COLLEGE PARK, Md. – IU coach Archie Miller finally got the sharp, strong start he’s craved for weeks. It still went to waste, as the Hoosiers fell 78-75 at Maryland, in a game they led by 14 early on. Romeo Langford’s game-high 28 points, which also matched his career high, could only keep the loss close.
Here are three reasons why Indiana (12-4, 3-2) picked up a second-straight conference loss:
Hoosiers get their hot start
After struggling to begin games well for much of the past two months, Indiana found ways not to waste time Friday night. Locked in defensively and efficient at the other end, the Hoosiers sprinted to a 9-0 lead, killing the atmosphere inside a mostly student-less Xfinity Center.
Indiana Hoosiers head coach Archie Miller reacts to first-half play on Friday. (Photo: Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports)
That start handed coach Archie Miller’s team control of the flow of the game. Indiana was deliberate offensively and made Maryland work for everything at the other end. Devonte Green, Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford got the Hoosiers going on the scoreboard, and the lead ballooned to as many as 14 points.
Indiana needed that start, because once Maryland found its feet, the Terrapins were difficult to slow down.
Terrapins punch back – hard
The Maryland team that finished the second half of its comeback win at Minnesota plus-21 on Tuesday wasn’t going to be fazed by another early hole.
Eliminating the mistakes and empty possessions that created that deficit, Friday’s hosts steadily climbed back into the game behind their best players, point guard Anthony Cowan and forward Bruno Fernando.
Cowan worked out IU’s defense, finally getting into the lane to create for himself and others. Fernando asserted himself around the rim. The lead was eight at halftime, after a late Al Durham 3-pointer, but Maryland threw a 16-2 run at IU to start the second half.
In a flash, the good work of the opening minutes had been wasted, and IU was down six.
Indiana Hoosiers guard Romeo Langford (0) dribbles as Maryland Terrapins guard Darryl Morsell (11) defends. (Photo: Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports)
Bruno Fernando dominates
Once the Terps took control, their size advantage kept them there. No other player capitalized on that advantage as much as Fernando, the sophomore big man who entered play averaging a double-double and managed to do even better than that Friday.
Long-armed, athletic and tough, Fernando bullied Indiana inside. He cleaned up the glass at both ends, leading an effort that ended with Maryland plus-15 on the offensive boards.
Even Morgan couldn’t slow him down. Fernando provided Maryland’s second-half spark and then carried the Terrapins. He finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds. No one in a crimson jersey could slow him down.
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Source:: Daily times