The Minute After: Minnesota

Thoughts on a 60-57 win over the Gophers:

As it turns out, there’s life after Christian Watford after all.

This win came in the form of Tom Pritchard, who became Blake Griffin tonight.

It came in the form of a defense that racked up seven steals, some of which aided in Indiana’s 18 points off turnovers. The first half box-and-one limited Blake Hoffarber’s attempts — though the Gophers figured out how get him more looks in the second half — and often made Minnesota nothing more than a jumpshooting team, one that finished the game at 39.6 percent from the floor (21-of-53).

It came in the form of 12 offensive rebounds, which helped the Hoosier amass 18 second-chance points.

Despite a double-digit lead for a good chunk of the second half, it felt as if Minnesota was bound to strike at some point. And they did. This one had the feeling of Sunday’s Breslin Center bout all over again.

But there was no close but no cigar this time.

Thanks to some clutch free throws from Verdell Jones and a big three from him as well, the Hoosiers gave themselves just enough distance, and Hoffarber’s three — a kid that’s killed this team before with last-second heroics — did not go down at the buzzer.

This night inside Assembly Hall, there was no overtime. No loss.

Just another win over a ranked opponent at home. Another game where energy, effort, hustle and desire were at a maximum, just when it felt like this season’s best days were behind the Hoosiers.

Twelve wins and counting. A .500ish mark still in sight.

After everything that’s gone down so far this season, it’s not a bad place to be.

Other thoughts:

+ Mentioned this quickly above, but THE PRITCH. Goodness gracious. He played with an absolute reckless abandon this evening — tipping in two balls and throwing down that ridiculous slam up above for another putback.

For a team that’s going to need some other offensive outlets with Watford on the shelf — especially inside — Pritchard answered the call in a big way this evening, going a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and even hitting both his free-throw attemps for 12 points.

Pritch also chipped seven boards, though all those came in the first half.

+ Matt Roth may have only shot 3-of-10 from 3-point land tonight, but it felt as if all three came in key spots. Roth hit two in a row in the first half to ignite a hyped crowd, and hit one later in the second half to stop a 6-0 Minnesota run. If Pritchard and Roth continue to bring 20-plus points combined the rest of the way, that’ll be big for the Hoosiers.

+ Nice to see Verdell Jones back in action, and for him to have those five key points in the closing minutes of the ballgame. Took the sting out of missing Watford’s presence a bit. Jones hit the team’s two other threes — Indiana was a rough 5-of-24 on the night from beyond the arc — and was 4-of-7 from the field for 12 points. He also notched five boards in just 17 minutes of action, as he’s on a minutes limit coming off his injury.

He’s another guy that’s going to have to play well on the offensive end with Watford out.

+ The Hoosiers shot 86.7 percent (13-of-15) from the line. The Gophers only hit 50 percent (11-of-22) from the charity stripe. In a poor shooting game like this — Indiana, at 39.6 percent from the field, was just a bit better than the Gophers tonight — free throws made a difference in IU coming out on top.

  • JerryCT

    It DOES look like my aqua lycra shorts.

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    Based on what Crean said in the postgame, it sounds like Rivers is sore but shouldn’t miss any time.

  • JerryCT

    In my best falsetto voice and on behalf of the extended Pritchard family and all IU fans I accept everyone’s apology for their past criticism of Tom, who does everything asked of him on the court , game in …. game out ………… and often not only playing against his opponent, but our perimeter’s man as well coming at him like a freight train ……….. with no help or sympathy from any ref this side of the rocky mountains.

    ( i think you failed to mention Moore whose ball denial on Hofarber was pretty beautiful )

  • JerryCT

    Darn ……… well … he feels like family to me …….. i feel like a new papa ……… saves me a trip out for cigars I guess

  • http://twitter.com/benlaborde87 Ben Laborde

    I was going crazy on that play because I thought it should be over and back as well! I played HS ball in Indiana just a few years ago and that would have been a turnover then. So maybe the rules have changed but I think it was just a missed call by the officials.

  • http://twitter.com/benlaborde87 Ben Laborde

    I was going crazy on that play because I thought it should be over and back as well! I played HS ball in Indiana just a few years ago and that would have been a turnover then. So maybe the rules have changed but I think it was just a missed call by the officials.

  • Anonymous

    Mike:

    I hope when Grasshopper has grasped the stone that the Master stays around.

    Even though Quinn does his best to be objective when calling an IU game, I love it when his Hoosier Pride explodes like last night.

  • Anonymous

    Mike:

    I hope when Grasshopper has grasped the stone that the Master stays around.

    Even though Quinn does his best to be objective when calling an IU game, I love it when his Hoosier Pride explodes like last night.

  • Anonymous

    Even after the knock to the thigh, while he was limping and gesturing to the bench, he got a hand up in Hoffarber’s face and Hoffarber missed the 3. Now, if we had gone into a fast break situation he wouldn’t have been much help, but extra attention or no, he was still trying to do his job.

  • Anonymous

    I think what I like most about the recent rise in intensity is the way it manifests itself in rebounding and defense. It’s what I would call a No-You-Don’t!–Gimme-Dat-Ball! type of attitude.

    Very proud of our Hoosiers.

  • MillaRed

    Honestly I think he took a good knock, and the blow to the head vs. MSU was
    certainly ugly. It seems like it happens a lot. That’s all I am saying.

