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Maryland’s second-half collapse yields a loss to Indiana on senior day

Maryland’s second-half collapse yields a loss to Indiana on senior day

Tooba Shakir 54 years ago 0 0

An afternoon that began with a celebration of the Maryland men’s basketball team’s seniors ended in misery following a second-half collapse that led to an 83-78 loss to Indiana on Sunday.

In losing for the fourth time in five games, Maryland (15-15, 7-12 Big Ten) failed to protect a 16-point lead with less than 18 minutes to play. Uncharacteristically porous defense allowed the Hoosiers to storm back and move in front for good at 66-64 on Trey Galloway’s putback with 8:20 to play. The Terps’ deficit was as wide as 11 in the final minutes.

Although the Terps trimmed their margin to 77-72 on Jahmir Young’s three-pointer with 1:56 to play, Indiana (16-13, 8-10) settled the outcome by making four consecutive free throws down the stretch in front of a stunned Xfinity Center crowd.

The loss meant the Terps couldn’t send out Young, Donta Scott, Jahari Long and Jordan Geronimo with a win on senior day. “It sucks,” second-year coach Kevin Willard said.

The top scoring defense in the Big Ten let the Hoosiers shoot 73.1 percent as they racked up 50 points in the second half and 56.4 percent overall. Indiana came into the weekend averaging 72.9 points, which ranked them 12th out of 14 teams in the Big Ten.

Young led the Terps with 22 points to go with five rebounds and four assists in his final regular season home game with his hometown school. The Upper Marlboro native committed a costly turnover shortly after his late three-pointer, a poor pass that turned into a layup by Xavier Johnson and pushed the Hoosiers’ lead back to seven in the final minute.

Transition defense was spotty for Maryland, which yielded 20 fast-break points and struggled to slow Indiana freshman forward Mackenzie Mgbako. He scored a season-high 24 points and consistently beat Maryland defenders down the court.

“It comes down to who’s making shots and who’s getting stops,” Scott said. “I feel like we didn’t get enough stops in transition. [The coaches] really stressed they get out in transition, but they made shots, and we fell short of making shots at the end of the game.”

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Scott went 4 for 10 from beyond the arc on his way to 15 points. Earlier this season, the fifth-year senior became the program’s all-time leader in games played. Junior forward Julian Reese added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Sunday’s disheartening result has Maryland on track to play on the first day of the five-day Big Ten tournament as one of the conference’s bottom four finishers. With their aspirations of an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament extinguished, the Terps’ only path to a second straight bid is to win the Big Ten tournament, which tips off March 13 in Minneapolis. The Terps’ regular season finale is next Sunday at Penn State.

“Our turnovers didn’t put us in a position to get back fast enough,” Young said. “… They put an emphasis [on running] the floor. They get three guys up and try to get easy ones. That definitely hurt us in the second half.”

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The Terps had claimed their largest lead, 51-35, on the strength of five quick points from Long and a three-point play by Young with 17:51 to play. Indiana responded with 16 of the next 20 points to flip the momentum.

Before the opening tip, Young, Scott, Long and Geronimo and their family members walked to midcourt for a ceremony that included Willard presenting each player with a framed jersey. The ovation was particularly robust for Young, the Terps’ scoring leader. He played at DeMatha and spent his first three college seasons at Charlotte before spending two years with the Terps.

“It’s only my second year here, so to have a special bond with two guys [Young and Scott] you’ve only been with for two years — Donta could have left; Jahmir could have left last year,” Willard said. “They both stuck around. They’ve put a lot into this program. … As a coach, I’m extremely appreciative of their effort, their hard work, their attitude — and they’re both terrific young men.”

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