Upon Further Review: Maryland

The Hoosiers stayed with Maryland for the game's first 30 minutes before getting buried late by their ACC foe. Hoosier Nation looks back at the 80-68 loss and talks about what we found to be most impressive, surprising and concerning about the contest. We also name our game MVP…

Game MVP - Maurice Creek. Truth be told, there really wasn't an ‘MVP' caliber performance by anyone on the Indiana roster, but Creek gets the nod because of some big shots that he hit to help Indiana open a seven-point first half lead as well as a couple of others in the second half that enabled IU to overcome a six-point deficit and briefly reclaim the lead with less than 10 minutes remaining. With Indiana trailing 15-11 early, Creek's first 3-pointer kickstarted a 17-6 Indiana run that gave IU a 28-21 lead. In the second half, he curled around a ball screen for a 16 foot jumper that tied the game at 43-43, and soon afterwards he connected on a 3-pointer that gave the Hoosiers a 49-48 lead. Creek continues to be Indiana's most consistent offensive contributor, having scored at least 14 points in each of IU's seven games this season. His 19 points on Tuesday was a career-high.

Biggest Surprise… Indiana's 26 3-point attempts. After launching no more than 16 3-pointers in its first six games, Indiana attempted 26 against Maryland on Tuesday night. The results weren't good, as Tom Crean's team made only seven (26.9 percent). Maryland was able to force the Hoosiers into an uncharacteristic number of 3-point attempts by switching to a zone defense that seemed to befuddle the team all night long. Afterwards, players admitted to being unable to find ways to get the ball into the middle of the zone to attack it, and as a result they found themselves moving the ball around the perimeter and hoisting a season-high total of 3s. That was particularly true at the end of the first half, when Maryland used a 14-5 run to take a 35-33 halftime lead. Indiana attempted five 3-pointers during the final 5:59 of the half, making only one.

What I Found Most Impressive… Indiana had a chance to win this game. That might be small consolation considering the Hoosiers' 3-4 record with tough match-ups looming against Pitt and Kentucky, but the Hoosiers' performance suggests the program has made significant strides from a season ago. When Indiana squared off against Wake Forest in last year's Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the game's outcome was a foregone conclusion. When Indiana went up against the best teams on its schedule last year, the concern was whether or not Indiana would get embarrassed on national television - and more often than not they did. While this year's team hasn't broken through with a win against an NCAA Tournament-caliber team yet, Tuesday's game shows that Indiana has the ability to compete with the better teams on its schedule. There's still plenty that the Hoosiers need to do within the context of the game to make that happen, but any failures no longer have to be attributed to an inability to physically compete with the opponent.

What I Found Most Concerning… the crowd behavior, particularly from the student body. The situation finally came to a head in the game's final minute when a select number of IU students began directing a vulgar cheer at Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez – "Still a P----". That prompted IU Coach Tom Crean to attempt to grab the public address microphone to quiet the cheer, but he was unable to do so due by rule. That wasn't the only time it happened on Tuesday or this year. The students seem to enjoy breaking into the "B-S" chant at any and every opportunity, and one student held a sign directed as Vasquez inquiring about where his green card was. The chants and sign were distasteful at best and reflect poorly on Indiana University and its basketball program. It prompted IU Coach Tom Crean to make a pointed statement to the fans in his postgame press conference instructing them that vulgarities crosses a line that he won't tolerate. That was good to see.

Turning Point: Maryland strung together a 9-0 to turn a 61-58 lead with 5:12 remaining into a 70-58 edge three minutes later. Vasquez played a big role during the run – he knocked down a jumper to start the flurry, then assisted on layups by both Adrian Bowie and Landon Milbourne that put the game out of reach. While Maryland was scoring on four straight possessions, Indiana had a couple of missed 3-pointers by Devan Dumes and Maurice Creek, a missed lay-up by Creek and a Verdell Jones turnover.

Quotable: "We were nowhere near tough enough tonight. I don't know what the cause of that was, but we were nowhere near tough enough to win this game." – Christian Watford

"We know we can beat some of these teams. We're right in these games. We're one or two mistakes from winning these close games. We know we can do it." – Watford

"That zone really bothered us. We relied on the jump shot and the 3-point shot instead of driving and getting fouls. We didn't get to the bonus quick enough. I could go on and on." – Verdell Jones

"We had our chances to really expand the game, to really put them down when they were tired, when they were hurting, when we had all the momentum, we didn't execute the way we should have." – Jeremiah Rivers

"They kept running their offense, kept at it, kept at it. Eventually, instead of them breaking down we broke down, and that's not acceptable." – Rivers

"Indiana is doing a great job of playing basketball. They come right at you. I think what they are doing is a great way to establish the program in terms of making it attractive, to play the style that they are playing. Their aggressiveness offensively and defensively is really good." – Maryland Coach Gary Williams

"We have to find a way to be obnoxious without being vulgar. Because we're too good for that." – Tom Crean

"We didn't defend nearly well enough to win any game. It's disappointing because it was a very winnable game." – Crean

"The reason I have so much anger right now is because I know we're capable of playing better. I know I need everyone to accept that we're young, and I need everyone to accept that we're in the second year of trying to rebuild from a train wreck. But I'm not in there accepting it. And there's a big difference – a big, big difference." - Crean

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