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Maryland basketball falters late in 71-68 loss to Indiana

The Terps’ road slide reaches four games.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland men’s basketball dropped a close one to Indiana on Monday, as its road losing streak reached four games with the 71-68 loss.

It was back and forth for the entirety of the game, as the lead changed hands 11 times before it was all said and done. Maryland was down 67-63 with a little over a minute left when Jared Nickens buried his fourth three-pointer of the night to bring Maryland within one. After Indiana missed two free throws, Juwan Morgan grabbed the rebound and gave the Hoosiers a 69-66 lead on a putback for part of his game-high 25 points.

Anthony Cowan scored a quick layup after Maryland called its timeout before the Hoosiers hit two free throws to make it 71-68 with 15 seconds left. Cowan would have a clean look, and later Kevin Huerter would have a desperation heave to try to tie, but neither fell as Maryland dropped to 4-5 in the conference.

Cowan scored a team-high 18 points on 6-of-18 shooting to go with 4 rebounds and 4 assists, but he only had five in the second half. Kevin Huerter had his second double-double of the season, adding 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Joshua Tomaic started in lieu of Bruno Fernando, making the 12th different starting lineup Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon has tried. Fernando would go down with another ankle injury in the second half and wouldn’t return to the game.

The Terps started the game with an alley-oop from Cowan to Morsell for the flush. That kicked off a back and forth affair that lasted the first four minutes before the Hoosiers went on a 9-0 run, forcing Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon to take a timeout down 12-5. Maryland tightened up its defensive effort and went on a 9-0 run of its own to take an 18-16 lead off a three-pointer by Nickens. Indiana tied it on the next play and the game stayed close for the rest of the half, with neither team leading by more than five points in the half. The Hoosiers ended the half on a 6-0 run to take a 42-39 lead into halftime.

Both teams finished the first half shooting above 50 percent from the field, with Indiana finishing the half at 56 percent with Maryland shooting 52 percent. The lead changed hands seven times during the first 20 minutes.

Dion Wiley started the second half for Tomaic and Fernando subbed for Michal Cekovsky early to come and catch an alley-oop similar to the one that started the game. Fernando went down after rolling his right ankle on a foul right before the under-16 timeout and went into the locker room with the Terps down 48-45.

Accustomed to attrition, the Terps kept trading baskets with Indiana before a three-minute stalemate with the game at 53. The Hoosiers took a 55-53 lead and Maryland’s scoring drought almost stretched to five minutes by the under-8 timeout.

Nickens tied the game at 57 with his third three of the night before Maryland strung a couple buckets together to take a five-point lead. Indiana stormed back and went on a 7-0 run to take a 64-62 lead as Robert Johnson scored his first points of the second half.

Both teams shooting percentages came back to earth in the last 20 minutes. Indiana shot it 41.7 percent in the last period and the Terps hit just 30 percent of their shots. After starting to tame the issue early in conference play, turnovers returned to plague the Terps, as they gave it it up 18 times, compared to 12 from the Hoosiers.

The Terps get five days to prepare for a second matchup with Michigan State. The No. 6 Spartans come to College Park on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET for a matchup on CBS.

Three things to know

  1. Maryland’s road losing streak continues. Maryland has not fared well on the road this season and has now lost its last four on the road and fallen to 1-5 in true road games this season. The Terps’ schedule doesn’t get much easier, and they’re trending down at the worst time of the season.
  2. Bruno Fernando went down again. The former Big Ten Freshman of the Week could miss more time, after being sidelined the entire preseason with an ankle sprain and missing two more games in December after spraining the other ankle. He’s looked off the past two games, shaking off the flu, but he impacted this one early. Fernando ended the night with six points and two rebounds in 15 minutes, and his status will be important to monitor.
  3. The bench picked up some slack, but not enough. After Cekovsky had one of the best games of his career and Tomaic played well enough to earn a start, both ended the game without a point. Fernando, Wiley and Nickens all gave Turgeon some needed offense, combining for 26 points off the bench. But the Terps still came up three points short.