CHICAGO — Coming out of halftime at the United Center, No. 6-seeded Maryland had the momentum over No. 3 Indiana men’s basketball.
Maryland had extended its lead to 7 points at its largest and Indiana needed a response. Then it got a basket and a stop. And another. And another.
The Hoosiers fired off a 15-0 run to place themselves firmly in the lead. The run, which cemented Indiana’s 70-60 victory in the third round of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday, came through a resurfacing of Indiana’s identity.
“It’s the Big Ten Tournament, and it’s going to be close games — games of runs,” freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino said after the game. “For us, we just had to stay poised offensively and defensively. I feel like we played a good game tonight.”
Any fear of rust for Indiana, who was coming off a break of nearly week while Maryland played its second game in as many nights, was unfounded from the tip. The Hoosiers made their first five field goal attempts and were unafraid to push the pace against Maryland’s backcourt press.
With a Hoosier-friendly crowd at its back, Indiana didn’t relent to Maryland’s early pressure.
Quickly, however, the pace dragged closer to a halt on both ends. Possessions slowed. Indiana’s offense cooled off, going nearly five minutes without a basket. Maryland heated up, especially from deep — at the half, the Terrapins had six 3-pointers.
By the second half, it became a back-and-forth battle until Indiana’s run.
The run started on the defensive end. The Terrapins missed 11 straight shots, opening the door for the Hoosiers’ offense. The scoring drought extended for nearly five minutes and included three swatted shots from senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis.
“The second half was the difference,” Woodson said. “We came out and established ourselves defensively."
Freshman forward Malik Reneau got the scoring started with a jumper in the paint during one of his best performances of the season. Reneau finished with 8 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, falling just short of his first career double-double.
“It’s being able to come off the bench and be a spark plug for my team,” Reneau said. “Knowing when I’m in there, it’s just being able to help out on the defensive side. On the offensive side, it’s just relieving stress off the guys.”
On Maryland’s next possession, Jackson-Davis picked up his first block on the defensive end, which led to a Hood-Schifino and-1 on the other side of the floor. The layup tied the game and the free throw gave Indiana the lead, and the crowd responded, urging Indiana forward.
Hood-Schifino, who scored just 3 points in Indiana’s regular-season matchup with Maryland, responded Friday with 19 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
The run was capped off by sophomore guard Tamar Bates, who struggled for much of the late part of the season before scoring 6 points against Michigan, showed a renewed level of confidence when pulling up for a contested 3-pointer.
Through it all, however, it was the Jackson-Davis show. On top of his three blocks during the run, Jackson-Davis was unstoppable at the rim. He converted 7 straight points on three free throws and two layups, including a spin move score that helped Indiana push its lead out to 11 points and was equally good defensively.
“Trayce just dominated inside in terms of things that were coming to the rim,” Woodson said. “He made some big-time blocks and altered some shots. Then we were able to rebound with this team, that was the big key.”
Jackson-Davis finished with a game-high 24 points with nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
“I don't want robots,” Woodson said. “I want guys that feel good about what they do when they're out there on the floor, and Trayce is a prime example. He's having a wonderful season.”
Indiana now advances to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament and will take on No. 10-seeded Penn State around 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the United Center in Chicago. Penn State won the regular season faceoff between the teams, 85-66.