Lackluster defense costs Hoosiers in upset loss

  • 01/13/2012 8:20 am in

Indiana struggled at times defensively in its first four conference games, but the Hoosiers’ vulnerability was mostly hidden by their hot shooting.

The No. 7 Hoosiers (15-2, 3-2) entered Thursday night’s game against Minnesota as the nation’s top 3-point shooting team by percentage. They were shooting 50.5 percent from the field overall. In many ways, they were winning by simply outshooting their opponents.

When Indiana’s shots weren’t falling against the Golden Gophers, however, their shortcomings on defense were much more visible – and costly.

The Hoosiers made only 4-of-18 shots from 3-point range and 24-of-55 overall. They struggled to find an offensive rhythm or get enough defensive stops to go on an extended run.

The Hoosiers’ inability to get a stop down the stretch put them in deeper and deeper holes – holes they were unable to climb out of.

“The easiest thing in the world to do is to be sky high when you’re making shots,” said Indiana coach Tom Crean. “The hardest thing to do is to understand how committed you have to be to the game of defense and rebounding when you’re not.

“Defense creates offense, defense creates more opportunities, defense creates the fast break – you name it. The best teams gain confidence from their defense, not the other way around.”

Indiana, which usually relies on its defense to get momentum-building baskets, had only four fastbreak points against Minnesota. The Hoosiers forced 11 turnovers, and committed 16 of them.

“We just didn’t have our edge,” guard Jordan Hulls said. “Didn’t get the stops that we needed, let them get way too many open shots, didn’t take away things that we needed to – just very poor defensively. … We’ve just gotta be mature enough and have that edge.”

The Gophers did most of their damage in the first half from beyond the arc, hitting 6-of-13 shots from distance. Indiana repeatedly left open shooters, and watched at Minnesota build a sizeable lead.

While the Hoosiers held Minnesota without a 3-pointer in the second half, they gave up numerous offensive rebounds and second-chance opportunities that helped the Gophers earn the upset.

“We challenged some shots,” Crean said, “but then all of a sudden we give up an offensive rebound, or we lose a guy on the back line as he slides under.

“It comes down to mindset. … When you start to win, as things change around you, your mindset can’t change. They’ve gotta learn, they’ve gotta grow through that.”

SHEEHEY RETURNS IN LIMITED ROLE

Sophomore Will Sheehey returned for the floor for the Hoosiers after missing five games with a left ankle injury. Sheehey scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 15 minutes, and also pulled down six rebounds. Crean said it was the first time Sheehey has played “up and down” the court since the injury.

“It felt fine,” Sheehey said. “I just had to get warmed up and what not, but it wasn’t enough tonight.”

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  • Anonymous

    Some guys on here go too far with their dislike of VJ3 without a doubt.  But get serious, Jerry.  He was terrible last night.  He wasn’t the only one who played poorly, but seniors shouldn’t play like freshmen. 

    He was our worst wing last night, and that is unacceptable for a player with his experience and skill level.

    Let’s look at our wings from last night:
    VJ3: 0-6, 0 pts, 3 reb, 3 TO, 1 As, 23 min.
    CW: 1-7, 4 pts, 3 reb, 4 TO, 0 As, 29 min
    VO: 4-6, 10 pts, 6 reb, 2 TO,0 As, 2 st, 27 min
    Will: 5-7, 12 pts, 6 reb, 1 TO, 1 As, 15 min
    Roth: 2-3, 6 pts, 0 reb, 0 TO, 0 As, 13 min
    Remy: 1-3. 4 pts, 3 reb, 1 TO, 0 As, 18 min

    Only VO and Will had productive nights, so it isn’t like there is only one guy to blame here, but Jones was particularly bad last night.  When assessing a player’s performance, we can’t just look at stats; we must look at roles also. VJ3’s role is that of a ballhandler and slasher. He was bad on both counts last night. While Roth’s stat line isn’t overwhelming, he is not in the game to dish the ball. He is in to shoot the 3, and he went 2-3 in that category last night. Well done.

    Again, I agree that VJ3 isn’t the sole reason we lost, but I think we all need to acknowledge that his play left much to be desired. I hope he bounces back against OSU. We need him to play MUCH better if we desire to be in the upper division of the B1G this season.

