New Year, same offensive struggles as Maryland gets hosed by Hoosiers late 63-55

Welcome to Indiana basketball. Despite being up early and playing tough throughout the game, Maryland fell to Indiana 63-55.

Maryland and Indiana entered Monday’s Big 10 contest at Assembly hall with identical 6-4 records and remarkably close team statistics in every major statistical category, including points, rebounds, assists, and steals per contest with Maryland leading the all time series record 8-6, with Maryland winning on this day last year in a blowout 75-59 and most memorably in “the kids have done it” National Championship game in 2002 when Maryland won 64-52. 

Maryland would be without defensive specialist and senior captain Darryl Morsell with a facial fracture. According to doctors, he is not set to return for 1-2 weeks. Maryland would be have four star freshman James Graham III eligible to play in his first game after finishing high school early and enrolling for the spring semester. Maryland fans are hoping that the scoring sensation will bring some much-needed consistency on the offensive end of the court. 

Indiana entered the game after an overtime victory against Penn State 87-85. Trayce Jackson-Davis, an Indiana native, enters the matchup as the leading scoring and rebounding threat for the Hoosiers averaging over twenty points and eight rebounds per game. Only a sophomore, Jackson-Davis has easily been the team’s best player this season with most of his effectiveness coming near the rim. 

However, Trayce Jackson-Davis is not the only sophomore standout on the floor, as Maryland’s Donta Scott has become increasingly more integral of his team’s success throughout the season. Despite the loss to Michigan, Scott was the offensive highlight real scoring an impressive nineteen points and going a perfect 5-of-5 from distance. 

Maryland would need an inspired effort against the Hoosiers. Eric Ayala would need to keep his strength in the dribble and if they had a prayer of winning the game, they would need to do it keeping pace on offense and without Morsell.

Hakim Hart started in place and looked prepared early as he nailed a deep three on an early possession. While they missed Morsells defensive leadership, Harts ability to score from outside seemed to open up driving lanes for Wiggins, Ayala, and Scott. 

On the defensive end, Maryland smothered Jackson-Davis every time he touched the ball forcing him away from the basket to shoot mid range jumpers and ill advised shot selections early in the contest. 

Both teams came out misfiring, but Maryland found that Assembly hall had the exact same measurements of Xfinity Center seven minutes into the game and gained some offensive confidence to give them a 16-6 lead after Wiggins connected on a parking lot three, Gailin Smith showed great footwork on a up and under, and Jairus Hamilton went coast to coast for an and one. 

James Graham III made his Terps debut and saw the floor for the first time this season, but was uneventful in his limited time on the court.

The Hoosiers would not get caught watching the paint dry as they battled back on both ends of the court as they tied the game up 18-18. Race Thompson would have nine points and seven rebounds with five minutes to play in the first half for Indiana. 

Both teams struggled from distance in the first half as Maryland shot 4-of-13 and Indiana went 1-of-10. The biggest difference in the first half was the transition game for Maryland as they scored nine points off of turnovers while the Hoosiers only wrangled one to allow Maryland the 27-21 halftime lead. 

Maryland would open the half effectively on the offensive end, with Ayla becoming more aggressive hitting another transition three and driving towards the basket. However, Rob Phinisee saw his team getting out of reach and was able to cut through the Maryland defense and dish to Jackson-Davis in which he was able to finally break the Maryland double team and throw down a thunderous one handed dunk in an attempt to spark the Hoosier offense. 

Indiana would go on a 8-0 run until Hakim Heart was able to break the streak getting fouled on a shot from the three point arc. The games momentum seemed to shift towards Indiana while continuing to teeter back and forth in an evenly matched battle of Big 10 opponents. 

Maryland would break first and Maryland fans hoped that similarly to their National Championship game, down to Indiana with under ten minutes to play in the game they would come back. In that game, Juan Dixon would take over to help Maryland win the NCAA Championship, but tonight Maryland could not find their Juan Dixon, despite Aaron Wiggins best efforts.

The shell would continue to crack for Maryland as their timing and rhythm on offense broke down, forcing guards to make individual efforts late in the shot clock. Defensively they struggled to keep pace with Trayce Jackson-Davis after containing him for the majority of the game, where he would finish with 22 points.

Ultimately, Indiana was able to put their hands in the bag and take out the rock. They were able to sling the rock and use their Phinisee as Maryland fell to the ground.  

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