Hoosiers Overwhelm Men’s Basketball, Terps Drop Big Ten Opener

Former Indiana Hoosier Jordan Geronimo pulled up for the shot beyond the three-point arc, looking for his first points of the game. The ball bounced off the back of the rim, signaling a fourth-straight miss for the starting forward who finished Maryland’s last game with the third-most points, all while the Terps found themselves trailing by more than 20.

The 4-3 Maryland Terrapins traveled to Bloomington, Indiana, on Friday night to face the 5-1 Indiana Hoosiers for the Big Ten opener. Maryland entered the match coming off of its third-straight win at home, most recently defeating Rider University, 103-76. Indiana too entered with a recent win, beating Harvard 89-76 on Sunday in Indianapolis. 

Maryland’s starters included forwards Jordan Geronimo, DeShawn Harris-Smith, Julian Reese, Donta Scott and guard Jahmir Young.

“I don’t mind freshman going out there and missing [shots], but we have some older guys right now that are just doing stuff and you’re like, ‘what are we doing?’ We can’t do that.” Head coach Kevin Willard said during his post-game presser.

Indiana started the first half with a quick lead over Maryland, up by nine in the first five minutes as the Hoosiers led the Terps’ shooting percentage by 31%. Starting forward Malik Reneau proved to be a difference maker for Indiana early on by earning half of his team’s points in that time frame.

Despite Maryland’s five-straight field goal successes, Indiana maintained a steady 10-point lead as the first period advanced into the final ten minutes, forcing Coach Willard to concede a pair of timeouts. Jahmir Young was leading the team at this point with four baskets, and trailing behind was Julian Reese with only two. 

In the final five minutes of the first half, Indiana made just one of its past seven shot attempts, but Maryland still trailed by nine while unable to find a hot streak. While behind, Maryland managed to bring its shooting percentage to 47%, just barely caught up with Indiana’s 48%.

Indiana went into the half with a 12-point lead, up 40-28.

Point leaders for Maryland at half were Jahmir Young with 12 points, alongside Jahari Long and Julian Reese who tied each other with six points. Leading Indiana on the stat sheet were Kel’el Ware (12 points), Mackenzie Mgbako (11 points) and Malik Reneau (seven points).

Former Indiana Hoosier Jordan Geronimo, who led Maryland in its last game against Rider at the half with 13 points, was scoreless going into the second period. In 13 minutes, he only managed two rebounds. 

Just four minutes into the second half, Willard called his third of four timeouts after a turnover by forward Mady Traore allowed the Hoosiers to go up by 15 points. Three possessions later, a blocking foul on DeShawn Harris-Smith sent the Hoosiers up by 20 after a pair of foul shots from Mackenzie Mgbako.

“It’s his first Big Ten game, in Bloomington for the first time,” Willard said post-game regarding Harris-Smith’s performance. “There’s nerves, he’s still a freshman, he’s talented, but I’m glad he was able to fight through that.”

Both Indiana’s lead and momentum only grew as the half neared its final ten minutes. Maryland found itself in the midst of a dense scoring drought that allowed just one of its past 10 shots to go through the net, while Indiana managed a 6-0 run to extend its 20-point lead even further.

With five minutes left in the game, Indiana gave Maryland a chance to come back by letting up four turnovers while faced with a brief scoring drought. The Terps managed a 12-point run, primarily from the efforts from Harris-Smith who scored seven, to crawl back within 12 points.

While the turnovers and scoring drought held up for Indiana til time expired, Maryland was held from coming any closer than 12 points. The final score was 65-53, Indiana, giving Maryland its first in-conference loss on the road.

Point leaders for Maryland were Jahmir Young (20 points), Julian Reese (18 points), DeShawn Harris-Smith (nine points) and Jahari Long (eight points). For Indiana, Kal’el Ware (18 points), Mackenzie Mgbako (13 points), Trey Galloway (12 points) and Malik Reneau (11 points). 

“Seeing that size for the first time, even from the offensive end, their length and size kind of rattles you, too,” Willard said. “Late in the second half we had a chance to cut it to ten and we missed the layup, so I think nerves play a little bit into it.”