  • Anonymous

    they probably dictated it on an iPhone…those things “hear” what is said and the “speech to text” comes up with some interesting stuff.

  • The team as a whole played terrible last night. I have never seen a team get out rebounded so bad and show no effort what so ever. Stupid shots and turn overs, no hustle at all on defense, and some how still almost pulled off the win. I know we have only lost 2 games now but I hate to see a loss like this one. Also as for the other article on here about Jones shooting after the game, I think he needs to work on dribbling and passing instead of shooting. They will bounce back I have no doubts about that it was just a very off night and all teams have them.

  • Anonymous

    Hulls ALWAYS goes under screens. 

  • Ben Billman

    What I mean by mental toughness is that we never lost track of time and score.  We played awful defense, and our shots weren’t falling, but we never gave up on trying to win.  Our strategy the last 2 minutes was perfect.  Sure, we turned it over and missed some critical shots, but we had a strategy in mind to try to win.  This was by far the worst performance of the season, but at least we didn’t go into autopilot the last 2 minutes.

  • cdog

    These kind of games happen in the B10, just ask Wisconsin.  The key is that you learn from them.  You will know soon enough this weekend as they must play with the same intensity that got them the W at home against OSU.  If not, they can get a 20+ point loss hung on them.  CTC needs to make sure these kids stay positive and continue to improve.  The turnaround has been phenominal.  Only continued effort and improvement will get you future wins.  They have now learned every game is a battle.  Hey Duke lost to Temple, it happens.  Let’s go to work and mark February 25th on our calendar as an opportunity to even things up.  I live in Chicago and I am going to that game and I will be supporting my Hoosiers!  No more booing… please.

  • Anonymous

    A home loss is never good and a home loss to a cellar team [so far] is worst. But with going to Ohio St. coming up, it might be a silver lining. IU came back and almost won last night and they were reminded not to read their press clippings, or tweets. IU will be even more focused on Sun. at Columbus. A loss at Ohio St was pretty much was predicted by most, but a 15 or 20 point loss would be even worst. Hopefully the Hoosiers can stay close and sneak out with another vic over the bucs. 

  • CreamandCrimson

    You make some valid points Jerry but you left out some of the things Hulls did to make your point.  Hulls had 13 points.  Hulls had the same number of rebounds as Verdell.  Hulls shot four more free throws than Verdell. 

    You are correct, there is a lot more to this loss than Verdell.  No doubt about that.  You are also correct that 15-2 is great and we shouldn’t only pick one guy to blame for this loss, it’s much more complicated than just one player.  I just don’t think you should omit the good from Hulls when you are attempting to compare Verdell favorably to Jones.  

  • Anonymous

    If you think we would have been better with AE or DE you are badly mistaken.  DE is virtually no threat on offense and AE is young and inexperienced.  I’ll admit that we saw the bad version of Verdell and Watford was nonexistent, but I’ll take Watford or Verdell even on their worst day before I take AE or DE.

  • Anonymous

    If you think we would have been better with AE or DE you are badly mistaken.  DE is virtually no threat on offense and AE is young and inexperienced.  I’ll admit that we saw the bad version of Verdell and Watford was nonexistent, but I’ll take Watford or Verdell even on their worst day before I take AE or DE.

  • Anonymous

    If you think we would have been better with AE or DE you are badly mistaken.  DE is virtually no threat on offense and AE is young and inexperienced.  I’ll admit that we saw the bad version of Verdell and Watford was nonexistent, but I’ll take Watford or Verdell even on their worst day before I take AE or DE.

  • Anonymous

    I can say with 100% accuracy that DE and AE in 52 minutes last night would not have done worse.  DE was halfway there with 2 points in 4 minutes.

    Any other night I can say VJ and CW get the nod everytime, but when VJ and CW were so bad and CW showed limited mobility from twisting his ankle, anyone else in place of them would have been an upgrade.  For a JR and SR to play like that at home in the Big 10 was disappointing.

    I guess DE and AE should tell CTC , “No” when he goes to put them in and say, “Watford and Verdell are better than us on their worst day”

    So much for working hard in practice and trying to earn minutes, King of the Court, let’s ride CW and VJ no matter what and spare the thought of playing to the guys who help run the scout teams and get the team prepared to play OSU, UK and Michigan, 3 huge wins.

  • Anonymous

    Christian in this game was brutal.  Do not take it out of context.  DE would not have done worse last night than what CW produced, that was my point.

