In a game where there was a good chance he would be unable to play, Juwan Morgan once again showed his value to the Indiana Hoosiers by leading them to a crucial 71-68 win over Maryland to improve 12-8 on the season and 5-3 in Big Ten play.
“Obviously you see how important he is to us,” said Zach McRoberts about the impact Morgan brings the Hoosiers. “He played great for us tonight, on defense and offense.”
In a back-and-forth game between two Big Ten teams fighting for position in the middle of the conference standings, Maryland (15-7, 4-5) looked to have taken control of the game during a 9-0 run that saw the Terrapins take a 62-57 lead with 4:53 left in the game.
That’s when Morgan donned the red cape and took over the game.
Morgan immediately responded by scoring on the next two possessions, including an “and-1” that tied the game up at 62-62 just 40 seconds after being down five.
A Robert Johnson layup gave the Hoosiers the lead with 3:15 left. Johnson also played a huge role in the game contributing 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
“He’s really taken it to another level in terms of what we’re asking him to do,” said IU coach Archie Miller about Johnson. “I think his play speaks volumes.”
The Hoosiers then went back to Morgan to close the game, as the junior went 3 of 4 from the free throw line during the final minutes. Yet the Terps continued to stay with the Hoosiers as Jared Nickens hit a huge three-pointer to close Indiana’s lead to just 67-66 with 1:03 left.
Things looked grim when Josh Newkirk missed both free throws for the Hoosiers with 38 seconds left but that’s when Morgan one last time swooped in to grab the missed foul shot and got the bucket to push the lead back to three and basically clinch the game.
“We have a really good player in Juwan Morgan that you can go to in the last four minutes of the game and he can get some things done for you,” said Miller, “which was the case tonight.”
In the final five minutes of the game, Morgan accounted for 10 of the Hoosiers final 14 points and finished with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.
With a game at Illinois coming up on Wednesday, the Hoosiers hope that their Man Of Steel will be ready to don that red cape again after leaving everything on the court on Monday.