Perhaps a Health Report would be more appropriate. What is happening in Bloomington right now is truly unbelievable. The Hoosiers are now down seven scholarship players with injuries, with De’Ron Davis, Al Durham and Romeo Langford now added to that list. After the game Archie Miller said it was unlike anything that he has seen in his career.
Things have gotten so dire that Indiana needs all hands on deck just to practice 5 on 5 — and that includes three walk-ons.
Nevertheless, Indiana gets their fourth win of the season on just one loss. The Hoosiers will return to action on Friday night at home against UC Davis.
How critical do you want to be? The injuries aren’t just about missing who is out, it also heavily impact the guys that remain. Coming off extended minutes against Arkansas just two days ago, several IU players turned around and did it again on Tuesday night.
The Hoosiers only went seven deep into their rotation. Clearly Archie Miller isn’t comfortable with his walk-ons seeing action, because if he thought they could add value, they’d be out there. Rob Phinisee is the only healthy scholarship point guard on this team.
There is no denying that it was disappointing to see IU blow a 19-point second half lead. And it wasn’t all about fatigue either. UT Arlington was more aggressive in the second half. Indiana did find a way to stem the tide, however. Until they can start getting some players back, just winning is going to have to be enough.
There is some good in the story, although it comes with a down side. After 13 first half turnovers, IU was able to flip the script and committed just 5 for the second half. Overall the Hoosiers had a 25.4% turnover percentage, which is way too high.
Indiana also continues to shoot a high percentage from the field. IU was 54.5% from the field, but just 16.7% from long distance. The Hoosiers were also back below 70% from the foul line.
Interestingly, IU shot just two three pointers in the second half, which illustrates well what UTA was trying to do. With their defense extended and denying passing lanes, the only formula for IU was to get the ball down low. Led by Juwan Morgan, IU was finally able to execute under those circumstances, as they broke down the Mavericks by getting the ball into the post by slipping off of screens to pull away at the end. As a result, IU ended up with 52 of their 78 points in the point.
If you have listened to Archie Miller since he arrived at IU, you know he isn’t one to make excuses. It is what it is with the second year coach. That’s still the case, but he did say this last night about the second half defense.
“Without question. Rob couldn’t come out of the game. He’s fatigued, he’s guarding their best player. Romeo is fatigued, couldn’t come out of the game. That’s where our defense really started to get lax. We couldn’t apply the constant pressure and workload and how we want to play. We got lethargic defensively standing around.”
The discrepancy in UTA turnovers substantiates what Miller said, with 14 in the first half and just four in the second. IU simply ran out of gas — and players — and it caught up with them. The Mavericks also tied IU in rebounds in the second half, and shot above 50% from the field in the second segment. By just about any measure, it is clear what led to the UTA rally.
All that being said, it is what it is, and IU is likely to have the same issues on Friday night.
OTHER GAME COVERAGE
(players with meaningful minutes)
- Juwan Morgan* (A-) Morgan put this team on his shoulders. After the game he said “If it gets to the point where we have to play five people 40 minutes a game then that’s what we’ll do.” At 9 for 11 from the field, 10 rebounds and four assists, IU’s co-captain willed his team to victory. Turnovers and free throws were a concern.
- Justin Smith* (C+) Smith seems to be regressing back to last year’s form. He has been struggling to secure the ball around the basket and finish strong, even against a smaller team like UTA. He also had just five rebounds in 34 minutes and committed six turnovers. On the plus side, his free throws were better.
- Romeo Langford* (A-) Langford is not playing like a glamorous five star recruit. He took multiple charges, and has 18 rebounds in his last two contests. He continues to struggle with turnovers and needs to get better at playing through contact.
- Rob Phinisee* (A-) Phinisee started the season wondering how big of a role he would have. Now he is being asked to do too much — but he is still delivering. Despite playing 39 minutes, he was still two for one on assists to turnovers, and added three steals.
- Al Durham* (B) More than 40 rows up in the media seats, we could hear Durham hit the deck. We were surprised he didn’t come out of the game sooner. Hoosier fans can only hope that he is just sore, but he told Miller he couldn’t go in the second half.
- Evan Fitzner (B-) The grad transfer has clearly lost his Marquette mojo over the last couple games. This was another game where the matchups were not ideal, especially on the defensive end. He has gone 0-5 from the field in the last two games.
- Damezi Anderson (B+) Anderson seemed unphased by the moment and hit a big three pointer out of the under four minute time out to stretch the lead back out to 10 and end the UTA threat. While his game and role are still evolving, Anderson is taking advantage of the opportunity. He may be starting on Friday.
You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier