From an increasingly worrisome post problem to the absence of a key leader, here are three takeaways from the Maryland men’s basketball team’s 63-55 loss to Indiana on Monday night.
Maryland’s post defense is becoming more troublesome with games against Iowa and Illinois looming.
For a second straight game, Maryland failed to limit an opposing team’s top big man. Four days after Michigan center Hunter Dickinson exploded for a career-high 26 points and 11 rebounds, Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half as the Hoosiers erased a 10-point deficit. Jackson-Davis added 15 rebounds against a Terps team that was out-rebounded 43-33.
Maryland’s lack of size has been well-documented but it has become more glaring as the team continues conference play. In their past two games, the Terps have been out-rebounded by 16 and outscored in the paint by 32.
On Monday night, Maryland attempted to switch to a zone defense to disrupt an Indiana offense that awoke after a dormant first half, but it had little impact. The Terps failed to grab key rebounds and were outmuscled in the paint. Senior forward Galin Smith fouled out with five minutes remaining, further thinning the team’s frontcourt.
Over the next two games, the Terps will face Iowa’s Luka Garza (6-11) and Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn (7-0), a pair of big men who are nearly averaging double doubles. Turgeon has committed to play his best players, regardless of height, but Maryland doesn’t appear to have an answer for either player.
“I think we’ve just got to fight more,” senior guard Reese Mona said. “No matter what lineup, whether it’s small lineup, bigger lineup, I think we’ve got to fight more, box [out] on the boards. But we’ll learn from that and be more physical on the boards and box out and try to win those battles in the future.”
Maryland’s offense reverted to its stagnant ways.
The Terps offense had made considerable strides since the Clemson game, but against Indiana, it once again lacked ball movement and dribble penetration as players settled for contested outside shots. It a was a bit alarming that Maryland only led by six points after a first half in which Indiana missed all nine of its 3-point attempts and shot 30% from the field. But that was because of the Terps’ own struggles on offense, shooting 38.5% from the field.
As the Hoosiers picked up steam in the second half and made shots, the Terps couldn’t respond, going scoreless for six minutes. Monday night’s game was the first time all season that Indiana held a Big Ten opponent to under one point per possession.
“It’s an everyday fight with me with this team,” Turgeon said of the team’s offense.
“Offensively, I think we needed to cut harder, move our bodies more, just swing it more,” Mona said. “Because once we swing the ball a few times, it’s much harder to guard our defense.”
When things started to fall apart, Maryland could have used Darryl Morsell.
It’s difficult to describe the impact of senior guard Darryl Morsell solely through his stat line. The Mount Saint Joseph product has taken on so many roles throughout his Maryland career, and again this season.
As Turgeon said after the game, the Terps were more than capable of beating the Hoosiers without Morsell, who is recovering from surgery to fix a fractured bone in his face. But as Maryland’s lead whittled and the team struggled late, Morsell’s absence was highlighted.
On a night in which Maryland didn’t receive much offensively outside of junior guard Aaron Wiggins’ career-high 22 points and the team lacked physicality on the defensive end, the team’s leader certainly could have provided a spark.
“We had enough players,” Turgeon said. “We’ve just got to compete a little more. That’s who we were, that was our team tonight.”
NO. 5 IOWA@MARYLAND
Thursday, 7 p.m.
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