Indiana and Notre Dame shot faked the game’s turning point a few times. First it was Notre Dame, on back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers in the first half by Nikola Djogo, John Mooney and TJ Gibbs as they turned a 19-14 ND lead into 28-14, and the Hoosiers appeared to be in trouble. Indiana responded however through the end of the first half and into the second half, cutting the Irish lead to 31-30. Notre Dame immediately proceeded to stretch the lead right back out to 44-31 with 16:50 to go. Surely that would be it for an Indiana team that was struggling so far to produce points.
In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!”
Enter Juwan Morgan. Indiana chipped away at the Notre Dame lead but was unable to break through for the next 12 minutes. With only 4:24 remaining the Irish lead was still eight, 61-53. At that point in the game Morgan had put together a nice afternoon with 14 points. Starting with a layup with 3:29 remaining in the second half, Morgan would score 20 points in 8:21 of game time. He also had 5 rebounds and a block during this span. Indiana battled back from big leads and chipped away in the 2nd half, but it took the talent, passion and determination of Morgan to finally produce the game’s turning point late in the 2nd half.
Can a player deciding to take over a game be the turning point? We think so. And to be fair, it wasn’t just Morgan. Devonte Green hit a big 3-pointer in overtime. De’Ron Davis picked an opportunistic time to score his only basket of the game. And then there is Zach McRoberts. What can you say about the walk-on? Wait, how is this guy still a walk-on? All he did was get the game winning rebound (over All-American Bonzie Colson) and then the game winning assist to Morgan.
But it was Morgan that outshined everyone. We’ve seen this from Morgan before. He went for 28 points and 8 rebounds against Arkansas State. He went for 24 points and 8 rebounds against Michigan. But this one was different. Notre Dame was ranked. Indiana was about to fall to 5-6 on the season. They were about to finish a challenging 5 game stretch at 1-4. They were about to continue the narrative that they weren’t ready to run with the big boys. Morgan had seen enough. Credit his coaches and teammates for feeding the beast once he got it going.
Below we’ve summarized Morgan’s production over the last 8:30 of the game including overtime. During that stretch all he did was score 20 points, grab 5 rebounds, and he added a blocked shot on a breakaway layup that was just 100 percent hustle. Translated to 40 minutes his last 8:30 would equal 94 points and 24 rebounds. Yep, he was that good.
3:41 Juwan Morgan Defensive Rebound. 53 – 61
3:33 Juwan Morgan Offensive Rebound. 53 – 61
3:29 Juwan Morgan made Layup. 55 – 61
3:03 Juwan Morgan Defensive Rebound. 55 – 61
2:51 Juwan Morgan Block. 55 – 61
2:30 Juwan Morgan made Jumper. 57 – 63
1:49 Juwan Morgan made Free Throw. 58 – 65
1:35 Juwan Morgan made Layup. Assisted by Robert Johnson. 60 – 65
1:35 Juwan Morgan made Free Throw. 61 – 65
0:51 Juwan Morgan made 2 Free Throws. 62 – 65
0:28 Juwan Morgan Defensive Rebound. 63 – 65
0:13 Juwan Morgan made Layup. 65 – 65
4:38 Juwan Morgan made Jumper. 67 – 65
2:40 Juwan Morgan Defensive Rebound. 67 – 69
2:21 Juwan Morgan made 2 Free Throws. 68 – 71
0:11 Juwan Morgan made Layup. 76 – 77
0:08 Juwan Morgan made Dunk. 78 – 77