Indiana’s trip to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational ended in major disappointment as the Hoosiers dropped the fifth place game to UNLV on Wednesday, 72-69.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Runnin’ Rebels:
· Indiana’s season is already at a crossroads: Late in Indiana’s loss to Wake Forest, I tweeted that it was only November, which insinuated that fans shouldn’t worry too much if the Hoosiers weren’t able to pull out a win.
Indiana came into the Maui Invitational undefeated and ranked No. 13. It will leave with two losses, and will almost assuredly fall out of the rankings.
21 turnovers and 10-for-19 shooting from the free throw line doomed the Hoosiers in their 72-69 loss to UNLV on Wednesday. After getting behind big early, IU was never quite able to come all the way back and take a lead.
Only three players out of the 10 who played managed to not turn the ball over, and IU’s three main ball-handlers — Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams — each had four turnovers.
“Really it was just us,” Blackmon Jr. said. “I feel like (UNLV) didn’t do too much of anything. I feel like it was us that made turnovers that we could have prevented. But their pressure was good. We knew that they would come out and pressure us and it was going to be a dog fight from the beginning. So I feel like we should have just prevented that more.”
LAHAINA, Hawaii — Riding high off a strong performance against Creighton on Thursday, Indiana seemed primed to make some serious noise in Maui.
But the Hoosiers leave uttering but a whimper. Three games of evidence show this: Indiana did not play well at the Lahania Civic Center. A 1-2 record and sixth place. Both sides of the ball need serious work right now — confusion, chaos and calamity abound.
The same issues reared their ugly heads again this afternoon. For all the talk about Indiana having one of the best — if not the best — offenses in the country, the Hoosiers didn’t show it against UNLV. They mustered just .94 points per possession against the Runnin’ Rebels. There were moments where the ball movement went flat and Indiana’s uptempo attack looked stale.
A few quick thoughts on Indiana’s 72-69 loss to UNLV in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational:
How it happened: Indiana arrived in Maui with a top 15 national ranking and hopes of a trip to the event’s championship game later tonight. The Hoosiers will depart with a 1-2 record and both losses came to teams that are unlikely to make the NCAA tournament. Put today’s loss, one in which Indiana never led, on 21 turnovers and poor decision making all around, including on the bench. The Hoosiers fell behind early, drew even in the second half, but could never get over the hump.