Snap back to reality, ope, there goes gravity.
With a chance to earn a statement nonconference win, Indiana fell flat on their face.
It started out very promising, with IU raining threes and jumping out to a 22-10 lead. But a 42-12 finish to the first half by Auburn was more than enough to put the game out of reach. The Hoosiers never got closer than 11 in the second half.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers lost 104-76 with another edition of The Report Card. Indiana (7-2, 2-0) will next face Kansas in Bloomington next Saturday.
From the 10:13 mark of the first half to the 1:41 mark — nearly 10 minutes — Indiana only scored three free throws. During that span, a six point lead became a 14 point deficit. Ball game. IU missed 10 straight shots during that stretch and turned it over six times.
For the other 30 minutes, IU made 24-of-46 shots (52 percent) and turned it over just six times. But they were so bad in that one portion of the game, the rest of their performance didn’t really matter.
Indiana scored 1.02 points per possession. They scored less against both Maryland and Louisville but still managed to win. The Hoosiers also had a season-high six made 3-pointers on a season-high 17 attempts, including four makes in the first four minutes of the game.
But Auburn made life miserable for Kel’el Ware and Malik Reneau who combined to go just 8-of-21 from the field. And once the threes stopped falling, things got very, very difficult.
Auburn scored 1.4 points per possession. Compare that to the previous high for the season — UConn’s 1.16. It was the most allowed per possession of any game during Mike Woodson’s three seasons, and more than any game during Archie Miller’s four. You have to go all the way back to a 90-60 loss to Michigan in 2017 for the last time Indiana allowed more points per possession.
What stood out more than anything was Indiana being very slow getting back in transition defense. As Gabe Cupps put it after the game, IU was in scramble mode trying to get back, and they were unable to locate shooters in transition. Rinse and repeat.
The Hoosiers allowed the most 3-pointers they’ve given up in a game this season (14), and Auburn made them with staggering efficiency (48.3 percent). The Tigers shot about the same percentage from two and only turned it over three times.
Perhaps it would have helped to have Xavier Johnson. Perhaps five players listed as questionable before the game suggests there was an illness going around. Say whatever you want. It was a massacre.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Mike Woodson keeps same substitution pattern every game, but is that the right answer?
- Auburn exposed Indiana’s backcourt weaknesses in Atlanta
- Watch: Woodson, Reneau and Cupps discuss loss to Auburn
- IU basketball: Auburn 104 Indiana 76 — Three keys, highlights, final stats
- Ware and Reneau among five listed as questionable for Indiana vs. Auburn
- Auburn’s Bruce Pearl postgame:
*Trey Galloway (D+) Galloway’s biggest mistake was picking up a second foul. He didn’t come back to the same game when he finally returned in the second half. But he was on the floor for plenty of Indiana’s ugly second half stretches too.
*Malik Reneau (D+) Reneau was noticeably playing with a higher energy level in the second half. Perhaps his back is bothering him. He somehow has to find a way to bring it for 40 minutes, because he’s had several uneven halves.
*Kel’el Ware (D) This game felt a lot like UConn for Ware. Auburn’s length and athleticism bothered him. Unfortunately right now, as Ware goes, so goes IU. His ability to protect the rim was mitigated by Auburn’s ability to get out and run.
*Mackenzie Mgbako (D) A really good start got lost as Mgbako lost his shooting touch and committed three turnovers during the decisive first half collapse. The game seemed to be moving very fast for him on the defensive end.
*Gabe Cupps (D+) Cupps was more aggressive on the offensive end, and he had two steals with no turnovers while facing heavy ball pressure. Defensively he found himself in mismatches, and Galloway on the bench makes him easier to target.
Anthony Walker (D) Walker was impactful on the glass, and he contributed a couple blocks. He was probably the best of IU’s bench players, for what that’s worth.
Kaleb Banks (D-) It wasn’t a happy homecoming for Banks, who was on the floor for some of IU’s worst stretches, and he could never get anything going.
C.J. Gunn (D-) Gunn was trying to take on a role — breaking the press — that isn’t a strength. Defensively he didn’t have the same impact as a few days ago. He hit another three, and that makes three in two games. That’s encouraging, even if it came late.
Payton Sparks (D-) Sparks just isn’t quite the kind of athlete for this type of game. He’s better suited for a bully ball half court affair. He has shown some promise scoring on the low block.
Anthony Leal (D-) This style of game just wasn’t a great fit for Leal, who saw minutes because of Galloway’s early foul trouble.
Xavier Johnson was out with a lower leg injury. Jakai Newton (knee) is out long-term.
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