When a chunk of metal fell off the overhanging scoreboard Saturday at Indiana’s Assembly Hall, it landed near Ohio State player Brice Sensabaugh.
The equipment malfunction stood in contrast to the Hoosiers’ smooth offensive execution in their 86-70 win over the Buckeyes as they shot 50 percent from the floor and beyond the arc.
It was the fifth straight victory for No. 21 Indiana (15-6, 6-4 Big Ten) heading into an intriguing road matchup with Maryland (14-7, 5-5) Tuesday night in College Park, Md.
The Terrapins also have a five-game streak on the line — they’re 5-0 at home against league opponents, including two who were ranked.
The Hoosiers fall into that category again. They reached No. 10 earlier this season as they opened with seven straight wins but dropped from the rankings when they lost their first three games this month.
During its current streak, Indiana has adjusted to the loss of defensive leader Xavier Johnson, who underwent foot surgery in December.
The catalyst against Ohio State was Jalen Hood-Schifino, who broke out of a shooting slump to make six 3-pointers in the first half on his way to scoring 24 points.
In the Hoosiers’ previous two wins, the freshman had made just 3 of 17 shots. Hood-Schifino also overcame an illness on Saturday night.
“I said (to him), ‘Hey, I’ve had some of my best games when I’ve been sick, so, hell, I can’t feel sorry for you,'” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. “You’ve got to strap them up and go play. We need you.”
After the Buckeyes darted to an early 9-2 lead, Hood-Schifino promptly drained three straight treys to get the Hoosiers the lead.
Then during a 15-0 spree to close the first half, Indiana’s bell cow Trayce Jackson-Davis (18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists) made two baskets and dished for three more.
Another positive was the play of 6-foot-9 reserve Malik Reneau, who provided 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists, all matching or establishing career highs for the freshman.
Maryland will counter Tuesday with Jahmir Young, who is averaging 24 points per game in the Terps’ five home wins against league foes.
Young turned in 18 points, seven assists and six steals in Saturday’s 82-63 romp over Nebraska. Young’s play helped Maryland disrupt and dominate in the open floor as they outscored Nebraska 22-4 in transition and 20-6 off turnovers.
Maryland coach Kevin Willard also was excited about the play of 6-foot-7 reserve Patrick Emilien (10 points, seven rebounds), pointing to his plus-19 figure when he was on the floor.
Willard has often touted Emilien, promising he would be productive if he could get healthy. Emilien will be needed against an Indiana team that has a rugged frontcourt, featuring the 6-foot-9 duo of Jackson-Davis and Reneau, plus three other rotation players 6-foot-7 or taller.
“I feel very comfortable in being able to move him from power forward to center,” Willard said of Emilien. “From a play-call standpoint, from a defensive standpoint, from a zone standpoint, that’s a pretty valuable guy.”
Another recent key for the Terps has been Hakim Hart. In the Nebraska win and a 73-55 thumping of Wisconsin on Wednesday, Hart totaled 24 points and 13 assists with just two turnovers.
–Field Level Media