February arrives this week, and Indiana is in no position to feel good about a loss — even shorthanded against the No. 10 team on the road.
The Hoosiers controlled the early action and led 20-12 at the 8:13 mark of the first half. But Illinois went on a 26-10 run near the end of the first, and they led by four at the break. The Hoosiers would build a seven-point second half lead with 12:43 left, but a 9-0 Illini response gave them the lead back. Although IU had the game tied at 62 with 1:29 left, they wouldn’t score again.
Let’s take a deeper look at how IU lost 70-62 with another edition of The Report Card.
Indiana (12-8, 4-5) will next host Iowa on Tuesday.
Indiana was 0-of-9 from three, and 12-of-22 from the stripe. That’s where the game was lost.
Illinois is one of the best teams in the country at limiting three-point attempts, so that was certainly part of the story. But IU won’t win many games on the road with 10 missed free throws, that low of a three-point volume, and certainly not without any makes from deep.
The Hoosiers did a good job limiting turnovers with just nine, and they were efficient inside the arc. But they were far too one dimensional, with 46 of their 62 points coming in the paint.
Kel’el Ware likely could have helped on this end, adding a lob threat and at least the potential of making perimeter shots. And the Hoosiers certainly could have benefitted from more than just seven offensive rebounds. Moreover, Malik Reneau could have been shielded by Ware’s presence from the foul trouble that took him off in the floor in the final three minutes.
In the end IU scored just .91 points per possession, and that’s almost never enough.
It isn’t clear how the rotations would work when both Reneau and Ware are healthy, but playing smaller, Indiana looked like a much more competent defense against a top-10 offense.
With a more versatile group on the floor, Indiana switched almost every screen one through five for most of the game.
IU held Illinois over 12 points below their season scoring average of 82.7 points per night, and they were at just 62 with a minute to go. Indiana held Illinois to 23-of-62 (37.1%) from the field and 7-of-23 (30.4%) from beyond the arc.
“We had a week to prepare. I thought they followed the gameplan tonight,” Mike Woodson said. “Our switches, we didn’t get burned as much. We switched up and made the correct defensive plays.”
So the defense was certainly good enough to win the game, with one glaring exception.
Indiana missed a lot of block outs, and that led to 14 Illinois offensive rebounds and 13 second chance points — a massive total in what was a tie game with less than two minutes to go.
Fueled by their extra opportunities and 26 free throw attempts, Illinois scored 1.03 points per possession.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- In another missed opportunity, Indiana men’s basketball has only itself to blame
- Watch: Mike Woodson and Mackenzie Mgbako discuss loss at Illinois
- IU basketball: Illinois 70 Indiana 62 — Three keys, highlights, final stats
- Availability report: Kel’el Ware out for Illinois game
- Extended highlights:
*Trey Galloway (B-) Galloway had a very strong first half but faded out of the picture offensively in the second. He was unable to make threes. But there is no questioning the effort, and Galloway held his own in some tough defensive matchups.
*Mackenzie Mgbako (B-) The freshman forward is playing hard, and he had some good late game moments with a bucket and assist to force a late tie. And Mgbako had a career high 12 rebounds. “I think Mack has come a long way,” Woodson said after the game. And while there were signs of defensive improvement, there were some lapses as well.
*Malik Reneau (B+) Illinois did a good job of limiting his volume. Reneau only took 12 shots. But he still produced 21 points. He is Indiana’s foundation right now, and he’s leaving it all on the court.
*Anthony Walker (C) Walker played reasonably well on both ends. He simply doesn’t provide a perimeter scoring threat which limits the offense when he’s in the game for 31 minutes. That isn’t something IU was expecting from him, but it is their reality right now.
*Xavier Johnson (B-) Indiana probably isn’t close in this game without Johnson. He was masterful at getting to the rim and finishing. On balance he had a solid game, and even appeared to draw a charge in the final minute on a Terrence Shannon drive but wasn’t rewarded. But he also got a technical to end the first half, missed a major block out that led to Reneau’s fourth foul, and missed two free throws in the final minute down two.
Gabe Cupps (C) The freshman guard had a nice steal and alley-oop to Reneau. But overall he wasn’t able to maintain the level of play established by Johnson and Galloway when he was on the floor.
Anthony Leal (C) He had some good late moments, with a block and a smart cut to the rim for a layup. But he also had a late turnover and had some challenging defensive matchups at times.
Payton Sparks also appeared in the game.
Kaleb Banks and C.J. Gunn did not play, coach’s decision.
Kel’el Ware was out with a sprained ankle. Jakai Newton (knee) is out long-term.
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