It was a tale of two halves for Indiana Friday night in College Park, as the Hoosiers struggled to carry over their first half momentum into the final twenty minutes. The frontcourt duo for the Terrapins were expected to be a huge load for the Hoosiers to handle, and indeed Indiana struggled mightily to contain Maryland’s big man, Bruno Fernando.
The game started out well for the Hoosiers, as Indiana raced out 14-2 lead just over four minutes into the half. The early defensive showing for the Hoosiers was spectacular, as Indiana routinely forced Maryland into tough shots and completed the possession by securing the defensive rebound.
Unfortunately, things started to turn ugly for the Hoosiers towards the end of the first half. Indiana struggled to keep their men in front of them and were unable to keep the Terrapins off the glass. Maryland was able to grab 18 offensive rebounds, as well as out rebound the Hoosiers 42 to 25 over the course of the game. Fernando proved nearly impossible to handle, racking up 25 points and 13 rebounds on 11-of-12 shooting from the field.
The defensive showing for the Hoosiers in the second half is going to be a huge area of concern for Archie Miller and his staff as he tries to evaluate this game. After a good showing in the first half, holding the Terrapins to just 27 points on .85 points per possession, Maryland was able to get into a rhythm in the second half. The Terrapins scored 51 points over the final twenty minutes on a concerning 1.59 points per possession mark. The Hoosiers just couldn’t find a way to consistently get stops, and the possessions they did manage to get a stop often resulted in an offensive rebound.
Offensively, Indiana built on an impressive showing in their Sunday loss to Michigan, and continued to show much needed growth on that end. The Hoosiers put up a solid 1.17 points per possession mark against the Terrapins and were also able to go an impressive 16-of-16 from the free-throw line, a significant improvement for a team that performed poorly from the free-throw line early in the season. Romeo Langford also had arguably his best game as a Hoosier, putting up 28 points and knocking down a trio of shots from behind the arc. However, Indiana struggled to get offensive production off the bench, with a pair of Rob Phinisee free-throws accounting for the only two bench points for the team.
Indiana won’t have much time to dwell on their disappointing second half because Nebraska will travel to Bloomington for a Monday night showdown that should be an important game as the balance of the Big Ten schedule unfolds. Indiana will seek to avoid a third straight loss, and Nebraska should provide a good challenge for the Hoosiers.