Faced with a tough situation in the closing minutes at home against Maryland, Indiana did not let down pulling away with a close victory over the Terrapins 71-68.
After injuring an ankle in the Hoosiers loss to Michigan State, Juwan Morgan was considered questionable and didn’t know how he could perform. Morgan provided more than IU could have expected, scoring 25 points, and coming through big down the stretch with five points in the final 2:30 of the game with everything on the line. In addition, Morgan had 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks while playing great defense to keep Indiana in the game from the opening tip down to the final buzzer.
Robert Johnson added 12 points on 5-12 shooting from the field along with 8 rebounds and 2 steals. Justin Smith matched Robert’s scoring total with 12 points of his own but from 6-8 shooting. Zach McRoberts and Devonte Green chipped in 7 points each.
After Maryland up 5-3 early making shots consistently, Indiana would go on to score the next nine unanswered points to go up 12-5 at the 14:31 mark. After not gaining any separation, Maryland started to take charge leading 39-36 in the final two minutes. IU surged back with a 6-0 run to recapture the lead at halftime, outscoring the Terrapins 42-39.
The second half would contain several lead changes and scoring runs with the ball game on the line in the final three minutes. Up by just one point with 2:34 left in the game, Indiana extended their lead to four points after made free throws for a solid advantage going into the final minute. Maryland would hit a three to turn the Hoosiers lead into just one point again with 1:06 left in the game. Juwan Morgan responded rebounding one of Josh Newkirk’s free throw misses with 38 seconds and putting it back up for a layup to extend their lead back to three points.
Maryland once again would have a response hitting a layup with 16 seconds left forcing Newkirk to go back to the line after a foul. That time with 15 seconds left, he converted both free throw attempts making it nearly impossible for the Terrapins to come back and tie or possibly win. At the final buzzer, IU would come out victorious after tying the scoring in the second half 29-29.
As a team, Indiana shot the ball fairly well outpacing Maryland. IU shot 28-56 (50.0%) from the field, 6-18 (33.3%) from distance, and 9-16 (56.3%) from the free throw line. Although it did not hurt the Hoosiers, they lost the Battle for Boards with 28 total rebounds compared to Maryland’s 39. Indiana was on point everywhere else, finishing with 12 assists, 10 steals, and 8 blocks.
The Hoosiers improve to 12-8 this season and 5-3 in the Big Ten. Indiana has been capable of winning games more frequently, with this win being their sixth in the last eight games.
Indiana will travel to Champaign to face Illinois on Wednesday night at 9:00 PM Eastern. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.