It seemed like Maryland men’s basketball could only watch as Indiana ran away with a victory Jan. 4, as a 10-point Terps lead early in the second half became an eventual 63-55 loss on the road.

Maryland (6-5, 1-4 Big Ten) led for most of the first half, took a 27-21 lead into the locker room and pulled ahead 37-27 with 15:14 remaining. But then the shots stopped falling, and the Hoosiers found a groove on the other end, and a 28-8 Indiana run swung the game and then some. Maryland scored just two points in a stretch of nearly eight minutes while Hoosiers star Trayce Jackson-Davis put his team on his back.

Aaron Wiggins tallied a career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Terps, while Hakim Hart chipped in 10 and Eric Ayala added nine. It was an off night for Maryland’s offense, as the team shot 38.5 percent on field goals, 28 percent on 3-pointers and 53.3 percent on free throws. The Terps shot 10-of-26 in both halves, but a 2-of-15 stretch in the second half put the game out of reach.

Jackson-Davis scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half, and the sophomore also pulled down 15 rebounds on the night. Race Thompson added 13 points and 11 boards, while Aljami Durham contributed 13 points. Thanks to a 43-33 edge on the glass, including 12 offensive rebounds to Maryland’s six, Indiana overcame the absence of sophomore Armaan Franklin, who left the game with an ankle injury in the first half.

Here’s what stood out from the Terps’ fifth loss in seven games.

1. Maryland absolutely unraveled down the stretch.

Here are some things that happened between the 10:20 mark, when Wiggins made two of three free throws after being fouled on a triple, and the 2:26 mark, when Scott found Hart for a fast-break layup.

  • Indiana outscored Maryland 13-2
  • Jackson-Davis had 10 of the Hoosiers’ points
  • Maryland attempted 10 field goals and made one of them
  • The Terps went 0-of-5 on 3-pointers
  • They also committed four turnovers
  • Galin Smith fouled out at the 5:07 mark

It’s as long a spell of incompetence as Maryland has experienced this season (the entire first half against Clemson has a claim to this). And implosions like that simply can’t be overcome in this conference.

“Our offense let us down tonight,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “We didn’t move the ball as quickly as we need to. We missed a lot of open shots on inside-out. And then we’re not passing the ball quick enough — we’re holding it one second too long and we’re missing some opportunities. It’s an everyday fight with me with this team, and we’ve just got to continue to fight. Lot of basketball left.”

2. The Terps ultimately couldn’t contain Indiana’s frontcourt.

It was Thompson keeping Indiana alive in the first half, as the redshirt junior connected on four of five shots for nine points and seven rebounds before intermission. Then Jackson-Davis took over late, shooting 7-of-9 from the field and piling up 17 points and nine rebounds in the second half alone. The duo combined for 35 points and 26 boards.

Maryland leaned heavily on Scott (34 minutes) and Hamilton (26 minutes) in the frontcourt, while Smith, who fouled out in 17 minutes, had the Terps’ only positive plus-minus of the game (plus-3). It was another quiet night for Chol Marial, who’s averaging a little more than five minutes of action in Big Ten play despite showing positive signs next week. Maryland allowed 42 points in the paint to Michigan Dec. 31, and Indiana followed with 36 paint points in this contest.

The Hoosiers missed their first 11 triples in this game. They didn’t score from outside the paint or the foul line until the 14:51 mark. They finished 4-of-22 from outside (and 22-of-59 overall). And they still rode their big men to the win.

3. Aaron Wiggins was the lone bright spot.

The junior shot 8-of-15 from the field and 4-of-7 from deep en route to his career-high 22 points. It was a notable bounce-back from a rough outing against Michigan — five points on 2-of-11 shooting — and his fourth output of at least 14 points in the last five games.

It feels like forever ago that Wiggins shot 41.3 percent from 3-point range as a freshman; he followed with a 31.7 percent clip last season and was just 10-of-38 (26.3 percent) through 10 games this year. Maryland has been waiting on him to gain consistent form, and it especially needs that now with senior Darryl Morsell sidelined for another week or two. Ayala and Scott have been the top scoring options most of the year, but Wiggins still has some upside in his own right.

4. James Graham III joined a still-shaky bench unit.

Graham is a 17-year-old who was in high school just a couple weeks ago. The four-star small forward had signed as part of Maryland’s 2021 recruiting class, but he opted to enroll early and join the team midseason. He made his Terrapin debut in this game, missing his only shot and grabbing one rebound in four minutes.

With Morsell out and Hakim Hart taking his place in the starting lineup, any contributions from the reserves will be welcome. Turgeon didn’t turn to freshman guards Aquan Smart or Marcus Dockery at all in this game, instead squeezing 10 minutes out of Reese Mona. It’s unclear how the rotation will evolve before Morsell returns, and what it looks like when he comes back, but Graham has a chance to play his way into the Terps’ plans.

“He’s a willing learner, he can make a shot, and he’s worked really hard since he’s been here, he’s got good size,” Turgeon said. “He was nervous, probably. … He’s trying to figure it all out, but there’s a lot. He’s so far behind, terminology and all that stuff, it’s gonna take him a while.”

5. The gauntlet continues.

The Terps host No. 5 Iowa on Thursday, Jan. 7. Then they visit No. 12 Illinois on Sunday, Jan. 10. Barring an upset or two, they’ll be 1-6 in Big Ten play by the end of the week. Even that won’t be a death sentence to Maryland’s postseason hopes, but if the Terps aren’t at least competitive, fans will start losing patience in a hurry.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Thomas Kendziora

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