Welcome back to the Testudo Times film room. Maryland men’s basketball — now ranked No. 15 in the nation — put together one of its most exciting wins of the season in a 77-76 thriller over Indiana at Assembly Hall to improve to 16-4 on the season and 6-3 in the Big Ten.
The Terps were once again led by an incredible performance by star forward Jalen Smith. The sophomore from Baltimore followed up his career night against Northwestern by setting a new career high against Indiana at 29 points to go along with 11 rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
Maryland was also led by solid performances from Anthony Cowan Jr, Darryl Morsell and Aaron Wiggins, who all played key roles in the final minutes of the game.
Let’s take a look at all the impact plays that led to the Terps road win.
This play really felt like the catalyst for the Terps comeback after a lot of poor play for much of the second half. Morsell struggled a bit at times during this game when it came to finishing at the rim, but he certainly made up for it with this crucial bucket.
Morsell got the ball in transition after the Indiana miss, struggled to bring the ball up a little bit, but then gathered, took a jump stop and converted the big layup. The junior was visibility frustrated after missing a few layups he should have made earlier in the game, and this play surely felt like redemption for him.
After struggling a good bit offensively over the past few games, this play and this performance could be a springboard for Morsell to get rolling again offensively. The junior from Baltimore finished the game with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the field to go along with six rebounds.
With the Terps down by six points and only a little over a minute remaining in the game, it was clear that if they were going to win, they had to score quickly. Smith got the ball at the top of the key early in the shot clock and went right to the hoop against Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Smith had a number of strong takes during this game, but this was the most impressive given the magnitude of the moment. Earlier in the season, he struggled at times to drive without having to kick the ball out, but plays like this portray his strong progression with this part of his game.
This sequence could not have been executed more perfectly and was one of the main reasons why Maryland left Bloomington with a win. Head coach Mark Turgeon had his five set up full-court press and they were able to create the turnover that led to Wiggins’ three at the other end.
Cowan continued to prove how clutch and important he is to this Maryland team with his deflection here that led to Smith’s steal. Another crucial aspect of this sequence was Wiggins’ patience to wait for the best look.
Wiggins has come alive recently from three-point range and a big reason why is that he hasn’t been forcing his looks and has instead been waiting for the best shot possible, which is evident on this play. The sophomore utilized a pump fake and a stepback to ensure he had the space and time needed to hit one of the biggest shots of the season.
On this game winning play, the Terps’ execution was absolutely flawless. First, Smith came up to set a high pick-and-roll for Cowan. Smith’s defender decided to stay and double-team Cowan, who consequently dished it down low to the sophomore big man.
Indiana did a great job of rotating defensively and was able to get two men in Smith’s area to disrupt the shot, but “Stix” would not be denied. He absorbed the contact, took one dribble and was able to finish the tough contested layup to give Maryland the lead and the win after it stopped Indiana on the final play.
Other Standout Plays
Maryland came out of the gates firing from downtown, hitting nine of its first 14 attempts from deep. On this play, Smith came over to set a screen for Eric Ayala, and afterwards was able to slide to the corner unguarded to get in position for a corner three.
On ball screens like this, Indiana often times double-teamed the man with the ball, which Maryland very much took advantage of on numerous plays throughout the game.
Maryland’s execution late in the shot clock was solid during this game, and this play was a great example of it. Cowan was extremely crafty in getting into the paint, and when the area got too congested he was able to find Ricky Lindo Jr. in the corner for the three plus the foul.
These were Lindo’s only four points of the game, and he only played seven minutes, but this play was huge for the Terps as they built their first half lead. Lindo has only taken four three-pointers on the season, but he has made three of them (75 percent) and also hit one last game against Northwestern. If Lindo can continue to produce from deep, he will certainly see more minutes off the bench.
Smith was 10-for-14 from the field during his career day against the Hoosiers and was able to get it done scoring the ball behind the arc and also in the post. This play was another example of Indiana throwing the double team at the player with the ball in the pick-and-roll, and the Terps were once again able to take advantage of it.
Smith got the ball in the post, used a drop step and was able to convert the tough hook shot. He has been much more effective this year in the pick-and-pop vs the pick-and-roll. But in this game, Smith got it done in both sets.
While Ayala struggled a bit in this game in the second half, he did lead the team with six assists and made some incredible finds throughout.
On this play, he beat his man and would have had a solid look at the rim for a contested layup, but decided to kick it to Donta Scott, who converted the corner three. Ayala could have gone either way on this play, but the kick out paid off as the Terps extended their first half lead.
On this play, Smith came over to give Cowan a ball screen, but the senior guard had other plans and took it to the rim for the layup. Indiana once again double-teamed the ball on the screen, but Cowan put a hesitation move on both defenders and was able to easily finish the layup without any contest from the defense.
Cowan finished the game with 18 points and struggled again from deep, going just 2-for-7, but he was incredibly effective in getting the rim and finishing like usual.