Drawing energy from a raucous home crowd, Indiana came out fast against No. 24 Marquette and never let up, securing it’s first big win of the season. It is fair to say that this was one of the Hoosiers’ most complete efforts against a ranked opponent in a long, long time, as Indiana ran away with it by a score of 96-73.
After Marquette scored the first two points of the game, IU responded with a 19-4 run and really never looked back. The Golden Eagles were able to pull back to within 29-22 later in the first half — but that’s as close as it would get. Every time Marquette appeared to be making a run, IU had an answer.
It was a statement win by a shorthanded team that has been doubted nationally. While the Hoosiers appear destined to be nationally ranked next week, another big obstacle stands in the way. IU will face their first true road test of the season on Sunday at Arkansas. A win over the Razorbacks would likely catapult the Hoosiers well into the Top 20.
Archie Miller referred to the effort as “tough minded and confident.” We haven’t seen that in a while at Indiana. Hoosier fans were likely expecting a big Marquette run, but it never really happened, despite Indiana playing with a depleted roster and guys seeing extended minutes as a result.
We don’t give out overall A’s often, but it is hard to find significant fault in this one. Indiana was very effective on both ends of the floor and dominated a team that will challenge for the Big East crown.
You have to give an assist to a great home crowd. The IU faithful were impactful from the start, and Archie Miller noticed.
“In this building, when you give that kind intensity level and that kind of effort, you’re rewarded with a great crowd.”
The headlines on the offensive end on this night would seem to be improved 3-point shooting (45%) and foul shooting (74%). But overall, Indiana shot an amazing 64% from the field, the highest in Miller’s IU tenure. Maybe Marquette isn’t as good as we thought on defense. Maybe it was just a good night shooting the ball. More than anything, it was good shot selection, capitalizing on turnovers, and a great job of attacking the defense with dribble penetration and extra passes.
Once again, Indiana had five guys in double figures. That is becoming the norm, and Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski referred to that balance as being indicative of a really good team.
IU’s guard play was particularly impressive, especially given the youth and big minutes there. Archie Miller was impressed.
“Al Durham and Rob Phinisee had 13 assists and 1 turnover. That’s a backcourt. That’s a good night for them man.”
IU’s defense really got the ball rolling in this one. Miller talks often about defense leading to offense, and that was the story of the first eight minutes as Marquette turnovers led to Hoosier transition baskets.
Indiana did a great job limiting Marquette’s all-Big East guard Markus Howard. The Hoosiers made it difficult for him all night with aggressive help defense. Early on, four steals in the first five minutes helped fuel that big start, and many of those turnovers were at the top of the key involving Howard. At one point Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski took Howard out of the game to settle him down.
Archie Miller credited the year over year improvement to some veteran players having a year in the system under their belts and being able to help lead the younger guys along. This team is clearly further along with Miller’s pack-line help concepts than where they were at this point last year.
Fatigue and mental lapses led to some breakdowns and a lot of Hoosier fouls as the game wore on, but it is hard to find significant fault with this effort.
OTHER GAME COVERAGE
- Box Score
- Post Game Interviews
- Steve Wojciechowski’s comments
- McRoberts, Green, Thompson and Hunter all likely out until December
(players with meaningful minutes)
- Juwan Morgan* (A-) Saddled with foul trouble, Morgan only played 22 minutes, but was highly effective when on the floor. He had a couple moments when IU needed to quell a run and he took it upon himself to score from the post. He had a team leading 8 rebounds, and many of them were with Marquette bigs draped all over him.
- Justin Smith* (B+) Smith also struggled with fouls, but it is hard to fault his effort. He was impactful on defense, and very effective on the offensive end cutting to the rim and making himself available as the defense keyed on dribble drives.
- Romeo Langford* (A-) This is what makes a top tier five star recruit special. Langford was a step faster than everyone else on the court, and gifted at finishing around the basket. He was integral early on with Indiana’s perimeter defense and tallied 3 steals on the night. Langford still has to become a more consistent perimeter shooter, but he seems to be able to get to the rim at will.
- Rob Phinisee* (A) He’s a stud. He’s a stud. 27 minutes, 12 points, 8 assists, 1 turnover and he guarded arguably the player of the year in the Big East. Not our words. That was Archie Miller, who credits a lot of his effort to his strength and intelligence. We couldn’t be more impressed with this kid right now.
- Al Durham* (A) 35 minutes against a good team with five assists and no turnovers? That’s special. Durham looks like a much more confident player all-around, and that is critical right now with Devonte Green sidelined.
- Evan Fitzner (A-) What can you say? 6 for 7 from the field, with 16 points in 18 minutes. What a find for the Hoosiers. Miller noted that Fitzner does need to improve his physicality on defense. Marquette seemed to attack him in the paint and he ended up with 4 fouls and 3 turnovers.
- De’Ron Davis (A-) Yes we are inflating his grade. Yes it is because he went 5 for 6 from the foul line. Davis is a load in the paint. If he can knock down foul shots he can be a big asset to this team. He continues to look like he is knocking off rust with his most extensive minutes of the season.
- Damezi Anderson (B) Anderson continues to see more action than probably what he even imagined early on, and he continues to do a fine job. He knocked down a big three pointer and did a nice job when Marquette applied some full court pressure.
You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier