game could have turned into a rout fairly easily, what with Maryland's best players not performing and Indiana clicking at a 6-of-11 first-half clip from deep. The Terps were a minimalist-in-many-ways 2-of-6 on foul shots in the first half, and Wells and Trimble totaled seven points on nine field goal attempts. But the Terps forced seven first-half turnovers and, somehow, managed to slink into the locker room very much in the game. From there, though, it was ugly.
2. Indiana's big-time guards outplayed Maryland's. The Hoosiers' Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon together comprise one of the better backcourts in college basketball. On Thursday, they played like it, while Maryland's own star guard tandem struggled. Ferrell and Blackmon were more or less equal parts unconscious: Ferrell hit seven three-pointers en route to his 24 points, while Blackmon hit three and scored 22. Combined, they hovered near two points per field goal attempt on a night when Wells and Trimble simply failed to measure up. Wells had a brutal shooting night, and Trimble was sturdily below average a game after he set fire to Michigan State with 21 first-half points. Ferrell and Blackmon are great players, and so are Wells and Trimble. But only half of that sentence held true on Thursday.
3. The Terps' excellent three-point defense abandoned them. The Terps entered the night with the 12th-ranked three-point defense in the country, allowing only 27.9 percent of opposing deep balls to go through the basket. Indiana is a superlative three-point-shooting team, however, entering at 28th nationally with a 39.1 percent three-point rate on offense. Something, clearly, had to give – and it was Maryland's normally stout perimeter defense. In total, the Hoosiers drilled 15 of their 22 three-point attempts, accounting for half of their total points and ultimately setting the Terps back too far to compete in the game's waning minutes. The Hoosiers shot well, but Maryland was unusually loose in guarding the arc, and Indiana hit a number of wide-open jumpers. Maryland could never fully overcome them.