On a night when history was made and career highs were reached, Indiana put together one of its more complete efforts of the season.
Now winners of six in a row, the No. 22 Hoosiers closed out nonconference play with a 94-64 win over Jacksonville to improve to 11-2 on the season. IU is just five wins away from their 2017-18 win total with 18 more regular season games left to play.
The win sealed the program’s first undefeated month (6-0) since going 7-0 in November of 2012.
Indiana will now get an extended break, with no games until a January 3rd home contest against Illinois when Big Ten play resumes.
After falling behind in the first six minutes by a score of 14-9, Indiana went on a 66-26 run, playing some of their best basketball of the season in the process. The Hoosiers were dominant on both ends of the floor during this stretch.
IU held the Dolphins without a field goal for 7:00 minutes in the first half, out-scoring them 14-3 in that stretch, turning the five-point deficit into a 26-17 lead.
Indiana then started the second half on a 10-0 run, as IU held Jacksonville scoreless for the first 2:54 minutes. At that point the outcome was no longer in doubt.
A big story in the game was points in the paint, as IU held a 50-30 margin in the contest.
IU has struggled at times to get anything out of their offense, but this was a night when Indiana moved the ball well and routinely found the open man cutting to the basket. Archie Miller summed it up this way:
“We shared the ball. We were much better in terms of moving the ball. I thought our guys did a decent job of playing together.”
The 64.8 percent shooting night was the best for any Archie Miller coached team in his career, topping the win over Marquette in November.
That field goal percentage ranks as the 13th-best percentage since 1996-97 for IU and the best effort since the Hoosiers shot 66.7 percent against Delaware State on Dec. 19, 2016.
Still Miller sees the opportunity to get better during the long break:
“I just think we have to be more fundamental, we really do. Less chances, less one-hand passes, and what not. I thought tonight we were pretty secure in our ball security. Guys made right reads. There were a lot of good passes out there that got guys good shots.”
It is important to note that IU was missing two of its better perimeter defenders in Zach McRoberts and Rob Phinisee. With that in mind, holding a team to below 40% is a nice accomplishment. Miller expressed concern after the Central Arkansas game about the team’s three-point defense, and they held Jacksonville to 23% on the night.
Miller acknowledged that McRoberts and Phinisee’s absence played a role in what was a solid but perhaps incomplete effort:
“Defensively we grinded pretty good for about 30 minutes, then obviously we took the foot off the pedal, which was a little disappointing. It’s hard to complain when you have a lot of different guys in there contributing, also being down two guys that play an important role on our team.”
Jacksonville scored 24 of its 64 points in the final nine minutes.
OTHER GAME COVERAGE
- Final box score and specialty stats
- Archie Miller and players post-game
- Juwan Morgan records first IU triple double since 1971
(players with meaningful minutes)
- Juwan Morgan* (A+) When you do something no one has done in nearly 50 years, you get an A+. Overall Morgan is on an absolute roll, shooting a combined 28-of-34 (.824) over the last four games. It was more than the triple double on this night with 3 blocks, 2 steals, only one turnover and just two fouls. It was a truly memorable night for the senior co-captain.
- Justin Smith* (B-) Six of seven from the field is excellent of course, and he appears to be getting stronger around the rim. But how does a player of his athleticism get no rebounds in 19 minutes? This just has to get better and more consistent.
- Romeo Langford* (A-) With his unselfish play and complete game, Langford is like having another senior on the floor. For as highly touted as he is, Langford is as special for the way he approaches the game as he is for his talent.
- Al Durham* (A-) It was a career high scoring night for the sophomore guard, including 3 of 5 from long range. Miller referred to him as one of the hardest working players on the team, and he reaped the rewards tonight.
- Devonte Green* (B+) Green didn’t have another great shooting night, but he brought what was needed from a starting point guard with 5 assists and 2 steals on just 2 turnovers. It has been an impressive two games for the junior guard.
- Evan Fitzner (B) Fitzner needs to develop something off the dribble or nights like this will be the norm. He played fine, but no one is going to give him space from long range anymore.
- De’Ron Davis (B) It was a highlight that will be lost after the big nights from others, but how about that fast break dunk from Davis? With 4 fouls in 7 minutes, there was hardly time for much else.
- Damezi Anderon (A-) It is really nice to see a young man take advantage of a playing time opportunity. Anderson didn’t hesitate to put up open three-pointers, and he delivered. He can continue to see the floor with a shooting performance like this, and he added 4 rebounds.
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