Craft, Buckeyes spoil Indiana’s Senior Night

IUOSUITH0007Everything was assembled for Indiana to have the party of the year on Tuesday night. The Hoosiers were playing for sole possession of a Big Ten title — one they hadn’t won since 1993 — and against the very team they manhandled just weeks ago at Ohio State. Plus, they were prepared to honor their three seniors, a class of guys responsible for bringing the Indiana program back.

Indiana still honored those seniors after Tuesday night’s game, and the Hoosiers can still win a conference title outright by beating Michigan on Sunday. But the celebration was mostly ruined by Aaron Craft and the Buckeyes on Tuesday night.

Ohio State 67, Indiana 58. And suddenly, the Hoosiers aren’t a lock for a No. 1 seed any longer.

“This is the epitome of bittersweet tonight,” said Indiana coach Tom Crean. “We’re trying to celebrate what these guys have earned, and at the same time, we didn’t earn it tonight.”

Added senior forward Derek Elston: “It felt like too many mental errors were stacking on top of each other. When you dwell on one of those, you’re just not playing your game anymore. I think that’s what happened tonight.”

The Buckeyes are a very good defensive team, but they sometimes struggle because their lack of consistent scorers behind Fort Wayne native Deshaun Thomas. When they get other guys to score, though, they are capable of being one of the nation’s top 10 teams.

On Tuesday night, it wasn’t just Thomas (who finished with 18 points on 17 shots). Craft, Ohio State’s pesky point guard, played well offensively and very much dominated whoever was matched up against him. Craft had 16 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting, four rebounds, four assists and four steals.

“We wanted to keep the lane covered on Craft, and he made some tough shots,” Crean said. “Those are the same shots he didn’t make against us [before]. He’s so good because he’s really looking for two things. He’s looking for an open lane, and then if you converge, he’s looking to hit somebody.”

Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson also made solid offensive contributions, combining for 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

“There were some stretches there where we would play really good ‘D’ for the whole shot clock, and they’d get a bucket right at the end,” said senior guard Jordan Hulls. “Whether Craft hit one off the backboard or a pull-up jumper or whatever the case was, offensive rebound, we just didn’t play with that edge that we need to have.”

Defensively, the Buckeyes took the Hoosiers out of the things they wanted to do. Cody Zeller had a typical stat line of 17 points and Christian Watford added 12, but Indiana got little from anywhere else. Player of the year candidate Victor Oladipo was saddled with early foul trouble and eventually fouled out with only seven points and four turnovers.

“We said at the start of the second half, he’s going to try to take this game over,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.

But he never did. Oladipo hit a quick 3-pointer to start the final 20 minutes, but struggled to get in any sort of an offensive rhythm because of the different looks Ohio State gave him.

Hulls scored five quick points in the first half, but didn’t attempt a second-half field goal until the closing minutes when the Hoosiers were trying to rally. Yogi Ferrell was just 3-of-10 from the field. The bench contributed only seven points, and zero in the second half.

“Obviously we didn’t shoot it well, but we had costly turnovers,” Crean said. “They played well, both teams played extremely hard, but they played smarter. That caught us. We didn’t do a great job of playing out possessions.”

Notes

· Big Ten champs?: Indiana had a trophy presentation, received championship hats and cut down the nets after the game. Yes, the Hoosiers have clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title, but cutting down the nets after a disappointing loss seems rather odd.

“We earned that right,” Hulls said. “Obviously we didn’t like to lose, but we earned the right to cut down the nets.”

Added Crean: “There’s no question we were going to do that. We’re gonna hang our own banner up there, and eventually we’re gonna individualize those banners that are up there now. That’s what we’re gonna do in this program. … Once Sunday night came, that was a given. Whether it’s shared, whether it’s not shared, they’ve earned that.”

· Emotional farewell: The three Indiana seniors — Elston, Hulls and Watford — delivered emotional speeches after the loss. Hulls’ was especially heartfelt, and for good reason. The Bloomington native was overlooked by most Division-I schools and helped resurrect the Indiana program. Hulls was in tears almost from the start, and had everyone in Assembly Hall and watching on TV wiping their own tears away.

“These guys were walking into a train wreck, and they did a great job with it,” Crean said. “They’ll be better for it, and I think you see that. They’ve got a great legacy here, there’s no doubt about it.”

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    They cut down the nets? Very weird.

  • swhostet

    They were presented the B1G trophy because at the least they are going to share the conference title, why is this strange? Normally when you are conference champs you cut down the nets

  • swhostet

    They were presented the B1G trophy because at the least they are going to share the conference title, why is this strange? Normally when you are conference champs you cut down the nets

  • SCHoosier

    Maybe they cutt’em down cause the offense hasn’t been using them much lately??

