With about four and half minutes remaining, Maryland men’s basketball was facing its largest deficit of the night as Indiana led by 12 points. As Hoosiers forward Race Thompson’s shot bounced off the basket, senior guard Fatts Russell grabbed the rebound and sprinted down the court to hit a jumper and bring the Terps slightly closer.
However, on Indiana’s next possession, the Hoosiers drew a foul and sank both shots to once again extend that lead.
No matter how many times Maryland tried to get things going on the offense, led by Russell who finished the game with a team-high 23 points, Indiana had the response and snapped Maryland’s two-game winning streak with a 74-64 home win.
“I was just trying to keep my team in it,” Russell said after the game. “I felt like we were liking some scoring and certain parts of the game. So I just try to be ultra-aggressive.”
Russell came into this matchup scoring 20 or more points in three of the last four games and eclipsed that mark again however, the Terps still struggled to find the victory.
Maryland came into this one on a two-game winning streak while Indiana was experiencing quite the opposite. The Hoosiers had not won since the last time they played Maryland back on Jan. 29.
Five minutes into the game, the Terps were down just two points and also had already forced forward Trayce Jackson-Davis into picking up the first foul of the game. At that point, the Terps were shooting 40% from the field while shooting 2-for-5 from the field including an early 3-pointer from senior guard Eric Ayala. Indiana was shooting 57% from the field on 4-for-7 shooting.
The two teams continued to trade buckets until with about 13 minutes remaining, Indiana guard Parker Stewart gave Indiana its biggest lead that far of three points. A few seconds later, graduate guard Fatts Russell brought the game back within one with a shot behind the right side of the arc.
After the dueling 3-pointers, both teams experienced scoreless stretches lasting over two and half minutes but Indiana cracked its drought first with a layup. However, shortly after Jackson-Davis went to the bench with his second foul and junior guard Hakim Hart hit one of the free throws to bring it back within two. But then Maryland began to slip up turning the ball over three times in about three and a half minutes.
Those mistakes turned into quick opportunities for Indiana.
While the Terps didn’t score for nearly five minutes after hitting just one of their last eight attempted field goals, the Hoosiers scored eight unanswered. With three and a half minutes remaining, Indiana held a 28-18 lead over Maryland.
Hart snapped the Terps’ drought with a deep three and sparked some energy into this Maryland team in what turned into a 9-0 response run to bring this game within one.
The Hoosiers had the last shot of the half in the form of a jumper to finish the half with the 30-27 lead. After the first 20 minutes of play, Hart led all scorers with nine points on 2-for-3 shooting from the field, both successful shots coming from behind the arc, and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line.
Hart kicked things off in the second half for Maryland starting with a big 3-pointer to tie the game at 30 points. Jackson-Davis made his presence known with a dunk to take the lead and generate an 8-0 run including another emphatic dunk, the second one from guard Xavier Johnson. That quickly turned into an eight-point lead for the Hoosiers forcing the Terps to call a timeout with about 16 and a half minutes remaining in the game.
Maryland found another bucket in the form of a dunk on Jackson-Davis from freshman forward Julian Reese but Indiana didn’t let off the gas once again finding that 10-point lead.
As the shot clock ticked to zero, Russell hit a deep shot and on Maryland’s next possession, another dunk for Reese was enough of a response to close the deficit to five points.
“Obviously he had the hottest hand for us tonight and we tried to ride him a little bit,” interim head coach Danny Manning said.
Both teams were shooting hot with nine and a half minutes remaining. The Hoosiers had hit all of their last nine shots from the field while the Terps had hit eight of their last nine to make it a three-point game.
During that stretch, Russell made his fourth three of the night as he led the Terps at that point with 16 points.
Indiana stretched its lead with five quick points and although Maryland tried to find responses, the Hoosiers found their groove shooting six unanswered for a 12-point lead, the largest of the game.
Although Maryland tried to respond, Indiana always had the answer, finding a way to end its five-game losing skid and sending the Terps back to College Park with a season series sweep.
Three things to know
1. Eric Ayala was back in the starting lineup. Ayala did not play against then-No. 3 Purdue on Feb. 13 due to a wrist injury. The senior guard was activated against Nebraska and Penn State where he played 24 and 18 minutes, respectively. He contributed two points against Nebraska and 13 against Penn State. In the Nebraska matchup, he also added five rebounds and four assists. Ayala finished the game scoring three points on 1-for-7 shooting from the field. He also had one rebound, two assists and four turnovers in his 28 minutes on the court.
2. Maryland got beat in the paint. Out of Indiana’s 30 first-half points, 20 of those came in the paint. Maryland, on the other hand, scored just 10 of its 27 points in the first half in the paint. Indiana also had the edge on the glass in the first half, outrebounding the Terps 17-15 and for the full game 27-25. Indiana scored 44 points in the paint including 12 layups and six dunks. Maryland tallied 24 points in the paint and had seven layups and two dunks. The Terps missed 41.2% of the layups they took and ultimately couldn’t find their momentum in the paint.
3. The Terps continued to fight. As exhibited throughout the season, Maryland has continued to play hard throughout the entirety of the matchup. Although they fell by 10 points and never led, the Terps kept things close and even tied the game right out of halftime. Maryland had the final field goal of the game in the form of a 3-pointer from guard Xavier Green despite not being able to find a way to win. Despite snapping its two-game win streak, Maryland displayed fight with Russell, Hart and junior forward Donta Scott scoring 23, 14 and 10 points, respectively. The Terps have three regular season games remaining before the Big Ten tournament including two home matchups against Ohio State and Minnesota followed by a road game at Michigan State.
“Keep playing for each other, keep having a lot of energy,” Hart said. “Towards the end I just feel like we missed a couple of defensive assignments and they just scored a lot in the paint.”