After falling behind early against Wisconsin on Saturday, Indiana got knocked out.
Playing at Madison Square Garden against UConn in the Jimmy V Classic, the Hoosiers fought back when the going got tough.
After a late night in New York, the Hoosiers can return home happy after a hard-fought victory against a quality opponent.
After falling behind 26-16 in the first half, Tuesday night’s game had that here we go again feeling. Instead, aided by the return of sophomore point guard Rob Phinisee, IU went on an 18-3 run and took a 34-29 lead into the break.
“I can’t say enough about our response,” Indiana head coach Archie Miller said after the game. “It’s not easy taking the medicine we took on Saturday and then play the right way.”
Although it was not their best offensive performance of the season as the Hoosiers scored just 57 points, the defensive intensity and effort that Archie Miller and his staff preached carried IU to their ninth victory.
UConn was held to 41.2 percent shooting from the field and coughed the ball up 22 times. The Huskies’ 22 turnovers were well above their season average of 12 per game and resulted in 12 Indiana points.
“I thought tonight we were much better in the toughness category and much better in certain areas defensively,” Miller said.
Miller was looking for more leadership from his upperclassmen. Tonight, they stepped up in a big way when the game was highly contested in the final minutes.
Joey Brunk finished the game with nine points, including scoring seven straight points in the span of a little under two minutes late in the second half to help give energy and life to his teammates.
Often known for his offensive abilities, Devonte Green, along with Phinisee, were huge contributors on the defensive side of the ball in the closing seconds of the game. They both also knocked down clutch free-throws and forced Huskies’ guard Christian Vital into a turnover in the final seconds to secure the win.
“Defensively he impacted the game when he came in, and offensively he is steady and he is strong,” Miller said of Phinisee.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
Indiana’s three-point defense was much improved, only allowing the Huskies to shoot 6 for 21 from deep, or 28.6 percent, after allowing Wisconsin to shoot 40 percent from distance.
For the game, Indiana shot 36.8 percent from the field and 72.2 percent from the free-throw line.
IU had no players in double figures for the game. Al Durham and Brunk led the way with nine points apiece. Justin Smith and Trayce Jackson-Davis each added eight points. Jackson-Davis added seven rebounds to lead IU.
See also: Stats and Highlights
Indiana returns home to Assembly Hall for a Big Ten conference matchup with Nebraska. The game tips of at 8 p.m. ET on Friday.
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