    I kid…these seniors deserved something last night beyond what they gave and got..if they wanted to cut them down..so be it.

  • Alex

    Stupid Aaron Craft and his rosy red cheeks.

  • Bryan

    Big moments and they fold. Better get that killer instinct or they are in some trouble.

  • Juan

    Might be the first time Craft has ever shot 70% from the field on the road. And he tallied only one foul. Wow.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Certainly wasn’t the party we’d all hoped. We played a really bad game, so it’s hard to get completely down on any one thing or player. Craft and Scott really stepped up. We didn’t have much of any answer from the guys on our end.

    Foul trouble killed us in the first half, because it made us play our bench. Some fault Crean for going to it, but I don’t really see how he had a choice. While Hollowell provided some nice minutes, our normal sixth man, Sheehey, was the reason we couldn’t hang with them in the first half when we went to the well. Remy was not effective again, in either half. Where has that guy gone?

    Oladipo was not able to impose his will, for the about the first time all year, save a short spurt at the beginning of the second half where I though we were going to overcome the foul trouble that plagued us in the first and take home the game. Then he seemed to lose it. He dribbled with his head down, allowed them to trap and help and pick his pocket that led to easy transition buckets the other way. Scott, mainly, and Craft as well seemed to be able to see VO coming from a mile away. We weren’t aware enough to anticipate the help and get open looks from it. Hulls looked like he would have converted last night, but he was either on the bench due to his defense or ignored when he was on the court.

    Yogi had a mixed game that on balance was not what we needed. He started out the game attacking, with success and making some great feeds. And there was some of that in the second half. But he also turned it over. He failed to establish position in transition. And mostly, he was unable to guard Craft. We made a conscious effort to change our strategy on Craft in the second half. Yogi was unable to go over ball screens in the beginning which got them some offensive advantages. In the second half, he was obviously told to go under the ball screen. That made sense to me, surely Craft wasn’t going to beat us with the shot, right? The problem was that it seemed to get too predictable, Craft figured out what they were doing, and he got confident he could find his shot and knock it down (writing this makes me want to puke, by the way). We tried to switch Oladipo on to him and that just got off Thomas when Craft, or Matta, recognized that as well.

    I’m not of the opinion that we cannot beat Michigan. We can. We matchup well. But I’m with everybody here that is worried we are not playing good basketball at the absolute worst time possible. The other teams have tried to give us the B1G and we are celebrating having won it, but we haven’t done anything of late to actually claim it. Still time to peak. But lord, we are letting opportunities go. Better right the ship Sunday, or we have a more difficult road in the B1G tournament and NCAA. Right now, I feel like this team needs to make it as easy as possible on themselves.

    VO won’t have two bad games right? That’s what I’m hanging my hat on.

  • azhoosier

    well you folks are not going to like this but here it is……what was that ..”thud”…i heard…oh…just Indiana not showing up for
    biggest game of season where they had a chance to win B1G title outright
    at home…on senior night….honoring two guys that brought program
    back from the Sampscum debacle…blowing #1 seed also…this team is a
    2nd round flame out in tourney…..gave away game at Illinois….hold
    Iowa to 14 points one half then not play defense an give up 46 second
    half….then lose to average O$U team at home…..this team to up and
    down to do anything in tourney…..looks like they share title with O$U after sunday…..

  • Pondo

    Does anybody know why Creek was in the game instead of Hulls when we were trailing with five mintues left? I feel bad for the guy, and he’s shown a ton of perseverence, but he’s a liability on both ends of the floor. I have no clue why he was in there when we needed to cut Ohio State’s lead and put some pressure on them.

  • CreanFaithful

    LOL… “Obviously we didn’t like to lose, but we earned the right to cut down the nuts.” I believe that was a typo!

  • Hoo Hoo Hound dog

    Sorry, but if I am CTC I certainly dont let them cut down the nets after that sorry performance.

  • HoosierCruz

    it is extremely disturbing that there is such a solid trend between our losses this year. Clearly the formula is out on how to beat IU, considering we have dropped 2 of our last 3 games. How can Crean & Co. not find a way to respond after getting beat the EXACT same way in all of our losses?!? The mental and physical toughness has got to come together NOW or we’re not even going to see the sweet16.

    Is Tony Robbins available on short notice??

  • HoosierCruz

    He got way too much time over Jordy in that game IMHO. Jordan was one of the few players hitting shots, why the hell was he on the bench so often?!? He was very outmatched on D, but he was hanging in there.

