Indiana routs Maryland to open Big Ten play on a strong note

  • 12/02/2023 7:39 am in

Friday night saw a Big Ten battle between Indiana and Maryland which became one of its most complete performances of the season for the Hoosiers. Indiana never trailed – and led by as many 23 points – in a 65-53 victory.

Indiana got off to a hot start on both ends, which proved to be enough to get them the win. A sluggish defense has been one of IU’s biggest issues this season but against Maryland, Indiana looked poised and controlled the game.

Maryland was struggling in the opening minutes to get any shots to fall as it became clear that Indiana’s size was posing a threat to Maryland’s game plan. Indiana raced out to a 16-4 lead in the first six minutes and the energy for the Terrapins faded quickly.

The defense was rolling for Indiana and the offensive combination of Malik Reneau and Kel’el Ware was something Maryland couldn’t figure out.

“I thought we were connected tonight. We didn’t give up a lot of threes. I thought our switching was right on par,” Mike Woodson said. “We had a few miscues, but we didn’t let this team get into the teeth of our defense very much. And then early on, we kind of had our way from an offensive standpoint in the paint where Malik and Big Ware were able to make buckets for us. I just thought defensively, we were solid tonight for 40 minutes.”

While the defense was looking the best it’s looked all season, Indiana continued to create havoc down low. Ware and Reneau continued to have strong outings as they combined for 29 of Indiana’s 65 points. Scoring the ball wasn’t the only area they made an impact. Indiana’s effort on the glass was also dominant.

Indiana has talked about making it a priority to be better on the boards and they did exactly that. Indiana outrebounded the Terrapins 46-30. Maryland had no answer for Indiana’s size and throughout the 40-minute game, Maryland never created a presence down low.

“It makes a big difference,” Woodson said. “That’s something we talked about in pregame that our wings and perimeter guys had to get in and mix it up a little bit and get rebounds, and I thought we did a great job in that regard.”

Indiana played its most complete game of the young season. Defensively, the Hoosiers were clicking and once again, the frontcourt for Indiana was pushing the offense along. Ware had another double-double – 18 points and 14 rebounds – with Reneau (11 points) and Mackenzie Mgbako (13 points) also hitting double figures. On a night without Xavier Johnson, who was on the sidelines in a walking boot, Trey Galloway stepped up to provide his best performance of the season. Galloway finished with 12 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Woodson was critical of his team’s performance in the last eight minutes but aside from the slopping ending, it was an encouraging performance by Indiana. The Hoosiers needed to start the Big Ten season with a win at home and they did that in a clear-cut manner. Maryland never threatened the Hoosiers.

“I felt like it was good for us as a team to get that start early, just to show the team that we came here to play today and just complete the mission to win the game,” Ware said.

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