In what was an important road game for Indiana to look to continue to build momentum, the struggles against in-state rival Purdue continued.
Indiana lost 57-49 on Thursday night at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. and it has now lost 10 of their last 11 games against the Boilermakers.
IU kept the game close for the majority of the first half. However, after Armaan Franklin made a three-pointer with 3:44 left to cut Purdue’s lead to 19-18, the Boilermakers ended the half on a 10-2 run to take a 29-20 lead into the locker room.
The half ended on an emphatic dunk by Purdue’s Eric Hunter after an Indiana turnover, one of three miscues in the last few minutes before the break.
IU head coach Archie Miller believes that was the deciding run in the game.
“The game. It was the game,” Miller said. “It was a 23-20 game and the last two minutes they go into halftime 29-20. In this type of game that nine point lead is like 15 or 16.”
With Indiana winning three of their last four, the formula for coming away victorious has been clear. Passing the ball inside to Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson, and the other big men and controlling the paint has allowed the floor to become more spaced out and has opened up opportunities for good looks from the perimeter.
Tonight, however, nothing was going right for the Hoosiers on the offensive end of the floor. Even when they got good looks from the inside and in transition, seemingly nothing was falling.
“Purdue defended really well, in particular in the paint and made it very difficult for us around the rim,” Miller said. “Post doubles continue to take our big guys out of the game.”
IU shot 6-of-28, or 21.4 percent, from the field in the first half including 2-of-9, or 22.2 percent, from beyond the arc. Not helping the cause was Indiana having three assists compared to eight turnovers before the break.
“Our inability to stretch the floor and make some shots was a problem,” Miller said.
Purdue stretched the lead to 16 early in the second half but Indiana continue to play hard and managed to pull to within 51-46 in the game’s final minute.
“I’ll give our guys credit as well,” Miller said. “I thought we competed and played hard in the game.”
Even though Indiana struggled offensively, their defense kept them within striking distance, holding Purdue to 37.5 percent from the field.
With Purdue up 48-35 with 6:08 remaining in the second half after a Trevion Williams made jumper, IU went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 48-42 after a Race Thompson made layup with 3:04 left. However, IU could never get over the hump.
Purdue was able to close out the game at the foul line and earn a much needed win for their NCAA Tournament hopes.
As of now, Indiana appears to be in the NCAA Tournament, but it will have to hold serve at home at a minimum. After a trip to Illinois on Sunday IU will finish the regular season with two home contests.
Inside The Numbers:
One player was in double figures for Indiana. Devonte Green led IU with 11 points (on 3-of-15 shooting) and Justin Smith had eight. Race Thompson led IU in rebounding with eight.
IU lost the rebounding battle 40-37. Indiana had 13 second chance points on the night while Purdue had 16.
For the game, Indiana was 15-of-59, or 25.4 percent, from the field including 5-of-24, or 20.8 percent, from three-point range. It was Indiana’s worst shooting percentage in a game since 2014.
The Hoosiers were 14-of-21, or 66.7 percent, from the foul line.
For the game, IU had six assists compared to 13 turnovers, while Purdue had nine assists and 11 turnovers.
Trevion Williams led the Boilermakers with 19 points and 8 rebounds.
Indiana (18-10, 8-9) will travel to Champaign to face the Illinois Fighting Illini in a Big Ten conference matchup. The game tips off at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 1.
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