  • HoosierCruz

    we had it last year. I’m not sure how we lost that this year

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Bender/100000663971256 Michael Bender

    This loss is on the coaching staff and TC. Did any of the staff inform Yogi why in the hell is he going to the rim with two big men defending and getting it blocked….4 times!? Did any of the coaches noticed OS was useing weak side help when any of ours guys tried to post up and got doubled team which resulted in turnovers?! Did any of the coaches notice we got out rebounded…AGAIN!? What about sharp passes and finding an open man to get a high % shot? Um wonder where we have heard that before?! Cody has to dvelop a hook shot, when he bobs and weaves OS took waht IU he is not standing or using his 7 ft. frame, thus the 6’9, 6’8 or what ever defenders can reach the ball and block it or obstruct his shooting…any coaches notic this? Victor and Yogi at times to not protect the ball on the dribble and have no control…thus turnovers!! OS took what IU gave them and controlled the tempo and the boards. IU has not played well in the last 3 games and I sincerly hope they snap out of it or IU will see an early exit from the NCAA tourney.

  • Hoo Hoo Hound dog

    You are probably a little old school like me. You got to remember these kids have been given awards for participation since first grade. Dont want to harm anybodys self esteem. Everybody wins. “Sharing” a B1G title is along those same lines. IMO you dont hand a banner unless you win outright. So cutting down the nets last night is perfectly fine with most in todays society.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    I am literally speechless, thus I am typing . . .
    reallythee is nothing I have to ay, maybe after I rewatch the ame.

  • BrierBrax

    Going forward, I’d like to see us play a tougher non-conference schedule. We played a bunch of home games against teams that allowed us to get up and down the floor at will. A few serious tests vs teams that wouldn’t have rolled over quite like the vast majority of our home OOC opponents did might have gotten us a little more prepared for the half-court battles we’ve been dragged into lately (and are likely to see in the upcoming tournaments). I’d also like to see Luis Soffner and Caleb Konstanski (IU men’s soccer team seniors) give a pre-Michigan game speech to the guys. They were on a team that wasn’t playing anywhere near to the level they were capable at the end of the regular season (and even at the B1G tournament). However, they turned things around in time for the part of the season everyone focuses on and they did so by collectively buying in to one another and playing like a team that was going to give their opponents nothing while having nothing denied from them at the same time.

  • Rick

    Yes, agree on the Zeller comment. He took that one jumper from probably 15 feet. Drained it. He can hit 50% easy of these. And yes, a baby hook like he did ONCE vs Minnesota will go in 65% of the time. He will not be a post up player in the NBA. Why in the world isn’t he showing that he’s unstoppable with little jumper, a baby hook and an occasional drive just to keep them honest?

  • Tenacious D.

    This is not Kentucky in the SEC. The B1G is tough every game, from buzzer to buzzer. The coaches have to learn how to get the players up for these games and seize the moment. Crean just lost to Smith and Matta, two of the most accomplished and battle-hardened coaches in college ball. He has some learning to do, too–just like his players have done in recent years. But, he can’t learn it till he gets to the big games (just like Smith and Matta did). You know the maturing process as well as I do. This is a great wake-up call for Ann Arbor and the conference tournament.

  • Tenacious D.

    This is not Kentucky in the SEC. The B1G is tough every game, from buzzer to buzzer. The coaches have to learn how to get the players up for these games and seize the moment. Crean just lost to Smith and Matta, two of the most accomplished and battle-hardened coaches in college ball. He has some learning to do, too–just like his players have done in recent years. But, he can’t learn it till he gets to the big games (just like Smith and Matta did). You know the maturing process as well as I do. This is a great wake-up call for Ann Arbor and the conference tournament.

  • SCHoosier

    Why zeller doesn’t use his face the basket game more..for the reasons you stated..is the mystery of the season..that and why the offense can’t set a decent screen for a certain 3 pt shooter.

  • SCHoosier

    How many shots did Hulls even take in the first half..maybe two..problem all year.

  • CassDaddy

    Classy Alex. Why is it necessary to rag on a great kid and competitor because his cheeks get red when he plays basketball. The kid does what he is supposed to do on and off the court and stays out of trouble. Surely there are other ways to make yourself feel good without ragging on a kid from another school. Try running a couple of miles. The fresh air will do you well.

  • kewaynes

    He’s coached in the Final Four. What ‘big’ games are you waiting for?

  • Sad

    I feel that too many of the players are on cloud nine and not really understanding they are letting this season slide away. I feel the number one reason is too many of them are not strong enough to hold their own in the Big Ten. A few think they are PROS already but in reality they need a few more years to gain strength, ball handling and earn to play each and every night they go out onto the floor. Enough said!!!!

