Indiana got smacked in the face with a Big Ten road reality check. And what they’ve gotten away with against mid-majors didn’t translate against better talent.
After a quick 9-4 start by IU, Nebraska responded with a 26-12 run and really never looked back. The Huskers led 30-21 at that point, and Indiana couldn’t get closer than four before halftime. A 5-0 Nebraska start to the second half put the Hoosiers on their heels, and they never recovered.
Let’s take a deeper look at how IU lost 86-70 with another edition of The Report Card.
Indiana (10-4, 2-1) will next host Ohio State Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
When their offense survived a possession long enough to generate a shot, things didn’t go so bad. The Hoosiers had an effective field goal percentage of 55.9, and you can win a lot of basketball games in that neighborhood. They also had 19 assists on 24 field goals.
But on 27 percent of possessions, IU didn’t take a shot.
“We had 19 turnovers and 27 (points off turnovers). I thought that was the difference in the game,” IU coach Mike Woodson said. “You can’t beat anybody, especially on the road turning it over 19 times.”
Nebraska had very active hands. 15 of the 19 turnovers were credited to Cornhusker steals. But Indiana was careless passing the basketball, and they force the issue at times against a barrage of double teams.
‘We were trying to create things that weren’t there (in the post),” Woodson said. “They put two on the ball, and that’s been pretty good for us when teams put two on the ball, we’re able to pull it and get rid of the ball and that pass leads to something good. But tonight we tried to fight the two on the ball and we were throwing it away.”
Indiana didn’t look to push the pace at all and they were relegated to the half court most of the night. And they missed seven shots categorized as layups in the live stats. In the end IU score .997 points per possession.
After one of his team’s worst defensive efforts, Woodson said what we’ve all seen to this point.
“This team is not as good as we were defensively the last two years,” he said.
Indiana’s perimeter defense had been exposed throughout much of the nonconference schedule, and Nebraska knew what to do. 54 percent of their shots were from three, and they made 8-of-16 in the second half to run away with the game.
Despite Nebraska having the same 55.9 percent effective field goal rate as Indiana, the Hoosiers gave up 1.23 points per possession for the game, the second highest average they’ve allowed this season (Auburn). The reason? IU’s defense was not disruptive. The Hoosiers forced only eight turnovers as Nebraska was able to move the ball and get the Hoosiers into rotations.
Moreover, Indiana fouled excessively and gave the Huskers 26 free throw attempts. Tack on nine offensive rebounds that produced 11 second chance points, and quickly a fairly pedestrian day shooting the ball by Nebraska becomes an offensive outburst.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Indiana’s sloppy play against Nebraska crystallizes narrow margin for error in Big Ten play
- Video and transcript: What Mike Woodson said after loss at Nebraska
- IU basketball: Nebraska 86 Indiana 70 — Three keys, highlights, final stats
- Extended highlights:
*Trey Galloway (D) This was one of his worst games of the season. Galloway started missing shots in the first half, and that seemed to send him into a spiral. He was outplayed by Nebraska’s guards on both ends.
*Mackenzie Mgbako (D) After making a three early, Mgbako picked up two quick fouls and sat for most of the first half. He never made meaningful offensive contributions when he returned, and his defensive lapses on the perimeter were costly.
*Malik Reneau (C) Reneau was slow out of the gate and only had two points at the half. He continues to struggle with double-teams and had four turnovers. On the bright side, his 3-point shooting continues to be a major development.
*Xavier Johnson (F) It probably isn’t fair to hang an F on a player for their first game back from injury. If there was one thing to like, Johnson was able to get in the paint off the dribble and collapse the defense.
*Kel’el Ware (B) He recorded his fourth double-double of the season, and at times it felt like Ware was the only option for Indiana. After he struggled against high majors in some earlier games, this was an encouraging performance.
Gabe Cupps (B) Cupps played well and can continue to be a spark off the bench, a role he’s better suited for at this stage in his career.
Kaleb Banks (D) Banks looked sped up and jittery. He continues to foul excessively and lose his man on the perimeter.
Anthony Walker (C) Walker was effective finding open space and drawing fouls. But he was uncharacteristically careless with the ball and wasn’t impactful on defense.
Anthony Leal (C) It appears he may have earned a rotation spot, and he can keep that role if he keeps making threes.
C.J. Gunn also appeared in the game.
Jakai Newton (knee) is out long-term.
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