COLLEGE PARK — The energy and crowd were there at Xfinity Center Saturday afternoon, brought on by a back-on-campus student body and the largest crowd in quite sometime to to fill the arena’s red seats.
The Terrapins’ buckets, however, were not there.
Indiana used strong inside scoring and a poor Maryland shooting performance inside and outside to cruise to a 68-54 win, snapping the Terrapins’ two-game winning streak.
“It was just one of those nights where shots didn’t fall,” Maryland interim coach Danny Manning said. “A lot of guys had opportunities. We struggled from the field shooting the basketball.”
Indiana forward Race Thompson scored 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, and forward Trayce Jackson-Davis added 17 for the Hoosiers (16-5, 7-4 Big Ten). Indiana scored 36 of its 68 points from the paint, an area it dominated all game and for which Maryland had no answer.
“Trayce Jackson-Davis is a handful. He’s one of the better bigs in the country,” Manning said. “You want to try to make his catches difficult. You want to push him off. We have some different coverages that didn’t work well enough tonight.”
Guard Hakim Hart led the Terrapins with 15 points, with 11 coming in the second half. Guard Fatts Russell tallied 12, as did center Qudus Wahab. It was the Georgetown transfer’s third straight game in double figures for Maryland (11-10, 3-7), which couldn’t take advantage of the biggest and most engaged home crowd all season.
The Terrapins only made 16 shots the whole game, and shot less than 29% from the floor. Russell and backcourt mate Eric Ayala were held to a combined 5-24 shooting after scoring a combined 45 points Tuesday at Rutgers.
“We set our defense mainly for those two and [Donta] Scott,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. “Everyone who guarded Eric and Russell were locked in.”
Maryland jumped out to an early 8-0 lead on the back of back-to-back threes from Ayala and Scott. But as the Terrapins have been prone to do, their shooting went cold to the tune of a 1-for-10 stretch.
Indiana pounced on the opening, scoring 13-straight points to storm into the lead, 13-8. The Hoosiers’ defense stepped up with three-straight blocks of Maryland lay-up attempts to punctuate the run.
Xavier Green entered at the midpoint of the first half and immediately made an impact for the Terrapins. The Old Dominion transfer collected a missed Ayala shot and put it back for his only bucket of the game.
Back on defense immediately after, Green stuck his hand out and snatched a bad pass from Indiana’s Jordan Geronimo. Green was feeling it, flashing an ‘X’ with his arms to an excited Maryland bench after the steal.
But Indiana came back strong, and not in a way that was expected. A team that usually shoots 35% from three-point range was only 1-for-9 in the first half, and decided to take it to the Terrapins inside.
Twenty-two of Indiana’s 33 first-half points came in the paint, punctuated by a dunk and glare by Jackson-Davis at the Maryland student section at the buzzer.
“I felt like they clogged the paint pretty well,” Green said. “We didn’t get a lot of paint drives, going to the paint with our guards and that was tough for us because we settled for shots.”
“He’s very dominant and his left hand, as y’all know, is really good,” Green added about Jackson-Davis. “We let him get a little too comfortable with his left hand, and he took advantage of it”
The lead changed nine times in the first half, but Maryland’s poor shooting continued to start the second half, and the Hoosiers finally found some separation.
Forward Miller Kopp, who was scoreless in the first 20, hit two threes and Thompson added another 6 points to put Indiana up 11, 46-34. Maryland opened the half 1-of-7 from beyond the arc, as the Terrapins couldn’t or wouldn’t try to get looks at shots from inside.
“We just need better shots. It’s really not about taking threes….it’s about taking open threes and better threes,” Green said.
The Hoosiers then committed four fouls in a matter of 1:14, but the Terrapins went more than four minutes —including that stretch — without a made field goal. Indiana’s lead grew to 18 at its largest point. Even with the Hoosiers in the double-bonus for the final five minutes of the game, Maryland couldn’t make any inroads and had trouble getting to the line for the remainder of the game.
“I’m glad that guys still have confidence in shooting the basketball. I want them to be confident. I want them to be aggressive,” Manning said. “But there’s also another fine line of what I need to get, put my head down and get to the free throw line.”
• George Gerbo can be reached at email@example.com.
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