    AE may not be the answer, but he too would have fared better last night.

    What coach did know is that he was playing bad, and as you pointed out, got benched in the second half.  I am guessing he saw the poor play all night and us go down by 11.  But, he decided to stick with CW and VJ and today we are discussing a loss.  At least Hulls kicked it into gear in the second half.  Last night he showed heart.

    In the one game last night, changes needed to be be made and that is my point.  We need CW to win any game, but we do not need the play from VJ and CW to lose one.  We have other guys who work extremely hard that could have given more  last night.

  • Anonymous

    Not quite sure what all the cries for AE are about just yet.  He’s not ready in my opinion.  For a freshman, he just doesn’t have the confidence like Remy.  We’ve seen spot minutes here or there from AE, but even when open at the 3-point line, he hasn’t fired away.  Even though Remy doesn’t have the same natural outside shooting skills, he pulls up confidently and we’ve seen him hit some big shots (case in point last night and vs. NC State).

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I want to say that the Hulls we saw in the last 10 minutes is the Hulls I was asking about after the PSU game!

    He was shaking, baking, handling the ball with confidence and creating against quicker, more athletic guards.

    HE HAS TO COME OUT FROM THE OUTSET AGAINST OSU AND PLAY LIKE THAT!!!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Also, we should’ve pressed and trapped Minnesota earlier in this game! 

    We said the same thing last year.  CTC waits too long in games before turning on the heat and trying to get back in it! 

    Pressing and creating a faster tempo is what you need in a game like last night and we didn’t do it!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    How can the officials miss the travel on the inbounds play on Oseniks at the end of the game???

    That was freaking ridiculous!!!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Roth and Sheehey but Roth got too few minutes!!!

  • Geoff

    A little off-topic, but here’s this if anyone is interested…

    Snow day up here in Maine, so I took the opportunity this afternoon to re-watch the Penn State game. I think that Victor Oladipo is our most fascinating player. So much of what he does just can’t be seen in a box score. My goal in this viewing was to concentrate on VO and his influence on the game… Negative plays, positive plays, a general feel for what he does off the ball on offense, but most importantly how he effects the game defensively. This is obviously a microcosm, but here is what I came up with:
    His “official” stat line: 31 min, 2-8 FG, 1-4 FT, 6 pts, 6 reb, 2 assists, 1 block, 0 steals, 2 fouls, and 2 TO’s
    That doesn’t come close to telling you the story… Oh, and I found those stats to be somewhat inaccurate as well.
    His main contribution to the game was his defense of Frazier. Whenever they were both in the game VO was assigned to him. There were several times that Dipo switched off because he was screened, and that was when Frazier took advantage. However, Frazier was never in a flow, ending 7-23 from the floor. For the game I charted possessions in which VO was the primary defender of a shooter. His opponents FG% against him was 26% (5-19). He had only 14 points scored against him by all players, and 4 of them were in transition when he was the lone defender back.
    While he was in the book for only one blocked shot – a help side close out on a 3-pt shooter – he actually had another one against Frazier in the second half and altered several others with strong close outs on the perimeter. Despite that aggressiveness he was called for only one shooting foul.
    Dipo was also extremely effective at closing off pentration attempts by Frazier. I counted 12 possessions that VO beat Frazier to a spot and prevented a lay-up (or any shot, for that matter).
    Here is a list of the impact plays that Victor made over the course of the game ( + = positive, – = negative)
    First half
    + blocked a 3-pt shot
    + defensive rebound
    + offensive rebound, created a foul
    + defensive rebound
    + created an offensive team rebound between 3 PSU players
    + got to FT line on hard drive off opposite kick out by Cody
    + Hit corner 3-ptr
    – turned ball over
    – fouled Frazier on a shot
    + nice assist to Hulls on an extra pass
    – Frazier makes contested 3
    + closed out a 3-pt shooter in transition effecting the shot and creating a miss
    – Frazier beats him off the dribble for a lay-up
    – Frazier back cuts him for a lay-up & 1
    Opponents go 3-8 FG with 10 pts and 1 TO
    Second half
    + defensive rebound
    + defensive rebound
    + created foul on a hard drive to hoop
    + closed out Oliver hard creating 3-pt miss
    + made beautiful baseline reverse lay-up
    – TO on reckless drive
    – got tied up driving into 3 defenders, luckily IU has possession arrow
    + blocked a Frazier lay-up
    + Stripped the ball out of bounds on a Frazier drive
    + created a team defensive rebound
    +++ steals an inbounds pass and fouls Frazier out of the game
    – misses 2 FT in crunch time
    + defensive rebound
    Opponents go 2-11 for 4 pts and 2 TO’s
    Including the makes and misses he defended I counted 35 positive plays to 10 negative plays while going against arguably the most dangerous guard in the conference (leading the B1G in both scoring and assists coming into IU game). That is some ratio.
    As a side note, Abel was the primary sub for Dipo, so I watched him just as closely. In 7 minutes he was a very positive force in the game. He scored 5 points on 2-3 shooting and added a rebound with no TO’s or fouls. He played tremendous defense on Frazier, running him off shots, cutting off drives and only giving up 2 points. Basically he was +3 against the leading scorer in the B1G… He also played very good help-and-recover defense. He physically looked like a MAN out there, not a freshman.
    Great game by both players.

