Indiana suffered its first loss of the Mike Woodson era, and it was a memorable one.
After falling behind by as much as 18, the Hoosiers fought back and forced two overtimes before finally falling to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers lost 112-110 to the Orange with another edition of The Report Card.
IU (6-1) will commence Big Ten play on Saturday at Noon Eastern against Nebraska at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
We don’t normally include this section, but there were a few stretches in this wild game worth documenting.
- Syracuse’s largest lead was 18, and they held that margin three times, the latest being a 51-33 advantage with just over 19 minutes left in the second half.
- Over a stretch of less than 10 minutes Indiana came all the way back to take its first lead, 63-60, with 10:04 left in regulation. It was a 30-9 run in 9:26 of clock time.
- Syracuse was back up by 11, 83-72, with 3:44 left in regulation, and they were still up 86-80 with :26 seconds left. Trayce Jackson-Davis hit four free throws, in the final 20 seconds, Khrisitan Lander hit one, and Parker Stewart hit a three all to allow IU to force an 88-all tie at the end of regulation. Lander missed the second of two free throws intentionally, Jackson-Davis grabbed the rebound and was fouled with under a second remaining, and he made both from the line.
- IU opened the first overtime scoring with a three-pointer from Miller Kopp.
- IU led 101-97 with 4:12 left in the second overtime, and then fell behind 107-102 with 1:29 left.
- Down 110-107 with seven second left, Kopp was fouled on a three and made all three free throws to tie the game yet again, but Syracuse was fouled on a coast-to-coast attack the other way and clinched it at the line.
Recent vintage Indiana teams might have folded in several of those situations, but to its credit, this IU team never did.
“Everyone in that locker room is a fighter, and we’re not going down unless we swing,” Trayce Jackson-Davis said after the game.
Turnovers are officially a problem with this team. Yes they had 26 for the game including 13 in the first half, but Indiana for the season now has a 22 percent turnover rate which comes in at No. 284 nationally. Syracuse got 33 points off the IU turnovers.
The beauty of Syracuse’s zone is that while they run it every day, their opponents rarely see it. And Jim Boeheim tweaks it too. Often thought of as a 2-3 zone team, the Orange played 1-3-1 for much of the night, and that had IU dazed and confused early.
“I mean unforced turnovers, we just kept giving them the ball the first half something that we haven’t seen I mean we’ve seen some zones and and not to take anything away from their zone you know they trap when the ball goes into the deep corners and that was basically it but we just couldn’t figure it out the first half,” head coach Mike Woodson said.
The turnovers seemed to come in waves — three in the first 1:26 of the game, and five in the first five minutes. The mistakes masked what was some pretty effective offense otherwise. The Hoosiers shot 55.1 percent from the field including 40.7 percent (11-27) from three. They scored 1.17 points per possession despite a 27.7 percent turnover rate.
“I thought we made the adjustments the second half and things were smooth and we ended up getting back in the game and made a game out of it,” Woodson said.
One of the adjustments was to have Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson switch sides so they were passing more with their strong hands.
Known for its defense, this was by far Indiana’s worst effort of the season, and after a questionable performance against Marshall, now an area of concern.
IU allowed 1.19 points per possession, more than any game this season, and more than any game last season except for one — at Ohio State.
The Hoosiers struggled to guard Syracuse’s guards and wings in one-on-one isolations, and they had several mistakes in their ball screen coverages, leaving shooters open.
The mistakes were especially glaring in the first half when the Orange shot 58.1 percent from the field and made 8-of-16 threes.
“They were getting good looks on offense and we didn’t have our hands up. Coach Woodson said we have to play into the ball and we weren’t playing our defense in the first half,” Jackson-Davis said.
Indiana obviously had some good stretches of defense, including much of the second half, but they also fouled too much in a tightly officiated game. Once both Xavier Johnson and Rob Phinisee fouled out it became difficult for the Hoosiers to guard on the perimeter. IU forced just one turnover in the two overtime periods and Syracuse was able to operate more comfortably.
OTHER GAME COVERAGE
- Final box score, keys to the game and specialty stats
- Mike Woodson post-game
- Hoosiers show grit and expose flaws in first loss
Trayce Jackson-Davis (B+) He was dominant with 31 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks, but he also committed six turnovers. Indiana fans caught their breath after he returned to the floor after what turned out to be just banging knees with another player.
Race Thompson (C+) Thompson had 17 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists, nearly capturing a triple-double. But he also nearly had double-digit turnovers with 7. Syracuse was able to pull him out on defense and create mismatches.
Miller Kopp (B) Easily Kopp’s best offensive game as a Hoosier, he was a confident shooter, attacked off the bounce, made key free throws, and had only two turnovers in a team high 48 minutes. Kopp’s 28 points were a career high. Syracuse was able to attack Kopp on the other end, however.
Parker Stewart (C+) Stewart was great from behind the arc, making 6-of-12. He forced Syracuse to switch their zone in the second half after he made three 3-pointers in under three minutes of clock time — and the change largely took him out of the game. Syracuse was able to pick on him on the defensive end, he wasn’t getting into shooters in the first half, and he ultimately fouled out.
Xavier Johnson (C+) Did a good job of reading the zone rather than forcing shots once he broke down the first level, and that led to 9 assists against 3 turnovers. But he wasn’t nearly as impactful as he needs to be on the defensive end, and when he tried to be, he fouled.
Tamar Bates (D) Let’s face it, Bates looked like a freshman in his first road game. The future is very bright, but this wasn’t his night. He looked unsure against the zone and wasn’t impactful as a defender.
Jordan Geronimo (F) Geronimo is in a bit of a rut. Two turnovers in four minutes and we never saw him again — and he could have been a valuable perimeter defender and give Race Thompson and Miller Kopp more breaks.
Khristian Lander (C) Just an incredibly tough spot for Lander to step in and run the team after sitting for the first 40 minutes of the game. He made an important three, and made some mistakes too, as would be expected. He isn’t the defender that Johnson and Phinisee are, and it showed at times.
Michael Durr (B) He only played five minutes but Indiana didn’t suffer a letdown with Durr on the floor.
Rob Phinisee (C) Had a great coast to coast attacking layup, and had 3 assists against just 1 turnover, but much like Johnson, he simply fouled too much.
Trey Galloway was out with a wrist injury.
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