CHICAGO — With just over 12 minutes to go in No. 6-seed Maryland men’s basketball’s quarterfinal matchup with No. 3-seed Indiana and the game tied at 43, Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino attempted a shot at the rim. It missed, but not before Julian Reese was whistled for a foul — his fourth of the game, forcing him to take a seat on the bench.
Indiana rattled off an 11-0 run following Reese’s fourth foul, with Reese out of the game for most of it.
Reese re-entered less than two minutes later, but the damage was done. Indiana had built a double-digit lead with less than 10 minutes to go, one Maryland could never recover from. Maryland ultimately fell to Indiana, 70-60, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament Friday night.
The officiating played a massive role, but Maryland’s stars, particularly Jahmir Young, did not do enough for Maryland to overcome questionable officiating. Young finished with 12 points but was 3-for-15 from the field. Hakim Hart led Maryland with 16 points while Donta Scott and Don Carey chipped in 10 and 11, respectively.
“Jahmir has had a phenomenal year. He’s played terrific. We’ve asked him to do a lot,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said. “He did the best he can against their size.”
Indiana advanced to the semifinals to take on No. 10-seed Penn State. Maryland has certainly done enough to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament but will now await its fate until its official seeding and matchup is announced Sunday.
Maryland’s start mirrored many of its starts on the road this season: it struggled to score and found itself facing an early deficit. Although the game will go in the books as a neutral-site game, it was essentially a road game for the Terps. A sea of red packed the stands — and not the kind of red Maryland fans are accustomed to seeing at the XFINITY Center. It was the kind of red that fills the seats at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, just over 200 miles south of the United Center.
“I guess you could say that was a true road game,” Scott said. “They kind of had home-court advantage.”
By the time the first media timeout rolled around, Maryland trailed by six, making just two of its first seven shots. As Maryland settled in to a wildly opposite environment from Thursday night’s win over Minnesota, where the stands were mostly empty and the arena mostly silent, the Terps found their rhythm offensively.
After starting 1-for-4 from three, Maryland drilled its next two attempts, courtesy of Hart and Carey. Carey’s three halfway through the first half gave Maryland its first lead of the game, 18-17.
While Maryland’s offense caught fire, the Terps’ defense allowed them to build on their lead. Maryland held Indiana without a point for five minutes, leading to a 11-0 run. A seven-point Maryland lead forced Indiana head coach Mike Woodson to call a timeout with just over eight minutes to go in the first half.
When Maryland beat Indiana back on Jan. 31, it did so while shooting 23% from three. Maryland sat toward the bottom of the Big Ten in 3-point shooting all season, but that never deterred the Terps from letting it fly from distance.
At one point in February, Willard said he probably should tell his guys to stop shooting so many threes, but he doesn’t, he said. Instead he encourages them to keep shooting, even when they aren't falling.
On Friday night, Maryland wasn't shy about shooting threes, and it was lights out in the first half, making six of its first 10, but that didn’t last.
Indiana’s identity is completely different. The Hoosiers’ aim to pound it inside and seldom look to attempt threes. Although it ranks third in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage, Indiana attempts the second fewest 3-pointers per game in the conference.
Indiana never shied away from its bread and butter when it found itself in a hole. The Hoosiers continued to pound it inside, which allowed them to storm back and cut Maryland’s lead to two at the halftime break. Indiana had twice as many points in the paint as Maryland in the first half, but attempted just three 3-pointers compared to Maryland’s 13.
Within the first minute of the second half, Reese picked up his third foul of the game, but Willard elected to keep him in the game. Reese served as the primary defender on Indiana superstar Trayce Jackson-Davis, and continued to do so aggressively despite the foul trouble.
Maryland exploded on a 7-0 run a few minutes into the second half, but that didn’t come without an Indiana response. Indiana ripped off a run of its own to tie the game at 43, igniting a raucous pro-Indiana crowd.
A small run become a lengthy one when Reese picked up his fourth foul. Patrick Emilien came in to relieve Reese but Emilien picked up two fouls in under two minutes. Emilien fouled out later in the game while Reese finished the game with four fouls, five points in 25 minutes of action.
“I had a lot of confidence in the fact that Pat could pick up those minutes, but you’ve got to give Trayce a lot of credit. I thought he was phenomenal,” Willard said.
With everything going wrong for the Terps — a crowd against it and a questionable officiating crew — Maryland did not quit. Maryland stormed back to cut the lead to six, but for every punch it threw, Indiana had a counter.
Maryland needed a stop with two minutes to go trailing by six but Hood-Schifino, who had just three points the first time Maryland and Indiana met in College Park, nailed a dagger three to seal Maryland’s fate. It was his first three of the game and just Indiana’s fourth.
Maryland’s Big Ten Tournament title hopes came to an end, but its season is far from over. It now turns its attention to the NCAA Tournament, where anything is possible.
Three things to know
1. It was a game of threes vs. twos. The game came down to one of the most basic arguments in basketball today: twos vs. threes. Maryland attempted 24 threes and made nine of them, while Indiana attempted 10 threes and made four of them. After Maryland made six of its first 10 attempts, it made just three of its next 14.
“They were good shots, we just didn’t make it,” Hart said.
2. It was a poorly officiated game. The refs had zero control of Friday night’s contest, despite Willard taking the high road following the game by saying the officiating was “fine.” There were a total of 32 fouls called, many of which were questionable. Emilien fouled out for Maryland, while Reese’s foul trouble hampered Maryland in the second half. For Indiana, both Race Thompson and Trey Galloway had four fouls.
3. What’s next? Maryland now awaits its NCAA Tournament seed and opponent, which will be announced Sunday evening. Most bracket projections currently have Maryland projected as an eight seed. That is likely not going to change with this loss to Indiana.
“I love my team,” Willard said. “I’m not refocusing anything. I’m celebrating [our season] and we’re gonna have a big party on Sunday.”