After leading for most of its contest against Indiana behind a stingy defense, Maryland men’s basketball began to sputter out of control.
With 12 minutes left, the team’s once 10-point advantage had shrunk to just one as the Hoosiers mounted a quick 8-0 run. A few minutes later, with the Terps up one-point, Indiana gained its first lead since the beginning of the game off of a three-pointer from forward Jerome Hunter at the top of the arc.
Trayce Jackson-Davis kept the momentum going, forcing a steal on the other end as freshman James Graham III tried to pass it off to Galin Smith at the top of the arc. The Hoosier star stormed down the court and threw down a one-handed jam, taking the breath out of the Terps.
Maryland entered the contest without the heart of its defense, as Darryl Morsell suffered a facial bone fracture in the team’s last contest against Michigan. Throughout his time as a Terp, head coach Mark Turgeon has looked to the Baltimore native to bring toughness on the floor, and his absence raised concerns going into Monday’s game.
The Terps appeared to step up to challenge for much of the contest, but things completely fell apart in the final frame en route to the 63-55 loss.
“[The Hoosiers] fed off their bigs’ energy. Their guards started to hit jump shots and everything just started going for them in the second half,” Aaron Wiggins said. “And we just weren’t tough enough to fight back.”
Maryland started the contest with strong defense from the opening tip. After a back and forth start, they held the Hoosiers without a score for nearly five and a half minutes.
With Wiggins defending, Indiana’s Armaan Franklin stumbled over himself and lost the ball with 13 minutes left in the half. Jairus Hamilton picked up the rock and assisted an Wiggins triple on the other end to give Maryland a 10-6 lead. After the Terps picked up another stop, Smith showed off his skill down low, as he backed down his defender, fooling him with an up-and-under move to put Maryland up by six.
Still, Maryland wasn’t able to fully capitalize to build what could have easily been a double-digit lead, missing four of its own shots during that span, and the game quickly shifted back into a tight contest.
Indiana flipped the script, going on a 7-0 run of its own, capped off by a goaltending call on Chol Marial, before Aaron Wiggins drained a jumper to make it 20-18 with a little under six minutes left. The Hoosiers only got two more points before the halftime break.
Throughout the first half, Maryland held Indiana to multiple scoreless streaks. The Hoosiers shot 9-for-30 (30%) from the floor and 0-for-9 from deep in the opening period — they didn’t drain a triple until 14:51 remained in the second half. Still, they managed to stick around as the Terps faced their own offensive struggles at times.
Though Wiggins got back into true form, scoring 10 points along with six boards and a block in the first half, key offensive leaders Eric Ayala and Donta Scott couldn’t get much going. Ayala shot 1-for-6 in the half, including three misses from deep. On the other hand, Scott simply didn’t get many looks, making one of a mere two shots; he did grab five rebounds though.
“Our offense led us down tonight,” Turgeon said. “We didn’t move the ball as quickly as we need to, we missed a lot of open shots on the inside out. And then...we’re not passing the ball quick enough, we’re holding it one second too long and we’re missing some opportunities.”
The tenacious defense carried over with ease in the opening minutes of the second half. Smith leapt up behind guard Rob Phinisee as the Hoosier went for a layup, blocking the shot with force against the glass. Wiggins picked up the ball, which managed to stay in bounds, and gave a cross-court look to Ayala, who knocked down a triple. On the following possession, the Terps forced Jackson-Davis into a travel.
But the sophomore quickly heated up with his monstrous slam, from which the Terps fell into a slump, going completely cold and unable to make the most of any opportunities. The defense faltered as well, with Indiana having its way on the offensive boards for nine second chance points in the final frame.
“We just got to do better boxing out and just really competing on the boards, because I think that’s where they won,” Reese Mona said.
As Maryland spun out of control without a score for nearly six minutes, Jackson Davis led the way for the Hoosier victory. He finished with 22 points, 17 of which came in the second half, along with 15 rebounds and two steals.
“When one team gets that burst of energy and momentum in their own building, it can always make a difference,” Wiggins said. “Their bench had a lot of energy off of that dunk that Trayce [Jackson-Davis] had, and I think that really got them going.”
Three things to know
1. Aaron Wiggins found his groove. The junior came into the season with high expectations, but didn’t live up to the mark with inconsistent play as competition stiffened. But he came alive against the Hoosiers as one of the lone bright spots of the Maryland offense. Wiggins set a new career-high with 22 points, connecting on four of his seven three-point attempts while pulling down 10 rebounds as well for his second double-double of his Terp career.
2. The Hoosiers lost a key star. Indiana forward Armaan Franklin entered Monday night averaging 18.8 points over his last five games. But that streak wouldn’t continue, as he left the game under seven minutes in with an apparent ankle injury. Though his presence was missed throughout most of the contest, the Hoosiers other host of guards eventually stepped up to put the Terps away.
3. James Graham III saw his first game action. The four-star recruit elected to start his college career early, arriving in College Park last week. Graham subbed into the game with a little under eight minutes left in the first half; he looked quite lost and was nearly immediately taken out. Graham was brought back onto the floor in the second half as things began to tighten, but he committed a live-ball turnover and was quickly brought back off in favor of Scott.