Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis created a certain presence about him when he played against Maryland on Tuesday night. Tall and explosive, the forward drew constant attention on the block and in the paint from the Terps, and drew the ire of Maryland fans with every touch.
In the critical Big Ten game, Jackson-Davis blew up the stat sheet with imposing play inside that threatened to score on most touches. But for the Hoosiers, it just wasn’t enough.
Propelled by an ideal plus-seven turnover differential and 39 combined points from Jahmir Young and Donta Scott, Maryland men’s basketball (15-7, 6-5 Big Ten) toppled ranked No. 21 Indiana (15-7, 6-5 Big Ten), 66-55.
Jackson-Davis finished with 18 points, 20 rebounds and two assists, but coach Kevin Willard thought Julian Reese proved the decisive piece to hold back the forward.
“He’s a big-time, big-time player,” Willard said of Jackson-Davis. “But I think Julian Reese is turning into just as [much] of a big-time player to sit there and battle the things he’s had to battle for the last five games.”
Reese, who finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, took the game personally. He said that he felt the Hoosiers didn’t take the game seriously and overlooked the Terps, referencing an Indiana tweet about its upcoming matchup against Purdue before the game with a tweet of his own after Maryland’s win.
“Definitely felt disrespected as a team, felt like they just kind of overlooked us,” Reese said. “Watching them warm up, they were all laughing, giggling … So seeing that, took that kind of personally.”
The last game in Maryland’s three-game homestand left little doubt as to whether it’d be hotly contested. Indiana, one of the top offenses in the conference with the third top scoring player in Jackson-Davis, had little issue turning up the heat on the Terps.
But in a home environment that has proved extremely friendly for Maryland’s top scorer in Young, Jackson-Davis and the Hoosiers couldn’t coast. Young kicked off Maryland’s scoring with a deep three, and soon after knocked a difficult floater off the glass. The former Charlotte guard notched a game-high 13 first-half points and 20 points overall.
Maryland looked to have a plan for the lengthy and dangerous Jackson-Davis in the paint. On a few occasions, the forward drew double-teams on the block, and had to pass out of the pressure. For most of the first 20 minutes it worked, holding Jackson-Davis to eight first-half points.
“Both teams played really well defensively, it was a really physical battle,” Willard said. “I loved our effort, I thought our double-teams were really great.”
But the Hoosiers bench took over where Jackson-Davis lacked, and racked up enough points to keep competitive with a Maryland team that didn’t turnover the ball in the first half. Still, a few late turnovers from a stalling Hoosiers offense propelled the Terps ahead.
“[Indiana] is a very talented team and we just had to value the basketball to give us a good chance,” Young said.
Plenty of fouls from Indiana helped as well, and Maryland collected numerous makes from the line in the final 5:23 to finish the half on a 14-3 run. The Terps reaped the rewards of making 13 of 15 attempts from the charity stripe in the first half to go into the break with a 37-29 lead.
Indiana’s Race Thompson grabbed a second-chance jumper score and a three-point play right after to quickly cut into the established Maryland lead in the early minutes of the second half. Those points felt valuable in a frame that established a defensive motif most of the way.
The Terps’ sustained lead allowed them to settle into an aggressive press defense that only worsened Indiana’s offensive issues down the stretch. While Maryland didn’t shoot better than Indiana at most points of the match, the Terps ability to force mistakes and limit Jackson-Davis seemed to go a long way against the Hoosiers.
The Terps notched their third-worst shooting performance from the field this year at just 34 percent, but were able to make crucial shots like a three-point jumper from Young and continued their success in drawing fouls and converting from the line. Maryland finished the game 25-for-29 from the line, shooting 17 more free throws than Indiana.
Jackson-Davis wouldn’t be silenced on the scoreboard quite yet though. The forward responded late in the second half with a scoring run of his own, relying on his length and jumping ability to gather several rebounds on one score.
However, only one other Hoosier scored in double digits. Scott and Reese made crucial inside shots as the final minutes wound down to maintain the Terps’ lead and help Maryland remain undefeated against Big Ten opponents at home.
“[The crowd] brings it every time and we’re 6-0 at home [against conference opponents] for a reason and they’re a huge part of that,” Young said. “Their energy is huge, we’re thankful for them.”