Ding dong, the witch is dead. Indiana finally exorcised its Purdue demons, taking down the Boilermakers 68-65 on Thursday evening in Bloomington. The Hoosiers improved to 12-0 at home, earned their first victory over a top five team since winning at Iowa last year, and their first top five victory inside Assembly Hall since defeating North Carolina in 2016.
Indiana trailed by eight early, led by nine at halftime, and then gave it all back in the second half before Rob Phinisee nailed a game-winning three-pointer in the final minute.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers won with another edition of The Report Card.
IU (14-4, 5-3) will host Michigan on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
Purdue went right to a scheme IU has seen plenty this year — trap the post and force point guards Xavier Johnson and Rob Phinisee to be the players who beat you. Early on that approach was highly effective, as Indiana scored just eight points in the first eight and a half minutes of the game. But as you know very well by now, Phinisee came out firing and completely changed the first half. Indiana scored 29 over the last 11 and a half minutes, with 17 coming from Phinisee during that span.
Both Phinisee and Xavier Johnson, who were on the court together plenty, were effective at probing the defense and getting to the rim in the half court.
Nine of Purdue’s ten first half turnovers came during that same 11 and a half minute span to close the first half, and IU got out in transition and turned them into 11 first half points.
“They were also getting in transition and right to the rim,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “Our backline defense was non-existent, so we are challenging at the rim when we should be stopping the basketball.”
Indiana’s guards wisely chose not to challenge Purdue big men Zach Edey by going over him, instead they did the extra work to get around him for an array of reverse layups. The Hoosiers also earned a lot of free throw attempts — 24 — against a team that generally doesn’t send teams to the line.
Purdue’s defense doesn’t look to force turnovers, but the fact that Indiana had just three for the game was still highly significant in a game where every possession counted. It tied for the fewest in a game since at least March 15, 1996. It equaled the three turnovers against Western Kentucky on Dec. 6, 2006. It was the lowest turnover rate (4.5 percent) Purdue forced by nearly five percentage points.
The Hoosiers generated 1.03 points per possession, not a great number, but when considering they played 29 minutes without leading scorer Trayce Jackson-Davis, it wasn’t a bad effort.
Indiana held Purdue to .981 point per possession, which doesn’t seem like anything special until you realize it was Purdue’s lowest mark of the season and the first time they were held under one.
At the 13:35 mark of the first half, Sasha Stefanovic drained a 3-pointer to give Purdue a 16-8 lead. 28 seconds later IU head coach Mike Woodson subbed in Trey Galloway and Jordan Geronimo. 24 seconds after that he subbed in Phinisee, and 53 seconds after that in came Tamar Bates. From there the game completely changed.
The Hoosiers played their best defense of the season over the last 12 minutes of the first half, sparking a 29-12 run leading into halftime. Indiana forced Purdue into a half court game, and they were excellent at guarding the ball, preventing post feeds and chasing shooters through screens.
“If we can make teams go through our half court defense, that’s when we’re really at our best where we’re not giving a lot of things over the top or giving layups up or quick strikes, as we call them, for threes,” Woodson said. “If you go through our half court, then we’ve got a chance of defending a possession, and I thought the first half, man, was as good as we defended.”
Purdue big men Zach Edey and Trevion Williams are both on the Woodson Award midseason watch list. Both can dominate games. But Indiana allowed them just ten field goal attempts for the game by getting in good position and harassing them when they got the ball.
“With Edey and Williams, you can’t give those guys angles,” Woodson said. “You give them angles, then the ball is coming, and you can’t catch up to stop them from scoring. You’ve just got to pretty much make — and Mike (Durr) is a big body. I thought he did a good job in battling, trying to keep them in front and making them make plays over the top.”
IU struggled to stay in front of Jaden Ivey in the second half. He had 19 after halftime alone. But the Hoosiers stiffened to close the game, allowing just five points over the last 5:16.
Purdue came into the game as one of the nation’s best offensive rebounding teams, and Indiana did a nice job of keeping them off the glass. The Boilermakers’ 23.5 percent offensive rebounding rate was their second lowest of the year.
The Boilermakers came in shooting 40.3 percent from three but made just 8-of-23 for 34.8 percent.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Final box score, keys to the game and specialty stats
- Woodson, Phinisee, Johnson post-game comments
- Matt Painter post-game comments
- Phinisee can walk tall in Lafayette
- Extended highlights:
Trayce Jackson-Davis (B) Hampered by foul trouble throughout, Jackson-Davis wasn’t able to be a major factor in this one and he had two turnovers in 11 minutes. He did bother Ivey’s shot when Purdue could have reclaimed the lead in the closing seconds, and Jackson-Davis hit two free throws to force Purdue to take a three at the buzzer.
Race Thompson (A-) Thompson quietly led IU with nine rebounds, was a physical presence on defense, and made some difficult shots when Indiana was struggling to score. He even led the break a couple times. Thompson’s struggles from three continue.
Miller Kopp (B-) Kopp was effective at chasing Stefanovic through screens defensively, but otherwise wasn’t a major factor in limited minutes.
Parker Stewart (B-) He had a nice steal that he turned into lone two points. Purdue wasn’t going to let him get going from three. Stewart drew the Ivey matchup to start both halves. Ivey makes almost everyone look bad, and this wasn’t a good matchup for Stewart.
Xavier Johnson (A-) Johnson missed some mid-range floaters he’d no doubt like to have back, but otherwise this was an exceptional effort on both ends. He gave Purdue a dose of their own medicine, harassing the ball for 90-feet and putting Purdue’s half court offense on its heels.
Jordan Geronimo (A-) Geronimo gave Indiana great defensive minutes in the first half as part of the unit that changed the game.
Rob Phinisee (A+) His 17 points and 4 steals in the first half was one of the best individual performances we’ve seen in a long time. The word to describe it is fearless. Phinisee pulled up for jumpers without hesitation, and he got to the rim unafraid and determined. He took care of the ball and was a menace on defense. And then of course he drained the game-winner to cap off the best night of his career.
Trey Galloway (A-) Now several games into his return, there is just no denying that Galloway completely changes Indiana when he enters the game. He is a defensive force and makes the Hoosiers much more dynamic on the offensive end. Nobody was going to shut down Ivey in the second half, but Galloway helped to slow him some. He rebounded aggressively and was a force in transition.
Michael Durr (B+) With Jackson-Davis on the bench, Indiana simply cannot win this game without Durr’s defensive presence. Yes he had two blocks and two steals, but the quiet work was done with physicality and positioning to limit post touches. It is impossible to not mention that he had no rebounds in 24 minutes, and Durr is a liability when it comes to help side defense.
Tamar Bates (B) Much like Geronimo, Bates was dialed in defensively during the decisive first half run. He had two good looks on the offensive end but Bates cannot buy a bucket right now.
Anthony Leal, Khristian Lander and Logan Duncomb did not play.
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.