CHICAGO — Indiana needed just six minutes to send Maryland home.
The Hoosiers’ Miller Kopp frenzied the crowd with a frantic three. A few minutes later, Jalen Hood-Schifino converted a fastbreak layup that did the same.
Then Trayce Jackson-Davis entered the scoring spree. The renowned forward, who already displayed power and finesse in the first half, turned it up. He battered Maryland in the paint to the Hoosiers’ fans delight, and disrupted the Terps offensive movement in the same area.
Jackson-Davis and Hood-Schifino combined for 43 points — 10 of them in Indiana’s 20-2 second-half run — as No. 3 seed Indiana (22-10) expelled No. 6 seed Maryland men’s basketball (21-12) from the Big Ten Tournament in the quarterfinal round.
Coach Kevin Willard said that Jackson-Davis is “an elite player” and observed that Hood-Schifino improved in transition from Maryland’s last matchup with the Hoosiers.
“I thought transition defense was really the difference.”
Indiana coach Mike Woodson elaborated on Maryland’s defensive woes saying that the Hoosiers’ press offense showed some different looks in the game. Indiana scored 13 fast-break points compared to just four for the Terps.
With the loss, Maryland leaves Chicago for College Park to await its NCAA tournament seeding.
The Terps had proven they could beat the Hoosiers before. Even with Jackson-Davis scoring 18 points and gathering an impressive 20 rebounds, Maryland downed Indiana by double-digits in College Park on Jan. 31.
An overtime finish between Northwestern and Penn State had the Terps anxiously waiting just a bit longer to decide their conference postseason fate. In time, Maryland came out to a court surrounded by a crowd that sounded overwhelmingly in Indiana’s favor.
[Donta Scott’s first-half marksmanship lifted Maryland men’s basketball to Minnesota win]
“You could say it felt like a true road game because they’ve kind of got home-court advantage with all their fans being here and just us not having that many fans,” Donta Scott said.
The Hoosiers’ offense channeled that energy into clean, proficient offense in the opening minutes that saw them start 5-for-5 from the field with a variety of players scoring. Maryland tried to respond with Don Carey separating for open looks from three, but he missed two early attempts.
The Terps stalled Indiana from there, and Julian Reese settled in. Reese slid a hook shot into the basket off a Jahmir Young steal and drew a pair of shooting fouls — going 3-for-4 from the line with them.
Those shots shortened Maryland’s deficit, and a Scott layup in tandem with a Carey three gave coach Willard’s squad their first lead about halfway through the first half.
The Terps continued to carry that momentum. After a dunk from Patrick Emilien, Hakim Hart poked the ball away from Jackson-Davis and threw the ball to Young for a three that flew true and gave Maryland a seven-point lead to cap off an 11-0 run.
Despite a determined response from Jackson-Davis — muscling through a double-team for a layup on one play — Maryland continued cashing threes with scores from Carey and Scott. The Terps went 6-for-13 from deep in the opening 20 minutes, but a continued emphasis on interior shooting kept Indiana with Maryland.
Both teams dueled it out as the minutes ticked off in the first half as Emilien palmed the ball in his right hand and slammed the ball through the hoop on a drive. Indiana quickly responded, and Jackson-Davis added another layup to bring the pro-Hoosiers crowd to a fever pitch.
[Maryland men’s basketball beats Minnesota to advance to Big Ten tourney quarterfinals, 70-54]
The late momentum from Indiana brought it within two before the halftime buzzer halted the excitement with Maryland up 34-32. The Terps’ three-point shooting and five first-half steals proved just enough for them to keep the lead at the break.
A messy interior battle kicked off the second-half with Reese picking up his third foul just 37 seconds in and Jackson-Davis finding more involvement in the matchup.
Indiana pressed the pace and drained a transition three, just its second of the game, as it continued to claw into Maryland’s advantage.
The United Center buzzed. The jumper launched a massive Hoosier run that included a hookshot make from Indiana’s Malik Reneau and a layup from Hood-Schifino that evened the score.
“I thought we played really well [in the second-half],” Jackson-Davis said. “We were making good plays, hitting shots, and doing stuff of that nature.”
With more help from Hood-Schifino and Jackson-Davis, Indiana took the lead and continued pressing its momentum. Beginning with the Hoosiers’ transition three with 15:28 to go, Indiana went on a 20-2 run amid scoring frustration from the Terps, who missed 11 straight field goals.
The crowd, scoreboard and the rim competed against Maryland until a Carey three could slice away the tension for the Terps and break their offensive drought.
But Indiana’s duo of Hood-Schifino and Jackson-Davis kept Maryland at an arms-length on the scoreboard and continued leading the charge for the Hoosiers. Even with the Terps inching closer with their effective press, Hood-Schifino drilled a three-pointer at the end of the shot clock that proved to be the dagger.
The duo’s scoring prowess downed the Terps, sending Willard’s squad home.