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No. 22 Indiana at Maryland Recap: Notes and observations from Indiana’s 78-75 loss

The Hoosiers threw away a chance at a huge win with an abysmal second half.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the season when it comes time for Selection Sunday, tonight will be one of the nights that we look back on say “damn, we really could have used that one.” After a first half showing in which Indiana looked about as good as they had all year for stretches, the Hoosiers laid a complete egg in the second half en route to an eventual 78-75 loss.

It was a huge missed opportunity for a rare road win in the Big Ten, and the Jekyll & Hyde nature of this team makes it all the more frustrating.

Rather than highlight three things like normal recaps have been, here’s just some general notes and observations throughout the course of the game. There was too much from this game to narrow it down to three reasons why Indiana lost. Enjoy.

  • How a team starts a game makes such a significant difference in how the rest of the game plays out. We saw how a slow start derailed the Hoosiers against Michigan on Sunday. Tonight, the Hoosiers raced out to a 9-0 lead which really set the tone for the rest of the half. More of that please.
  • The interior defense was tremendous to start the game. Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith are as tough of a frontcourt that Indiana will face this season. Juwan Morgan and Justin Smith defended them great, particularly with the use of double teams and dig-ins. Ten offensive rebounds in the first half is a lot, but Maryland is among the best in the country on the offensive glass.
  • Devonte Green threw an entry pass from one wing to the opposite block on one possession. Not sure if there’s video of it out there, but it’s another example of how creative of a passer he can be.
  • It’s nice having Rob Phinisee back. The sooner he gets back to normal, the better.
  • Closing halves and games is just as important as starting them. Indiana had a double-digit lead late in the first half that was down to five at one point. Al Durham hit a three with 30 seconds to go, and Juwan Morgan blocked an attempt at the rim to maintain an eight point lead heading into the locker room. Little five point swings like that make a huge difference over the course of a game.
  • Raw first half efficiency numbers: 1.167 points per possession on offense, 0.818 PPP on defense.
  • De’Ron Davis and Evan Fitzner should probably never be on the floor at the same time like they were late in the first half tonight. That’s just asking to get torched on the defensive end. Davis definitely isn’t healthy either. Watching him move is painful.
  • While we’re on topic, Fitzner has been a huge disappointment this year and probably shouldn’t be playing major Big Ten minutes.
  • Remember those slow starts we talked about? That goes for the second half too. A 16-0 run out of the locker room shouldn’t happen under any circumstances.
  • Indiana’s offense can be so painful to watch when it doesn’t involve dumping it in to Juwan and having him go get a bucket.
  • I don’t like ragging on one single player, but Fitzner was horrendous early in the second half. There was one particular possession in which he had multiple chances to make any semblance of an effort for a rebound, but it didn’t even look like he got off the floor.
  • The Friday night games are dumb. I get why they happen, but they’re dumb. Jim Delany still sucks.
  • Tim Brando also sucks. BUHHHHHH YOU GOTTA PUT FISCH ON!!!!!!! No. It’s not worth the effort, and complaining about mundane things like the broadcast crew is therapeutic after watching a game like this.
  • Not great!
  • Seriously somebody please grab a rebound. As of typing this (62-51), Maryland had 17 (!!) offensive rebounds.
  • Maryland used hard hedges with their bigs to slow Romeo’s drives on pick-and-rolls but went under the screen on almost every other player. I found that mildly interesting.
  • Bruno Fernando’s banked in three gave me Brian Butch flashbacks.
  • Retweet if you scored as many points as Indiana’s bench tonight. Everybody should be retweeting. EDITORS NOTE: Rob scored with seven seconds left and ruined the joke.
  • Maryland might be the worst matchup for Indiana in terms of just the personnel they bring to the table. Fernando is an absolute animal and it’s going to be hard to corral him with just Juwan, which is why Indiana’s lack of depth in the frontcourt is even more debilitating.
  • A good way to ensure you don’t come back is to wind the shot clock down on defense and then commit a foul with three seconds left on the shot clock.
  • Romeo was fantastic tonight. Road games in the Big Ten are brutal, especially for freshmen. He was the only reason this one was as close at it was, particularly down the stretch in the second half.
  • Indiana needs to win at least two of these next three games: vs. Nebraska, at Purdue, at Northwestern.
  • Two bench points tonight. TWO.
  • Shoulda had this one, but couldn’t quite get over the hump in the second half. Oh well. On to Nebraska.