Indiana faced their toughest test of the season on Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and they didn’t handle it well — to put it lightly. Duke got off to a fast start, and IU never had answers. Season high turnovers and a season low field goal percentage buried any hope of staying in the game or manufacturing a rally.
If there was a bright side, it really had nothing to do with the game itself. The Hoosiers saw the return of two key veterans in Zach McRoberts and Devonte Green. Both players saw extensive action and should be in a better position to be impactful this weekend.
The Hoosiers (5-2) will have to regroup and get ready for a Big Ten home opener against Northwestern on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Indiana looked nervous. We hate to use that word, but that’s what we keep coming back to. Unforced turnovers, missed layups, poor shooting, blown fast breaks, you name it. Duke came into the game only forcing 13 turnovers a game. Their defense wasn’t really that good. For the most part, Indiana was just throwing it away.
2. The energy was bad too. Look, we get it, Duke has a bunch of great athletes. But we’ve seen lesser teams fight, scratch, claw and compete with Indiana. Getting back on defense is about effort more than anything else. Same with staying in front of the ball and playing help defense. Way too often, Indiana got beat off the dribble or in the post — and there was no help to be found.
3. Road woes. A lot of what happened tonight happened at Arkansas as well, just against a much better team. In a very deep and balanced Big Ten, IU is going to have a lot of tough road games. This team has a long way to go to develop the kind of mental toughness that will be needed to win those games.
We will have much more on this game in tomorrow’s Report Card.
FINAL BOX SCORE AND SPECIALTY STATS
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