  • Andrew

    Don’t confuse Jerry with facts.  Hulls’ 13 points don’t matter.  Every point Minny scored was the direct result of his terrible defense.  I’m sure he’d also tell you the foul on Pritchard that resulted in a Rodney Williams 3-point play was actually a great moment in the history of Indiana Basketball.  Sure, to the average dummy, #25 looked terribly slow and out of place, getting there just in time to make sure the ref would call the foul, but at the same time not doing anything to prevent Williams from making the bucket (brilliant!), but to Jerry it was a thing of beauty.  The only player who possibly could have done it half as good as Pritch would be Jeremiah Rivers.

  • Iucharlie

    This team has far exceeded expectations! But we are a year away from being really good. We don’t rebound well, we struggle with penetration from guards, and we turn it over way too much!
    If we can finish 12-6 in BIG that would be a great season. I appreciate VJ and Pritch, I am sure they are great guys, but Hanner, Yogi, Jeremey and Bus can play and they are also nice guys.
    It is nice that IU basketball is back to being relevant.

  • Anonymous

    Oh Geez..forget everything else..just read the SI featured article on IU this week..that explains the MN game..the SI curse is in full bloom):

  • Anonymous

    Class of ’88

  • heinsohn

    Sorry,only Oladipo and Remy are capable of effectiveness on the dribble drive.at times CTC had their defense spread out and had the ball in Oladipo’s hands.Hew and Remy are the ONLY ones who can get by their man.Jones continues to make mistakes when he goes one on one in this situation.

  • heinsohn

    Sorry,only Oladipo and Remy are capable of effectiveness on the dribble drive.at times CTC had their defense spread out and had the ball in Oladipo’s hands.Hew and Remy are the ONLY ones who can get by their man.Jones continues to make mistakes when he goes one on one in this situation.

  • Anonymous

    the defense the last 2 games is a concern. looks like last years team. 82&77 points against lower tier big 10 teams. i hope  this team gets back to playing hungry in a hurry or we might end up a bubble team.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone with any insight to the game of BB could see why we lost. Lack of defense and rebounding will almost always result in a loss. Enough said; can’t cry over spilt milk. Must learn, grow and move forward. In order to compete for the championship we need to win at least one road game (OSU, MICH, WISC) that we would consider to be a very possible loss; hold home court; and win road games against the rest of our BG10 opponents. not going to be easy, but is doable.

  • Anonymous

    You play CW. Saying otherwise is just stupidity.

  • Anonymous

    You play CW. Saying otherwise is just stupidity.

  • Anonymous

    The team really needed a leader at tip-off and a real leader needs to play D. I love Hulls, but we need our better defenders to embrace leadership as well.

  • Without the ball

    How does IU not know how to defend a FLEX offense?  How does VO not jump to the ball on the weakside and repeatedly get beat on that FLEX backscreen?  How does Crean not chew out VO for that?  FLEX has got to be one of the oldest most traditionally run offenses ran by junior high kids.  How does a college athlete or coach not know how to defend it?  I’m surpise Crean couldn’t hear all the high school players and coaches in the stands or at home watching on TV yell….”JUMP TO THE BALL!  PLAY WEAKSIDE!  THEY”RE JUST RUNNING FLEX!”