Here we go again.
Insert broken record commentary about slow starts and poor free throw shooting here.
Seriously, you could almost write these stories before the game is played right now. It was the same story in the game and the same result at the end — another loss for Indiana. At this point in the season, it starts to become apparent that you are who you are. For IU, who they are is not who many thought they would be at this point in a once promising season.
The Hoosiers dropped their fourth straight game in league play and still have three of their next four on the road. As bad as things seem right now, they can get worse. Much worse.
But of course we will all be watching and hoping that this team can right the ship. It won’t be long until we see them again. Indiana (12-6, 3-4) returns to action on Tuesday night at Northwestern.
Indiana fell behind 11-2 to start the game, as the seemingly never ending pattern of slow starts continued. The good news — Indiana recovered well, and took multiple leads in the first half.
But unfortunately for IU right now, it is about more than just slow starts. Much more. Indiana just cannot play a complete game, as they continue to give up big runs.
After the Hoosiers took a 24-21 lead, Purdue closed the first half on a 12-2 run, and then added to that another 25-13 run to start the second half and put the game away.
Miller admitted after the game that this is a team that is “struggling a little bit and going through a hard time.”
That is an understatement. Somehow this team needs to figure out how to pick up a couple wins over the next four games that include three road contests and a home game against Michigan.
You knew this was coming. When IU was putting up its gaudy two-point shot percentages during the nonconference schedule, it was becoming apparent that Big Ten coaches would start to clog the paint and force Indiana to shoot over the top. On that point Miller said this after the game —
“Our inability to make outside shots isn’t freeing anything up.”
IU finished 4 for 20 from behind the three-point line.
Indiana just lacks that one three-point shooting specialist that can punish defenses for packing it in. The Hoosiers have some guys that can knock down shots, but no one that defenses are going to respect enough to risk what the Hoosiers can do at the rim.
Of course we must mention an atrocious 7 for 18 night at the foul line that often stymied any attempt at a comeback.
The 14 turnovers were the highest in this four game losing streak.
Miller inserted Zach McRoberts into the starting lineup to guard Carsen Edwards, and the senior co-captain did a respectable job. Going into the game, most would have accepted Edwards being held 5 points under his season scoring average, and shooting just 33% from the field along the way.
The problem was, Edwards can do more than just score the ball, and he proved it on this day. The junior guard had seven assists, and most of them involved Purdue taking advantage of IU’s heavy emphasis on him. Purdue hit IU with array of slips to the basket that punished the Hoosiers for drawing their bigs out towards Edwards.
Purdue takes their game to another level when they knock down three pointers.
Miller indicated that it was a major point of emphasis coming into the game to get over the top of ball screens and hand offs. While Purdue was just 7 for 22 from deep in the game, they hit several big shots in the second half, and they were often a result of IU failing to get over the top.
OTHER GAME COVERAGE
- Three keys, final box score, specialty stats
- Archie Miller post-game
- Matt Painter post-game
- IU and Purdue players discuss the game
(players with meaningful minutes)
- Juwan Morgan* (B+) It was clear that Morgan significantly stepped up the effort. At times it felt like he was the only one that was truly going all out. The bottom line is Purdue tried to take him away with double teams which limited his looks. Of course you can’t look past the free throws, but don’t overlook the 3 blocks and 3 steals. He brought it.
- Justin Smith* (B) Smith was the only thing going early in the game as he kept the Hoosiers in it. He played an unreal 38 minutes, and the 7 for 8 from the field is great. We’d still like to see more rebounds, and then there is the four turnovers.
- Romeo Langford* (C-) You knew the day was coming. Early fouls got things going sideways, and he never recovered. The off day is fine, but the mannerisms when things weren’t going well were concerning.
- Al Durham* (B) After recovering from injury this week, Durham accounted for himself well in this one, giving the Hoosiers 26 turnover free minutes while contributing 4 assists and 4 rebounds.
- Devonte Green* (D) With 3 turnovers in 14 minutes, Green was erratic. He continues to be a guy that you don’t know what to expect game to game, or even play to play.
- Rob Phinisee (C+) Miller says he is still recovering and we’ll have to take his word. He had an off-shooting night but his biggest mistakes might have been going under or being late fighting through screens on big Cline 3-pointers.
- Zach McRoberts (C+) By far the toughest guy on the team to grade. McRoberts did a nice job defending Edwards and added 7 rebounds and 3 steals. On the other end of the floor he was a liability and allowed Purdue to sag its defense into the paint.
- De’Ron Davis, Clifton Moore and Damezi Anderson also saw action in this game.
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