Terps Complete Sweep Of Indiana; Prepare For Iowa Next
Picking up its second straight road win in the Big Ten, No. 17 Maryland (16-4, 6-3 Big Ten) won its first game at Assembly Hall in the Mark Turgeon era with a thrilling 77-76 victory Jan. 26 over Indiana (15-5, 5-4).
Terps sophomore forward Jalen ‘Stix’ Smith bested the 25-point career-high he set the game prior against Northwestern and netted 29 against the Hoosiers. Smith also ripped down 11 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season to propel Maryland to victory.
Smith wasted no time getting going. He hit two early threes and scored 11 of Maryland’s first 22 points of the game. Turgeon said after the game that he has seen more confidence from Smith as well as his entire roster as of late, and it showed with the way they shot the ball in the first half.
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The Terps started 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and finished the first half 9-for-17 on their three-point attempts. The hot shooting helped Maryland enter halftime with a 45-36 lead, marking the most points the Terps have scored in the first half of a Big Ten game this season.
Maryland’s open shots in the first half were facilitated by crisp ball movement. The Terps dished out 11 assists on their first 14 buckets with six of those dimes coming from sophomore guard Eric Ayala.
However, the script was flipped in the second half, and a game that looked like the Terps might run away with turned into a nailbiter.
Maryland led by as much as 14 points in the first half, but Indiana used ball movement and deep-range shooting of its own to claw back into the contest. The Hoosiers started the second half on an 11-1 run that eventually led to them leading by one less than six minutes after halftime concluded.
Indiana also had success shooting from three in the first half, hitting 6-of-9 attempts. But, unlike the Terps who shot 3-for-12 from three after halftime, the Hoosiers’ range carried over to the second half, which helped them maintain a lead until the final minute of the game.
The turning point for the Terps came in a late-game sequence where they closed the game out on a 10-2 run.
After senior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. hit just his second three of the game to pull Maryland within four and Smith converted a layup on the Terps’ next possession, sophomore wing Aaron Wiggins hit a contested three-pointer with 55 seconds left on the clock that made it a one-point game. Smith then sealed the deal after receiving a well-place entry pass into the post from Cowan and finishing with a game-winning bucket with 14.5 seconds remaining.
The game ended with Indiana getting one last possession to get the win at home. The Hoosiers succeeded in getting the ball into their best player’s hands. But freshman wing Trayce Jackson-Davis was unable to convert despite getting a good look from just a few feet away from the basket.
The Terps now get set to head home for their next game, a rematch against an Iowa team that beat them handedly in Iowa City earlier this month.
The Hawkeyes are riding high on a four-game winning streak that started with their victory over Maryland. Fran McCaffery’s squad is currently playing its best ball of the season, but it will enter a visiting arena that the Terps have yet to lose at this season.
In their first meeting, sophomore guard Joe Wieskamp was the hero for the Hawkeyes. He netted a game-high 26 points and hit five threes while also ripping down 11 boards. Washington, D.C., native Luka Garza also did damage to the Terps, recording a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double.
The contest in Iowa City was never much in doubt as Iowa ran away to an 18-point victory, but the Terps have seemed to turn a corner since that eye-opening loss.
Maryland has won three of its four games since losing to the Hawkeyes and are 11-0 at home so far this year. It’s shaping up to be the perfect spot for Turgeon’s team to avenge its worst loss of the season, especially if Smith can continue his hot streak.
Smith has been virtually unguardable in his last two outings and one of the Big Ten’s best shooters from three since league play started. He’s getting it done on the perimeter and in the paint, but Smith will certainly have his hands full with Garza, who leads the conference in scoring (23.2 PPG).
The District native seems to always have a little extra fire when he plays against his hometown team, but Turgeon has been receiving better minutes from sophomore forward Ricky Lindo Jr. as of late, which should help Smith and the Terps’ efforts guarding the low post.
The combination of Lindo and Smith helped hold Indiana center Joey Brunk, who had been playing some of his best ball recently, to just six points and three rebounds Sunday afternoon. But Garza is a different animal and is coming off of a 28-point, 13-rebound performance against Rutgers.
Wieskamp has also remained hot for the Hawkeyes, scoring in double-figures in 10 straight games, including 18 in his last outing against the Scarlet Knights. Wieskamp is currently fourth in the Big Ten in three-pointers made and three-point field goal percentage.
Maryland is always charged up by itsh home crowd, but Thursday night’s game against Iowa could see Xfinity Center have a little extra juice, as it’s the first game since students returned to College Park from winter break.
Looking to extend its winning streak to four games and remain within the top three teams in the Big Ten, Maryland will host the Hawkeyes for an 8:30 p.m. tip-off. The game will be broadcast on the Maryland Sports Radio Network and televised on Big Ten Network.
Pat has been covering sports in the DMV area since 2012. He is a former Washington Redskins beat reporter for PressBoxDC.com and has been covering University of Maryland football and basketball recruiting and daily beats for Rivals.com's Terrapin Sports Report since 2013. Pat graduated from College Park with his master's degree in journalism and has received bylines in publications such as USA TODAY Sports, The Philadelphia Inquirer, SB Nation, and Yahoo! Sports. A Philadelphia native, Pat enjoys fishing, golfing, and playing fantasy sports when he's not covering or watching a game.