Indiana’s five game winning streak came to an end today in College Park with a 66-55 loss to a Maryland team that has yet to lose a conference game at the Xfinity Center. After fine starts in each half, the wheels fell off pretty quickly for the Hoosiers.
Maryland threw a bunch of defensive looks at Indiana, often switching from zone to man between possessions and sending help from different spots on the floor. The Terrapins have a lot of long, athletic forwards who can make scoring in the paint difficult for anyone not named Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Like I said in the preview, Indiana would have needed strong, disciplined performances from its wings and bigs to win tonight. It got neither and the Hoosiers predictably dropped their first game since January 11th.
Here’s Three Things:
A big part of Indiana’s five game winning streak was the rotating cast of players who stepped up for Race Thompson, Xavier Johnson, and Jordan Geronimo, who have all missed games recently. Getting Race back made it seem like the team had finally weathered the storm, but then Geronimo re-aggravated a calf injury and has missed the last two games.
Without Xavier Johnson, Jalen Hood-Schifino has simply not had the room to have “freshman” games, like he did tonight. Even highly-touted, five-star guards like Hood-Schifino are bound to struggle on the road, forcing shots when the early ones don’t fall.
Against Minnesota, Indiana was able to survive a cold shooting night from Hood-Schifino because Minnesota is That Bad. Maryland, on the other hand, is not that bad, and made Indiana suffer with its freshman point guard.
The Geronimo injury has also led to a huge load increase for Malik Reneau, who had a freshman game himself after a couple of strong performances. Race is clearly not 100%, so it hurt Indiana even more that the two freshman played like freshman tonight.
Maryland is 13th in the country in D-1 experience, so they were the perfect team to put the pressure on Woodson’s younger guys and take advantage of the mental mistakes the Hoosiers made.
More Milestones for Trayce
Trayce joined Kent Benson, Walt Bellamy, and Alan Henderson as the fourth player in Indiana history to reach 1000 rebounds, bringing down 20 tonight against Maryland. Per Jeff Rabjohns, he also became the first player to ever record 20 in a single game at the Xfinity Center.
In addition to the rebounds, he had 18 points, an assist, and a block on a night where he struggled to hit some of his normal shots. With Hood-Schifino struggling, Trayce wasn’t getting his usual touches and couldn’t find a real rhythm on the offensive end with all of the different looks Kevin Willard threw at him.
He still managed to keep Indiana in the game with his rebounding, which included 15 on the defensive end, three times as many as any other Hoosier. No other forward on Indiana had more than a single defensive rebound, which is staggering considering how many shots Maryland missed tonight (35!!).
No Perimeter Offense
Indiana is the 22nd best 3-point shooting team in the country, percentage-wise, compared to Maryland’s 325th. The Terrapins still took twice as many threes as Indiana tonight, making just 22% of them to outscore Indiana 15-9 from deep.
Of Indiana’s 11 threes, two came from Race, who is shooting 25% from deep this year. Tamar Bates, who is shooting 41% from behind the arc, took zero. Even Hood-Schifino, who took about 10 running floaters, attempted just two shots from deep after his lights-out shooting night against Ohio State.
Not every team will be able to execute a zone the way Maryland and Rutgers can, but teams will try. Indiana needs to start creating more open shots on the outside when the double inevitably comes on Trayce Jackson-Davis.
I’d also like to see Tamar or Galloway create more shots for themselves off the dribble, especially when Jalen struggles the way he did tonight. The two combined for just eight points tonight and each had some layups swatted when they tried to bring the ball inside.
Tonight’s loss is far from the end of the world though and hopefully can serve as a wake up call to get the team ready for no. 1 Purdue this Saturday. The win streak had to end at some point, and I’m personally glad it came against Maryland instead of Purdue.