    Maybe when you play D like he does it’s just part of the game.

  • MillaRed

    I did not think we could win this game. Shame on MillaRed.

  • MillaRed

    Ha ha Jerry got in trouble with Tom Pritchard’s mom! This is a glorious day!

    And Mrs. Pritchard, the MillaRed guy that was asking Tom to do better? That was my uncle. I took over the MillaRed name last month.

  • MillaRed

    This actually sounds right. Not saying I agree with the rule, but I think you may be right.

  • MillaRed

    Well at least we didn’t say we fathered him for goodness sake!

  • MillaRed

    Which is why I think Verdell would be the perfect 6th man next season off the bench. It would really take care of those droughts we go through at times eh?

  • HoosierFromCT

    the best comment is: Blake Griffiin is a poor mans? Tom Pritchard

  • Anonymous

    “flat out rear rapes”—WOW good call

    GO IU!!!!

  • Anonymous

    In CTC’s defense, I think Moore is better at denying the ball than VO. I noticed that throughout the game, VO allowed Hoff to get the ball in his hands several times. He was solid defending Hoff with the ball, but not very good at denying him the ball in the first place. He needs to get better. JR does both well and we will need VO to fill that role next year. Moore, however, plays good position defense and denies the ball with his quickness; however his height disadvantage makes it easy on the offensive player to shoot or pass if he does get the ball. With Hoff inbounding it, I think they went with Moore to deny the ball from coming back to Hoff. In fact, they almost turned it over trying to get the ball back to him.

    BTW, anyone notice the obvious foul on the inbounding play? I am not sure who it was but the Minn. player who recieve the ball shoved Jordy with both hands to make space. Knocked Hulls back a couple of feet. I understand letting them play on a close call at the end of the game, but this was not a close call. It was an obvious foul.

  • Anonymous

    Or just give them a hard foul and force a team shooting poorly from the FT line to earn it. Though with our recent string of giving up and-1s, I wouldn’t necessarily trust our defenders to make sure a shot isn’t attempted for a possible 3-point play.

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree re: ball denial for Moore. In a situation where it was essentially going to be catch and shoot, I’d rather go with height and athleticism than lateral quickness, especially considering that Hoff was the inbounds passer. How much easier was it on Hoff to find an open man over Moore than a guy like Oladipo with an extra 6 inches, wing span and jumping ability?

    Obviously we’re nitpicking since a win is a win, but we’d all be questioning Crean if that shot dropped over Moore.

    And yes, definitely saw the shove on Hulls. Knew that weren’t going to call it, but karma bit them when he fumbled the pass back to Hoff forcing the rushed shot at the end.

  • Anonymous

    I was sitting with my 9-month old baby next to me when I jumped and yelled “OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!”. She cried. Oh well, it wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. Remember Oladipo’s half court shot, I screamed…she cried. She’ll get used to it.

  • InTheMtns

    CTC said in his post-game that Dan asked for the assignment. My guess is that Dan knew he could stop Hoffharber. Now, of course, he could have been wrong and we would all regret CTC letting him have the nod just because he asked for it. But my bet is that CTC knew if Dan was asking, Dan knew he could stop Hoffharber. The two of them had been into it just a little bit before, practically coming to fist-a-cuffs, so Dan probably thought he had gotten under Hoffharber’s skin and he’d be more bothered by Dan than someone else. As it turned out, Dan wasn’t as good at denying the ball as we’d hope, but he was plastered to the front of Hoffharber’s jersey as he shot and you might noticed that Hoffharber sort of faded away on the release and the shot came up short.

    As for the decision not to foul, CTC said they discussed which way to go and decided to stick with their defense. They thought it was more risky to foul and have them make the first one, intentionally miss the second and get the rebound for a possible win.

  • InTheMtns

    The play he drew up where Verdell scored with 2:02 left in the game worked. CTC called timeout to put in a play because we needed to score. He said that that wasn’t a play they’d practiced – that he drew it up in the timeout. It had a couple options. He thought Jordy would probably shoot it but passing off to Verdell was one of the options and it was a good choice on Jordy’s part. I’m not saying that drawing up timeout plays might not be a problem, but we can’t just look at the ones that don’t work. Don’t we also have to look at the ones that work? The one at the end didn’t work, but the one at 2:02 did work.

  • Anonymous

    You are right I did leave off Moore, He really did an impressive job last night.

  • Anonymous

    100% agree with that.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Yeah, my dog just stares at me the entire game. It kind of freaks me out. It’s so bizarre because when the game starts he starts getting all antsy and quite honestly – scared – because he knows I’m about to start flipping out every couple of minutes for the next two hours. But he doesn’t do it for anything BUT IU games…it’s completely abnormal behavior for him. It’s like there’s a different chemical I produce when I cheer for the Hoosiers as opposed to anything else I get excited about….I know he can sense the tension before I even say anything.

  • dfitz

    My only problem with VO after one of these plays is that he looks too damn happy. He need to develop a scowl or evil eye to scare the _____ out of the other team. We will all know how he feel on the inside.

  • JerryCT

    My dog is a gun dog and does not react to loud noises except guns so instead of yelling I shoot a gun and put a stuffed bird in her mouth

  • Anonymous

    One thing about it Crean will never have to worry about being accused of winning with somebody else’s recruits. LOL

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Thanks for pointing out one that worked Mtns.

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