The Maryland men's basketball team can only hope that its third trip to this basketball-crazy state over a two-week span will be the charm rather than the uphill challenge the past two have been.
Eight days after falling behind by 16 points early in the first half and losing a close game to then-No. 20 Purdue at Mackey Arena, the No. 14 Terps returned Sunday to find out not much had changed in the Hoosier State.
Actually, things got worse against the Hoosiers.
Maryland watched its four-point lead over No. 12 Indiana with less than 11 minutes left in the first half turn into a 13-point deficit by halftime and eventually a disheartening 80-62 loss before a sellout senior day crowd at historic Assembly Hall.
It was Maryland's most one-sided defeat this season and punctuated the outright Big Ten Conference regular-season championship that Indiana (25-6, 15-3) had clinched with a win at Iowa on Tuesday.
Unlike the game against the Boilermakers, when Maryland (24-7, 12-6) had a chance to win after erasing a 10-point deficit with a little more than four minutes left to tie the game, the Terps never got closer than nine points in the second half.
"They were good. We kept battling. We cut it to nine or 10 there. We just didn't finish the first half and we didn't finish the second half right," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "They're very good, very fast. Their speed gave us problems."
It was particularly noticeable in Maryland's transition defense.
After getting off to a solid start and taking leads of 10-2, 12-4, 18-12 and 22-18, the Terps watched the Hoosiers turn missed shots into a succession of fast-break layups, dunks and 3-pointers.
Even when Indiana was missing, the Hoosiers were typically beating the Terps to position inside for tip-ins or other second-chance opportunities. The Hoosiers finished the half on a 23-6 run, then scored the first four points after halftime.
Along with junior forward Troy Williams' 3-pointer right before halftime, there was redshirt senior Nick Zeisloft saving a ball from going out of bounds in the second half, then throwing it 50 feet over his head to a streaking Juwan Morgan for a layup.
"I've watched a lot of film on Indiana; that's who they are," Turgeon said. "They play with toughness, they make great plays, they hustle, they play hard. They've got dynamic players and they made dynamic plays."
Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Yogi Ferrell wasn't as dynamic Sunday as he was against the Terps last season, but the senior guard finished with a solid 17-point performance in his final home game.
Unfortunately for the Terps, the often-enigmatic Williams was sensational. Not only did he score a game-high 23 points, he also had two blocks, a steal and a couple of acrobatic drives and highlight-reel dunks.
Said Indiana coach Tom Crean: "Troy played like he was shot out of a cannon."
For Maryland, only sophomore point guard Melo Trimble played reasonably well for anything more than a short burst, finishing with 17 points on 7-for-17 shooting.
Indiana collapsed on junior forward Robert Carter Jr. (14 points) and freshman center Diamond Stone (12 points) nearly every time they touched the ball, forcing them to take tough shots or pass the ball out to the perimeter, where the Terps missed 15 of of their 23 3-pointers.
Trailing 32-28 late in the first half after a 3-pointer by Trimble, the Terps were outscored 9-0 before halftime.
"It was a combination of things — we got a little fatigued, we weren't tough enough mentally during that stretch," Turgeon said. "We missed some open looks, we missed some layups, we couldn't get to the foul line. The last three of four minutes of the first half we stopped guarding."
Said Trimble: "I thought we just couldn't make any shots. Basketball is a game of runs. We just couldn't make any shots. Everything was working well. We were playing great defense, we were fighting for good shots, we just couldn't make them."
Coming off a 26-point win Thursday night at home over Illinois, Maryland seemed to lose both its legs and its focus for stretches in both halves. Each time the Terps would get close to single digits, the Hoosiers made plays to extend their lead.
Asked whether it was mental or physical fatigue that caused Maryland to fall apart, Turgeon said: "I think it was a combination of both. They were able to sub a little more than I am able to. We've got to get a little bit tougher in those situations."
The loss was the fourth in six games for the Terps to close out the regular season. Maryland will return for its quarterfinal-round game of the Big Ten tournament Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
With Wisconsin's loss to Purdue on Sunday night, Maryland earned the third seed and likely will play the sixth-seeded Badgers next.
"Everything's 0-0. The season starts, just another start-over right now," Trimble said. "Everyone's going to the tournament 0-0. We've got to look forward ahead and don't look back."