The Minute After: Maryland

  • 03/03/2024 5:19 pm in

Thoughts on an 83-78 win against the Terrapins:

To start, Indiana very much played the role of the road team.

Be it the crowd or Maryland’s full-court pressure, Indiana struggled with ball security. The Hoosiers turned it over 26.4 percent of their first-half possessions, leading to 10 points for the Terrapins as they pushed it after the Hoosiers’ miscues. Kel’el Ware, fresh off a monster game against the Badgers during the week, had three of Indiana’s nine turnovers. He also missed all four of his shots and had zero points entering the half.

Defensively, Indiana struggled to contain Jahmir Young over the first 20 minutes. He got into the paint repeatedly, leading all scorers with 12 points. The Terrapins also shot a solid 4-of-12 from 3-point range, aiding them to a strong 1.22 points per possession.

Beyond the turnovers on offense, Indiana struggled to get to its strengths. Maryland’s defense has been the most efficient in Big Ten play and it showed. The Hoosiers managed just eight points in the paint. Both Trey Galloway and Xavier Johnson were slowed down in ball-screen action. Indiana was not able to get the advantages we saw last time out against the Badgers. And yet, Indiana still made a go of it by hitting shots from deep. Indiana took 11 in the first half and made five, good for 45.5 percent. Mackenzie Mgbako hit 2-of-4. Gabe Cupps looked confident stepping into one early in the half. Anthony Leal hit another out of the left corner. Johnson added Indiana’s fifth. And though it was low volume, the Hoosiers made all four of their free throws.

Add it all up and Indiana was down 43-33 at half. And just over two minutes into the second half, that number became 16 on a Young and-1.

But from there?

Indiana made its next 11 baskets and 12 straight, en route to ripping off a 48-27 run to close the contest. What was once that 16-point deficit turned into an 11-point advantage before settling at a five-point victory. It was a team effort as Galloway, Mgbako, Johnson, Ware and Malik Reneau all scored during that 11-basket barrage. Mgbako kept it going from deep, hitting 4-of-8 for the contest and 8-of-15 overall for a season-high 24 points. Of those 24, 18 came over the final 20 minutes. Ware didn’t get his first basket of the game until the 13:51 mark, but scored nine in the second half, including a breakaway dunk in transition and an alley-oop finish from Galloway. Ware and Galloway got it going more in ball-screen action in the second half, as Galloway also hit some floaters. He had 10 points over the final 20 minutes.

Indiana also clamped down more defensively and scored 13 points off Maryland’s seven second-half turnovers.

And then there was Johnson.

It’s been a rough season for Indiana’s point guard with all the missed time due to injuries. He’s struggled to find his footing. But he was a big key to this afternoon’s win. He dished out a team-high six assists, and most importantly, that came against just one turnover. Johnson played in control and made good reads. He also added 13 points on a strong 5-of-7 shooting mark.

If you can believe it, this is Indiana’s first time with back-to-back wins since December.

But hey, after a lot of outside noise and criticism, Indiana had a good week of basketball.

It’s not enough to make up for everything this season, but a tip of a hat to this team for turning it up in the second half and snagging a Big Ten road win.

(Photo credit: IU Athletics)

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