Last month, Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell set fire to Maryland's defense by shooting 7-of-8 on three-pointers en route to a Hoosier blowout of the Terrapins at Assembly Hall. On Wednesday night at Xfinity Center, Ferrell put on a master class for a second time. But No. 19 Maryland, helped by a blend of late baskets and a boisterous crowd, didn't let Ferrell's brilliance determine the outcome yet again. The Indiana junior missed a game-winning three-point try with seven seconds left, then misfired on a tying two-pointer as the buzzer sounded, sealing a 68-66 Maryland victory.
As he was in Bloomington, Ferrell was the game's most interesting individual story. He scored 23 points and made six of the nine threes he shot, but Maryland stymied him at the very end. Maryland's best players were its offensive catalysts; Dez Wells scored 18 points to match Melo Trimble, while Jake Layman had 14 to go with 7 rebounds, despite an uneven showing overall. The Terps shot 49 percent from the field altogether, while the Hoosiers shot 37 percent.
Maryland (20-5, 8-4 Big Ten) started the game on an 8-3 run, paced by a couple of early baskets from Trimble and three Damonte Dodd blocks on the other end in the game's first eight minutes. Indiana (17-8, 7-5) scored the game's next nine points, though, and the teams traded tiny leads for the rest of the opening 20 minutes. Ferrell, in a continuation of his 7-three-pointer dominance of the Terrapins last month in Bloomington, hit three of them in the half, including two early ones as the shot clock expired. The Terps made a miniature run at the end of the half and headed into the break leading, 35-34.
The teams stayed on each other's heels in the second half, trading baskets in the same style they had in the first half of both their contests this year. The game was tied with 5:55 left when Wells hit the front end of a one-and-one. After Wells missed the second foul shot, Layman rebounded for Maryland, and the Terps quickly worked the ball into the corner for a Jared Nickens three-pointer. That put Maryland up by four points, and a Wells lay-in moments later made the lead six, the largest of the game for any team. Just 5:14 remained, but Robert Johnson quickly countered with a three of his own to draw Indiana back within a possession.
The game proceeded tightly all the way to the wire, frenetic until the end. The ever-threatening Ferrell hit another three to knot the game, again, with inside four minutes remaining. Layman and Johnson alternated scores, and a Williams put-back staked Indiana to a lead inside two minutes. Wells answered to tie the game at 61 from there, and then Layman backed down an overmatched James Blackmon Jr. to give Maryland a two-point lead with just under a minute on the clock. After another Maryland stop, a couple of Trimble free throws and another Williams put-back left the Terps ahead by two points with 23 seconds left. After a Ferrell three-pointer, his sixth make of the night, Layman hit two free throws before, indeed, another Williams put-back left Maryland ahead by one.
Wells made one of two free throws after an intentional foul, setting up Ferrell's late charge at the hoop. Maryland, finally, stopped him.
Three things we learned
1. Maryland will not miss Yogi Ferrell when he's gone. Ferrell, the diminutive Indiana guard, is a really good college basketball player. He has been for some time. But he was close to perfect against Maryland in their first meeting last month, and then he was stellar a second time on Wednesday. He finished with 24 points behind 7-of-8-three-point shooting the first time around, bringing his seasonal total against Maryland to an ultra-efficient 47 points after Wednesday. Mark Turgeon will not mind seeing him leave Bloomington, whenever that time comes.
2. Jake Layman had a Jekkyl-and-Hyde night. The junior forward was efficient as a scorer and a key rebounder, but his passes were dull and he had 5 turnovers, including three in the game's first three minutes. Layman hasn't been quite himself lately, at least not like he was earlier in conference play and during the out-of-conference slate. That written, he was important for Maryland against a quick Indiana team that loves to run and gun.
3. The Terps had to deal with an unusual dearth of free throws. Maryland, as it's been hashed over a million times, relies on free throws. Even as their opportunities have waned a bit in Big Ten play, they've remained one of the most productive teams in the country at the foul line overall. And for the most part, the drop in foul shots they've sustained hasn't affected them at home – only on the road. That trend didn't hold up on Wednesday. The Terps shot just 14 times from the charity stripe (a figure inflated by late intentional fouls), in a game where officials were almost exceptionally loose in calling fouls even by the lax standards of Big Ten play. When referees opt to "let the boys play," it doesn't feed into Maryland's strengths. That the Terps managed to win under these circumstances is no small thing.