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Three takeaways from Maryland men’s basketball’s loss to Indiana

The Terps struggled inside and fumbled away the game despite leading by as much as 10 points.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland men’s basketball suffered its second consecutive Big Ten defeat Monday as the Indiana Hoosiers ran away with a 63-55 victory.

The Terps started off well, but were outscored 42-28 in the second half. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the way for the Hoosiers with 22 points on the evening, 17 of which came in the second half.

Here are my three key takeaways from the Terps’ fourth loss in conference play.

Maryland was dominated on the boards

Similar to the point totals Monday night, rebounds were an issue that got out of hand late in the game.

Indiana out-rebounded Maryland, 23-14, in the second half, with Jackson-Davis pulling down nine boards in those 20 minutes.

“We just got our tails kicked on the boards and that was the difference,” said head coach Mark Turgeon.

Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson, who stand at 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-8, respectively, accounted for 26 of the Hoosiers’ 43 rebounds, completely dominating the Terps. Even without a clear height advantage, Indiana was able to out-work Maryland on the glass down the stretch to get the job done.

Both Jackson-Davis and Thompson were able to grab four offensive rebounds, while Indiana finished the game with 12. Those boards led to 14 second-chance points that worked to stunt any attempt Maryland made to light a spark.

“A lot of it was offensive rebounds,” said Turgeon. “That really got them going, got their team going. And we just weren’t physical enough on our box outs.”

Indiana got what it wanted in the paint

On top of the rebounding success, Indiana was able to get its work done offensively in the paint despite not having a clear advantage inside.

The Terps did well against Purdue and No. 6 Wisconsin in the paint, with an even margin against the Boilermakers and a +18 margin against the Badgers. Things unraveled last week when Hunter Dickinson and Michigan won the paint battle, 42-22, and those struggles continued Monday.

Indiana missed its first 11 three-point attempts on the evening, while the Terps were able to connect well from long-range. With the shots not falling outside, Indiana mustered up the toughness to get it done in the paint, outscoring Maryland by six points inside during each half — a 36-24 advantage overall.

Turgeon has mentioned many times this season that his roster is built differently and he’ll have to be creative with a lack of dominant height at his disposal. The Terps have and will struggle against teams that can put 7-foot or taller talent on the floor, but Indiana simply outworked them Monday night.

“We weren’t tough enough to box out,” Aaron Wiggins said. “We weren’t physical enough down low.”

The Terps also tallied 18 fouls Monday, which is tied for the second-highest mark in a game this season. Senior Galin Smith fouled out with 5:07 remaining in the contest with just three points to his performance, which put Maryland down a man inside.

Despite the struggles to rebound and defend the paint, 7-foot-2 sophomore Chol Marial saw just one minute of action Monday.

The Terps can have different players step up any night

One of the bright spots for Maryland in the 2020-21 season is that the roster still has plenty of capable talent.

While the Terps may lack a dominant post figure like Jalen Smith or a consistent scoring-guard like Anthony Cowan Jr., they do have talent up and down the roster that can lead the way on any given night.

Aaron Wiggins was the one who took control Monday, scoring a team-high 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds — both of which were his season highs.

“I think we’re an unselfish group and we don’t care who gets the credit,” Reese Mona said. “Especially when we move the ball and cut hard and move our bodies, when guys get matchups we want it’s hard to guard all five of our players so we swing it and we can usually get what we want.”

So far this season, Maryland has seen four different players score 20 or more points in a game with Hakim Hart (32), Eric Ayala (23), Wiggins (22) and Donta Scott (20) all striking gold in different games.

Wiggins embodied that selflessness Monday by deflecting praise after the loss, saying he would rather see the team win.

The Terps will have another big chance on the national stage to make their mark as No. 5 Iowa comes to town Thursday.