Indiana head coach Archie Miller spoke to the media after a 64-49 loss to Penn State on Wednesday night. Video and a transcript of his comments are below.
Indiana (15-6, 5-5) travels to Ohio State next to face the Buckeyes at noon on Saturday in Columbus.
Good win for Penn State. I thought they played hard, very tough-minded group defensively. Inside tonight they played hard, really forceful. I thought Lamar and Mike both really commanded a lot of attention, drew a lot of fouls. Our first-time defense in the half court I thought was pretty good most of the night. If you look at their shooting percentages at home, you would think you have a chance to hang in there. But offensively we were bad. When you talk to the team after the game, there’s not a whole lot to talk about. In the second half we just played terrible. When you look at the turnovers in the second half, I believe it was 12, and you look at 3 for 26 from our backcourt from the floor and 1 for 8 from three, you’re going to have a hard time. We had a real hard time functioning and getting anything generated offensively. One game can lead to another but I felt like tonight’s game we played pretty hard for the most part. We got stops but could get nothing in transition. Over the course of the game they took away things and made us make some plays. We had a really hard time scoring the ball from the perimeter tonight which hadn’t been the case the last two or three games.
Q. You’ve said in the past this team will go as far as the backcourt. You spoke about the shooting percentage, what was different in this game?
A: Off the top of my head, Penn State does a real good job with their pressure defense. With a lot of their switches, they take away things you may normally get. They’re a very good defensive team this season. We had some good looks that needed to go down, you have to make some shots. At the end of the day you have to be able to make a few shots and we didn’t have it. It wasn’t one just guy tonight, we just couldn’t get anything going and we have to be stronger with the ball. To turn it over six times in the first half, and I don’t know how many points came off of steals, but we just could never get a grip. In the second half the turnovers just mounted and we could never get a grip. The game for a long time was within reach, but the turnovers and inability to score was going to cave us in and it did.
Q. This is the second game in a row you have only attempted 10 free throws. After having eight in the first half, what do you think has been the biggest contributing factor to not getting to the line like you’re used to?
A: I have no idea. We’re the number one team in the league in getting to the foul line, third in America at free throw rate, we generate as many points from the free throw line in college basketball. I have no idea why we’re not getting to the free throw line.
Q. “You’ve mentioned inside out passing during the wins recently. With the early fouls, did those contribute to not being able to get any flow going in terms of inside out passing?”
A: I didn’t think our big guys did a real good job in the second half. They played us one on one pretty much inside, and said score if you can. They gave us a lot of looks, but we got some inside out passing. The ball didn’t move tonight, they made it difficult on us to move it. We didn’t get good post catches and when we did, we had to score and we missed way too many easy ones around the basket.
Q. Nights like this do you feel like you just don’t have enough levers at guard. Does just having four true guards make it more difficult if they don’t play as well as the team you would like to have?
A: Self-explanatory, your players have to play well. Armaan Franklin, Devonte Green, Aljami Durham and Rob Phinisee have good rhythm. Those four guys can play, we just didn’t get enough production tonight. Not just from one, but anyone. We missed some easy ones. Rob Phinisee had some really good drives in the game, he even put a couple drives down. We probably had some good looks but we also had turnovers. Our backcourt has done a really good job the last few games not turning it over and I thought tonight we just had way too many, especially in the second half. The second half we needed our offense to hang in there, because our defense was doing ok there for a while. For the most part, defensively we hung in there. They shot 40% from the floor in the second half but we didn’t get much on the break either. The break has been good to us, I thought Penn State did a really good job or we made some poor decisions in not being able to get the ball ahead and get it inside as we’re accustomed to doing.
Q. You’ve talked about the communication aspect of the team, especially after your first road loss in the Big 10 at Wisconsin. Do you think the connectedness is still there in the second half of games when things get tough?
A: We’re talking about it. We have to continue to talk, continue to be smart and continue to be tougher defensively. When your offense lets you down like it did tonight it’s going to be tough. It’s hard on the road as it is, but you can’t defend and shut a team out for 40 minutes. Eventually, what happened tonight, is our defense caved in at the foul line. We fouled them way too much unnecessarily and it started to get away from us with some turnovers. In the first four minutes of the second half I think we had three straight turnovers. Three turnovers right out of halftime really set the tone and hurt us. But we didn’t play well and that’s on me, we’re going to have to play a lot better moving forward.
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