  • Alex

    Sorry CassDaddy! I didn’t mean to offend anyone! I wasn’t serious. The kid is a heck of a player, and a great guy off the court. He was out of his mind last night! Haha everyone at IU despises those rosy reds. It’s nothing personal. It was meant to be funny!

  • Alex

    Sorry CassDaddy! I didn’t mean to offend anyone! I wasn’t serious. The kid is a heck of a player, and a great guy off the court. He was out of his mind last night! Haha everyone at IU despises those rosy reds. It’s nothing personal. It was meant to be funny!

  • MillaRed

    I believe it’s called humor. And I don’t like his rosy cheeks either.

  • MillaRed

    The biggest problem I had was down 6 with the ball late and once again no timeout with four TOs to take. It was basically the possession of the game in terms of a comeback but no, we just ran our stuff that didn’t work and the game was over.

  • Ole Man

    Crean won’t learn until he checks his ego at the door.

  • HOOSIERS135

    Cody needs to shoot the jumper more often, and drive to the hoop more. Jordan just needs to shoot the ball more, period. Yogi needs to just shoot that pull up jumper instead of driving to the hoop, and pass the ball. Vic just needs to be Vic and not get in foul trouble. And Cwat needs to keep rebounding and shooting the ball like he can. Will needs to provide energy and shots and d. The bench needs to just hold on every so often to keep us in the game. That’s how we’ve won all year. No one is going to play perfect each game, thus 5 of our top 6 players gotta step up each night.

  • b_side

    Probably the biggest overreaction to any comment on this site to date. The comment seemed to be made, at least in my opinion, as a sign of respect towards the superior game that Craft played. So the commenter busted his chops a little, big deal. Craft is a big boy. Please remove yourself from the soapbox at your earliest convenience.

  • b_side

    Probably the biggest overreaction to any comment on this site to date. The comment seemed to be made, at least in my opinion, as a sign of respect towards the superior game that Craft played. So the commenter busted his chops a little, big deal. Craft is a big boy. Please remove yourself from the soapbox at your earliest convenience.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Yes, his ego never accepts responsibility for any losses or mistakes. Too bad.

  • jermhoosierfan

    I look at it was him wanting to cut them down again. Put that desire in them to see what they can accomplish. You can tell they were very somber doing it.

  • SCHoosier

    NBA scouts comment on VO “His only real weakness is that his ball handling skills are not yet at an NBA level.” Craft and VO would probably agree.

  • SCHoosier

    Rosy cheeks yes..but he left the Hoosiers and we fans with red faces.

  • Medina_Sod

    You know, I’m wondering if that whole weekend OSU had off had anything to do with their preparation and poise in this game. I saw a team that had a clear plan and executed it very well, probably as well as their talent could have (Craft sinking almost all of his jumpers!) And let’s not forget Hoosier fans, often times the best teams bring out the best in others. Hell, those OSU guys were probably excited to play in front of a fired up crowd for a change. And I’m with you on Michigan. I’m cautiously optimistic. What fun would it be otherwise?

  • Ole Man

    We became satisfied with “sharing” titles.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I know you have commented on “drinking the Kool-Aid over the past couple of weeks”…it appears the Kool-Aid you’ve been drinking was spiked.

    I’m with you…a loss like that with everything to play for can certainly leave you speechless. I advise you to skip the pain of watching it again.

  • Rick

    What drives me crazy is when I hear that Hulls couldn’t get open for shots. Here we have at least a top 5 three point shooter in the country who also happens to have an extremely quick release who also happens to be able to dribble and create a shot.

    A simple ball screen for Hulls gets him open enough to shoot it even it’s from 24 feet. To me, there’s no way Hulls should go an entire half without even attempting a shot. It makes no sense. This guy should get 6-8 three attempts a game and if he’s hot (like Minnesota) then he better get 10+

    Sometimes I think we have too many offensive options. Does that sound ridiculous to say? Probably. But hey, if a couple guys are cold then get the ball to the hot hand. Hulls is hot more often than not in my book.

  • Tenacious D.

    He rode D-Wade to that final four. It’s not the same as clinching a B1G championship in one of the toughest years the B1G has seen in a decade. D-Wade was the best player in that tournament, who single-handedly demolished the Kentucky Wildcats. It’s like IU with Isaiah Thomas. Matta has 3 B1G titles.

Powered by WordPress. Designed and developed by Ryan. Read our Privacy Policy. // Back to Top