We got the effort we wanted, just not the result. That's the best game Indiana has played in a month and they are favored in every remaining game. ONTO THE LEARNINGS:
- This team is starting to show some guts. They may not be able to do it with any predictable consistency, but Indiana competed at a high-level all night against a good team in a tough environment. In similar spots on the road against Michigan State, Ohio State, and Purdue, Indiana got knocked down early and were thoroughly unable to pull themselves up off the mat and claw back into the game. Maryland came out and put the Hoosiers in an early hole but they were able to climb out, and play a seesaw game the rest of the way. They gave themselves a chance to win in the end and that's all you ask for in a spot like this.
- You can't miss layups and dunks on the road and expect to win the game. Indiana actually got a passable performance out of their defense tonight but were suddenly inept at converting some of the most high-percentage shots in basketball. Troy Williams couldn't flush two dunks and untold amounts of point-blank layups were missed by the entire roster. There's no mystery here, you have to hit the bunnies or no amount of long-range shots will be able to save you.
- Hanner Mosquera-Perea looked pretty good in limited action. They must have sent him to the same knee specialist that Collin Hartman saw, because HMP came back from his injury looking like a far more fluid and confident player than before his injury. The sample size is still incredibly small, but early returns look good for a team in desperate need of some help in the paint.
- Yogi Ferrell is a got-damn lion and this program is better because he's here. With JBJ and RoJo in a shooting funk, Yogi had to revert to something closer to the 2013-14 version of himself to keep Indiana in the game, and Christ Almighty did he ever do that. He picked up right where he left off from the first meeting, shredding Maryland from behind the arc and making the defense pay attention to him at the benefit of everyone else on the roster. Yes, he had a wide open Troy Williams underneath the basket at the end, but anyone who thinks Yogi taking that shot is a "bad play"is lying. That was a white-hot shooter with a straight-on shot to win the game, left wide open by a Maryland defense that apparently wasn't doing much of anything, given that IU's two big offensive threats had no one in their vicinity as the clock wound down. The miss and the subsequent miss on the follow up prayer visibly ripped his heart out and I don't think I've ever felt so bad for a player. He has done more than enough to deserve that moment and just couldn't get one to fall. He'll bounce back because, as I said: he's a got-damn lion and this program is better because he's here.