BLOOMINGTON – Indiana stormed back from a 10-point second half deficit and beat Maryland 63-55 at Assembly Hall tonight thanks to double-doubles from Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson and a terrific defensive performance.
- Indiana found some energy: The Hoosiers were listless for a good part of the first half offensively tonight, but they didn't let that seep into their defensive performance and eventually they found a way to start scoring some points. The offensive numbers weren't pretty (just 37% shooting), but Indiana ensured that it was a miserable night for Maryland on offense, as well, holding the Terrapins to just 38% shooting and 7 of 25 from beyond the 3-point line. Crucially, Indiana also won the rebounding battle 43-33, an indication of how hard Jackson-Davis and Thompson worked on the glass. Down the stretch, the defensive intensity was such that it got the whole bench into the game and the sparse crowd of parents only actually made enough noise to create a reasonable facsimile of a hostile environment for Maryland. This was an ugly, gritty victory for the Hoosiers and they need more of those going forward, preferably with fewer bricks from deep.
- Someone besides Trayce take the ball to the hoop: Indiana's offense still has too many stretches where there is simply nothing happening. Part of the problem is that the Hoosiers have very few players who consistently look to attack the basket when they get the ball. They might get the ball in position to do something, but their first instinct is to pass it off as soon as possible. That's not necessarily bad, but when everyone except Jackson-Davis is doing it at once, it creates a lot of movement without any anything actually getting accomplished. Pair that with a rough night for Jackson-Davis shooting the ball, especially in the first half when he was 2 for 9 and you get an ugly offensive performance from the Hoosiers. Someone needs to be aggressive off the dribble outside of the 2019 Indiana Mr. Basketball. Thompson did it a couple of times early and Al Durham had a couple nice drives to the rim, including one to break a 4:23 scoreless streak for IU in the opening half, but Indiana needs it more consistently. Maryland went to a zone in the first half and it worked wonders because the Hoosiers weren't really cutting with any purpose.
- Armaan Franklin is a key piece: Indiana learned this the hard way tonight. Franklin went down in the first half with what appeared to be a foot or ankle injury and despite trying to walk it off on the sideline immediately after the injury, he did not return. His absence threw into sharp relief the fact that he's been Indiana's only real consistent threat from 3-point range this season. Without him, the Hoosiers went 0 for 9 from 3-point range in the first half and 4 for 22 for the game, making the going inside exceedingly difficult for Jackson-Davis as Maryland hardly had to respect anyone spotting up from the outside. Franklin has been Indiana's most-improved player this season and losing him for any length of time would be devastating for an offense that is already struggling to make plays. The Hoosiers have to hope his injury heels quickly.
Player of the Game: Trayce Jackson-Davis
Jackson-Davis did not shoot well to start the game, but he got hot down the stretch and was the key factor in Indiana putting the game away. He finished with 22 points, 17 in the second half, and 15 rebounds and was also active on the glass and on defense, picking up two steals and going the other way with one of them for a thunderous dunk that would've brought down the house if there had been fans. It's the type of game Indiana needs more of from him when he's not shooting well: just keep plugging away and using his athleticism and talent to affect the game until shots fall. He made six consecutive field goals in the second half and had his third double-double and seventh 20-point performance this season.
Facts and Figures
Jackson-Davis came into the game No. 1 in the country in free throw attempts with 86. He went 4 for 6 at the line tonight. ... Maryland won the Big Ten regular-season title last season. ... The Terrapins were without senior guard Darryl Morsell, one of the team's best defenders, who suffered a facial fracture in Maryland's previous game, against Michigan. ... Terps sophomore Donta Scott entered the game No. 2 in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting at 59.4%. He went 0 for 1 from beyond the arc tonight. ... Thompson had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana, his second double-double of the season and first since Nov. 30. ... Aaron Wiggins led Maryland with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Indiana is back in action Thursday when the Hoosiers travel to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the No. 8 Badgers (9-2, 3-1 Big Ten) at the Kohl Center. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1. The Hoosiers have lost 17 straight at Wisconsin. Their last win at the Kohl Center came eight days after the arena opened in 1998. Wisconsin will be coming off a 71-59 win over then-No. 21 Minnesota, but had its game Sunday against Penn State postponed for COVID-19 reasons.