Here is an analysis of Thursday’s impressive 89-70 Indiana victory over No. 8 Maryland at Assembly Hall. The win improved the No. 23 Hoosiers to 15-4 overall and 5-1 in Big Ten play and moved IU into a first place tie with Wisconsin. This analysis is a regular part of our AllHoosiers.com coverage of Indiana basketball this season.
WHAT LOOKED GOOD:You could rattle off a string of adjectives to describe this performance. Undoubtedly, it was Indiana’s best game of the season. Yes, Maryland shot better than 50 percent from the field and also knocked down 10 3-pointers, but Indiana’s offense was clearly so efficient that none of those shooting numbers for the Terrapins mattered. Maryland did all of that – and lost by 19. Indiana was on fire from 3-point range. The Hoosiers made 15-of-22 from distance. Yogi Ferrell was 7-of-8 from 3-point range by himself and James Blackmon Jr. was 3-for-5 from distance. But it was more than just shooting well from beyond the arc. Indiana made 60 percent of its shots for the game and 72 percent in the second half. IU hit 18-of-25 second-half shots including 9-of-11 from 3-point range. The offense was simply efficient. The Hoosiers were getting good shots all game. IU just seemed a step quicker getting to the rim and repeatedly drove the ball past Maryland defenders. Another major positive for Indiana was that every time Maryland would mount any kind of a run, Indiana would have an immediate answer. And late in the game when the Hoosiers were trying to maintain a lead, they did just that. The stepped on Maryland’s throat and didn’t allow the Terrapins back into the game like they had in other games this season. IU also had a 27-24 rebounding advantage and only allowed Maryland six offensive rebounds and nine second chance points despite a considerable height advantage. IU also didn’t allow Maryland to get to the free throw line. IU had a 14-6 edge in free throws made. Maryland is one of the best free throw shooting teams in the Big Ten. And a final note: The most points Maryland had allowed in a game this season was 77. The most points it had allowed in a Big Ten game was 66. IU scored 89. Enough said.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:The thing that jumps out is Maryland’s shooting percentage but Indiana seemed to have enough defensive stops, too. But The Terrapins shot 50.9 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. Maryland also managed 32 points in the paint. But Indiana did more than enough good things to win this game going away.
IT WAS RAINING THREE’S:: Indiana made 15 3-pointers Thursday which is the second most in the Tom Crean Era of IU basketball. But what was most impressive was the 3-point shooting percentage. The Hoosiers made 15-of-22 shots from beyond the arc. That’s 68.2 percent. That’s the best 3-point percentage in a game since IU made 75 percent on 9-of-12 against Mount St. Mary’s in the 2012-13 season. But in a Big Ten game? This is the best 3-point shooting percentage in a conference game since 2001 against Wisconsin. IU shot 14-of-19 in that game, 73.7 percent.
FOR STARTERS:For the third game in a row, IU went with Troy Williams, Collin Hartman, Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson. IU’s starting five combined to hit 28-of-43 shots from the field. Starters hit 14-of-20 from 3-point range and all 14 of the 18 free throw attempts. The starters combined to score 84 of the 89 Indiana points.
INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here’s a look at my own thoughts on a few Indiana players from Thursday’s win over Maryland:
1. YOGI FERRELL : Ferrell was in a mild shooting slump heading into the Maryland game. Because of that he spent extra time shooting the ball before and after practice all week long. Wednesday night, he was in Cook Hall shooting until the wee hours. In the last three games he was 5-of-25 from the field and 3-of-17 from 3-point range. Thursday night, he was 8-of-10 from the field and 7-of-8 from 3-point range. He looked so confident that it was almost as if the basket appeared 10 feet wide to him. He finished with 24 points. That’s the fifth time he has scored 20 or more points this season and IU is now 3-2 in those games.
2. COLLIN HARTMAN:: Hartman had a career-high 15 points, three blocks and he took a charge. He played in 29 minutes against the Terrapins after making his third career start. He hit all four of his shots from the field and all three of his 3-point field goals. And Hartman did not commit a turnover in those 29 minutes. He had 10 points in the first 12 minutes of the game which gave him a career high at that point. He had never scored in double figures before in a college game.
3. JAMES BLACKMON JR.: Blackmon put back to back games together and appears to have gotten his shooting stroke back. Coming off a performance where he hit 7-of-12 shots against Illinois on Sunday, Blackmon Jr. made 8-of-14 against Maryland. He was 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Sunday, he was 4-for-6. He also had five rebounds, all on the defensive end, in 32 minutes of play.
NEXT UP: Indiana (15-4, 5-1) travels to face Ohio State (15-5, 4-3) Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET in Columbus. IU beat Ohio State 69-66 on Jan. 10 at Assembly Hall. The Buckeyes defeated Northwestern Thursday night, 69-67.The game will be televised on CBS.
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