We’ve entered the drama stage of the IU basketball season. There was a game on Tuesday night in Evanston, but the suspension of five Indiana players stole the headlines and dramatically altered the game plan for the Hoosiers.
Down to seven scholarship players, IU started strong and jumped out to multiple six-point first half leads. The Hoosiers extended their advantage to seven early in the second half, but a 13-0 Wildcats run that ended with a Robbie Beran three at the 14:27 mark flipped the script, and the fatigued five, who all played at least 34 minutes, could never fully recover as their suspended teammates looked on from the bench.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers lost with another edition of The Report Card.
IU (16-7 7-6) will next travel to Michigan State for a 3:30 p.m. Eastern tip on Saturday in East Lansing.
Indiana scored just 21 second half points against a mediocre defense, but how hard do you want to be on this particular backcourt? Down to two guards available — and no true point guards — Indiana was bound to struggle on offense, and they did.
Moreover, after the game IU head coach Mike Woodson said he only had Tuesday’s shoot-around to prepare to play with the shorthanded roster. Indiana was without 37 percent of its scoring.
Trey Galloway did admirable work running the offense, and his early emphasis on scoring the basketball helped IU jump out to a 14-8 lead.
“I think Trey played really well this game. He showed his toughness, his grit. I think he came off ball screens really well, got downhill,” Trayce Jackson-Davis said after the game. … “For a position he hasn’t really played I thought he did a great job.”
Ordinarily, players growing fatigued would be viewed as an excuse, but in this case Woodson was playing with two guards who don’t see major minutes. Indiana couldn’t sustain its momentum, and there is no doubt tired legs were an issue on Tuesday.
“I just think fatigue set in with our ball club because I couldn’t go anywhere else (on the bench),” Woodson.
IU made just 8-of-25 shots in the second half, including a 1-of-5 effort from Jackson-Davis, with several misses at close range.
“We just ran out of gas at the end. A lot shots ended up getting short,” Jackson-Davis said.
IU scored just .795 points per possession, a season low, obviously largely influenced by the circumstances.
If there was a defining aspect of the first half, it was Indiana’s ability to limit Northwestern from behind-the-arc. The Wildcats were just 1-of-13 from long range at the break, and most of those misses were well-contested.
“We were out there competing together, trying to get stops,” Galloway said. “I think that’s one thing that really led us to get off to a good start was getting stops early.”
For the game Northwestern made just 31.9 percent of its shots including just 5-of-27 (18.5 percent) from three. Their effective field goal rate of 35 percent was the second lowest against Indiana this year by a high major opponent.
The Wildcats had .919 points per possession, and IU had won every previous game when holding an opponent below one point per possession. Northwestern had just seven assists on their 22 made field goals.
If there was a major flaw, it was Northwestern’s ability to get to the offensive glass. The Wildcats had 16 offensive rebounds and scored 14 second-chance points. A lot of the second-chances came from long rebounds off those missed threes.
But the bottom line is, Indiana’s defense was easily good enough to win the game. And considering the circumstances, it was an impressive, gritty effort by the Hoosiers.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Final box score, highlights, keys to the game and specialty stats
- Woodson, Jackson-Davis and Galloway post-game
- Short-handed Hoosiers fall to Northwestern
Trayce Jackson-Davis (B-) Jackson-Davis did everything but get his shots to go down. He was effective on the glass and on the defensive end, but the IU big man is in a rut when it comes to finishing in the paint. He’s made just 7-of-22 shots over the last two games.
Race Thompson (B) Thompson was 7-of-10 from two but continues to struggles from three after a nice run of making shots from the perimeter. Like Jackson-Davis, he was effective on the defensive end in what were at times some tricky perimeter matchups.
Miller Kopp (C) Kopp had six rebounds, two assists and no turnovers. That’s the good news. And the 13-0 Northwestern run really didn’t have anything to do with his defense, which overall seemed better in this game. But his 1-of-7 shooting day wasn’t the homecoming game he wanted.
Jordan Geronimo (C) This was a missed opportunity for Geronimo, who fouled, took ill-advised shots, and showed his limitations right now as a developing player. He had flashes defensively, but Geronimo’s performance highlighted why he isn’t a perimeter player at this point.
Trey Galloway (A-) You can’t completely ignore the five turnovers and two flagrant fouls, but Galloway was forced into a tough spot, got IU off to a great start, and he competed throughout. Irrespective of what happens with the suspended five, Galloway made a strong case to become a starter.
Anthony Leal (B) He did a good job of moving the basketball and was strong on the defensive end most of the way. But given the roster limitations, this was probably a game where Leal needed to hunt more perimeter shots, and his teammates needed to do a better job of finding him.
Nate Childress also played briefly.
Michael Durr, Tamar Bates, Xavier Johnson, Parker Stewart and Khristian Lander were all suspended due to disciplinary reasons. If there were Fs in this game, they get them.
Logan Duncomb did not play . Rob Phinisee was out with a foot injury.
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”
- Find us on Facebook: thedailyhoosier
- You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier
- Seven ways to support completely free IU coverage at no cost to you.