Maryland’s 10-point advantage with about 15 minutes remaining disappeared quickly. Five minutes later, the Hoosiers had already pushed ahead. Jackson-Davis asserted his dominance as the game progressed, and Maryland struggled down the stretch with a six-minute scoring drought.
Jackson-Davis entered Monday averaging 20.1 points, fifth best in the Big Ten. He missed his first five field goal attempts but generated a burst of offense in the second half, finishing with 22 points on 9-for-18 shooting. The sophomore forward sparked the Hoosiers with 17 points in the second half. Jackson-Davis grabbed 15 rebounds, and Race Thompson added 11. The Hoosiers won the battle in the paint and scored 14 second-chance points.
“It really just came down to rebounding,” Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon said. “We just got our tails kicked on the boards. … And that was the difference.”
Maryland guard Aaron Wiggins matched Jackson-Davis’s scoring output with a career-high 22 points, shooting with the confidence Maryland needs from him while also adding 10 rebounds and a pair of assists. But the Terps (6-5, 1-4 Big Ten) couldn’t find a response to Indiana’s late push, leaving Maryland with yet another conference loss and a daunting slate of games ahead.
The Hoosiers shot only 37.3 percent from the field, making only 4 of 22 attempts from three-point range. Maryland wasn’t much better, shooting 38.5 percent and just 7 for 25 from beyond the arc.
Maryland navigated its trip to Assembly Hall without senior guard Darryl Morsell, who had surgery Friday to repair a fractured bone in his face. Morsell suffered the injury last week when the elbow of Michigan guard Franz Wagner hit him in the face during the Terps’ loss against the Wolverines. Morsell is expected to be out for one to two weeks, and the Terps still have matchups against No. 5 Iowa and No. 12 Illinois on the schedule this week.
Morsell’s absence leaves the Terps without a four-year starter who is the team’s best defender and respected leader. Even without him, the Terps’ biggest issue wasn’t their defense. “We obviously tonight weren’t good enough offensively.,” Turgeon said.
The loss marked the second straight game Maryland lost a second-half lead. Maryland still had a one-point advantage after Wiggins’s two free throws with 10:20 to go, but then Indiana went on a 13-2 run, including a stretch of eight straight points from Jackson-Davis, to seal the outcome.
“If we don’t have Darryl, we have to find someone else to step up in those times, bring us together and just tell us, ‘Relax,’” senior guard Reese Mona said. “Darryl, he’s a senior. He’s been in every situation, so when games start turning the other way, just stop, gather ourselves, flip it and get our momentum going.”
Sophomore guard Hakim Hart started for the third time in his career in Morsell’s place, and his 10 points marked the first time in Big Ten play he had reached double figures.
Indiana’s offense endured a dreadful first half, during which the Hoosiers shot just 30 percent and missed all nine attempts from three-point range. Beginning about two minutes into the game, the Hoosiers had a stretch in which they missed 11 of 12 shots, a lull that included a five-minute scoring drought. After Indiana’s cold spell, Maryland had grabbed a 10-point lead, a margin trimmed to 27-21 by halftime.
“They had a little bit of size and length on us, but we just weren’t tough enough to box out,” Wiggins said. “We weren’t physical enough down low in the second half.”
Maryland’s James Graham III, a 6-foot-8 forward, made his college debut after arriving on campus a week ago. Graham previously planned to join the team as part of the 2021 recruiting class, but he instead chose to enroll early. He will still have a full four seasons of eligibility remaining after the NCAA’s decision to grant athletes eligibility relief because of how the pandemic has altered sports this season.
Despite limited practice time, Graham played four minutes against the Hoosiers, thrust into action sooner than perhaps expected because of Morsell’s injury. Graham committed a turnover in the second half that led to Jackson-Davis’s thunderous dunk in transition, which extended the Hoosiers’ lead to four.
Maryland forward Galin Smith fouled out with about five minutes to go, leaving the Terps’ already thin frontcourt in trouble. Maryland relied on a small lineup in the final minutes of the game, and the Hoosiers continued to cruise, pushing what was a double-digit deficit into a forceful victory.
“We’ve got to be better,” Wiggins said, “because the way we’re playing right now isn’t getting it done.”