IU seemed ready to pass its biggest test of the season Sunday by bouncing back from its embarrassing Jan. 4 road loss to Maryland. It was seconds away from upsetting the very same team in Bloomington.
But No. 17 Maryland stole a win at the end of the game to win 77-76 over IU, ending IU’s streak of beating five straight ranked teams at Assembly Hall.
IU came all the way back from a first half deficit. It held on during Maryland’s 3-point shooting and stormed back to take its first lead in the second half.
But in a way that has befallen the Hoosiers in many games this season, they blew the lead.
IU seems to find a way to hold on more often than not when it has blown leads. That didn’t happen Sunday.
It all slipped away in the final minute. Maryland hit a three, and sophomore forward Jalen Smith made a lay up to put his team ahead by one.
IU entered the week at 14-4, still largely unproven. It leaves the week at 15-5 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten. It was seconds away from a win that proved itself until it slipped away late.
The loss does nothing to IU’s tournament resume. It still is firmly in the field of 64. The loss to Maryland will go down as a Quadrant 1 loss, certainly not a stain on the overall body of work for the season.
IU played far better than it did in its previous matchup against Maryland when it was blown out in College Park, Maryland. It never fell behind by an insurmountable margin as it did on the road. But it ended in the same result.
IU will travel to Penn State for its next game. Tip-off is 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on the Big Ten Network.