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No Xavier Johnson, No Problem for Indiana Basketball as it takes down Maryland 65-53 in Big Ten opener

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Indiana Basketball
Indiana's Trey Galloway (32) scores during the second half of the Indiana versus Maryland men's basketball game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. © Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Despite the absence of Indiana basketball starting point guard Xavier Johnson, the Hoosiers turned in their best performance of the season defeating Maryland 65-53 at Assembly Hall.

The Hoosiers got off to a hot start in both halves which had been a concern before tonight. They set the tone with their physicality and effort and it paid off.

“I think any time you’re at home or on the road, you want to get off to a good start to kind of set the tone. And it just wasn’t offensively; it was defensively, too,” Trey Galloway said about the hot start. “We were able to go out there and with high intensity and we knew our coverages, and we executed well early and often, so it was good.”

Indiana opened the game with an 8-2 run that set the tone. They had a similar start in the second half, opening the half with a 12-3 run to extend their lead to 21.

The Hoosiers turned in their best defensive performance of the season, holding Maryland to just 53 points. The Terps shot 36% from the field and 13% from three Friday night as the Hoosiers stifled their offense.

“I thought we were connected tonight. We didn’t give up a lot of threes. I thought our switching was right on par,” Woodson said about the Hoosiers’ defense. “You know, we had a few miscues but we didn’t let this team get into the teeth of our defense very much. … I just thought defensively, we were solid tonight for 40 minutes.”

The game was never really in question as the Hoosiers led by as many as 23 points in their Big Ten opening win Friday night. Indiana led by double-digits the entire second half.

A big story for Indiana was their effort on the glass. The Hoosiers had struggled to rebound coming into this game but won the rebounding battle by 16.

“That’s something we talked about in pregame that our wings and perimeter guys had to get in and mix it up a little bit and get rebounds, and I thought we did a great job in that regard,” Woodson said about their effort on the glass. “We’ve got to continue to do that. We can’t put all the pressure on [Kel’el] Ware and Malik [Reneau] and big [Payton Sparks] and [Anthony] Walker to get all the rebounds.”

The effort of the perimeter players was a big reason for their success on the glass. Trey Galloway and Mackenzie Mgbako both stepped up on the glass combining for 13 rebounds.

“I mean, early in the season, we were getting killed on the offensive glass in every aspect. We wanted to clean that up and make sure we’re finding guys and boxing out, and also getting the offensive glass,” Trey Galloway said about their effort on the glass. “I think we have got a good amount of those tonight. We’ve got guys that are athletic enough to go get rebounds. We just have to stick our head in there and go get them, and we did a good job of that.”

On the offensive end of the court, the starters led the way for the Hoosiers. All four regular starters finished in double figures with Kel’el Ware leading the team in scoring with 18 points.

Trey Galloway played a huge role in the win for Indiana. In addition to his 12 points, he added 6 assists with only one turnover.

Without Xavier Johnson, the Hoosiers needed their guards to step up and Galloway turned in one of his best performances of the season.

“I thought they handled it very well. I mean, we can’t — you know, we can’t — I wish X was in uniform but he’s not here,” Woodson said about the play of his guards without Johnson. “He’s just going to have to continue to rehab. The guys that are in uniform, they have to just pick it up and play. I thought our perimeter play was pretty decent tonight.”

While Cupps’ stats may not show it, he did a good job against the Maryland press and helped Indiana settle into a rhythm early in the game.

In there first Big Ten game of the year, Indiana showed up in a big way delivering their most complete performance of the season. Even in spite of the added physicality that comes with Big Ten basketball, the Hoosiers answered the call.

“It’s the Big Ten in general. I mean, it’s going to be this way every night you jumping up in the Big Ten. It won’t be any easier when we go to Michigan next week. I mean, the Big Ten is tough. They let you play,” Woodson said about Big Ten play. “So if you don’t come and meet the challenge, then you’ll be exposed as a team. I thought tonight we were the more aggressive team tonight.”

Indiana basketball will be back in action on Tuesday night when they travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan for their second conference game of the season.

SEE ALSO: Coach Q&A: Mike Woodson reacts to Indiana basketball 65-53 win against Maryland

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Drew Rosenberg is staff writer for HoosierIllustrated.com and hosts 'The Talkin' Bout the Hoosiers Podcast' covering Indiana University athletics. Drew graduated from Indiana University's Sports Media program in 2024.

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