Indiana struggles with familiar issues in 67-63 defeat to Purdue

  • 02/20/2015 8:42 am in

Indiana came into Thursday night’s game against Purdue with an unconventional game plan: to force and defend the 3.

The Boilermakers’ bread and butter came in the paint, but they were the Big Ten’s second-worst 3-point shooting team. And against the Hoosiers on Thursday, the Boilermakers went 2-of-18 from behind the arc. Not that it really mattered, anyway.

Purdue had no issues dominating the paint in its rematch against Indiana, as the Hoosiers were defeated on their home court for just the second time this season in a 67-63 loss to the Boilermakers.

“Really, we felt like we defended the three really well, which was our game plan,” freshman James Blackmon Jr. said. “But when the shot went up, guys weren’t blocking out, they got a couple of rebounds and that’s what got them going from the beginning.”

Indiana started the game at its desired pace.

The Hoosiers got out to an early eight-point lead against the Boilermakers, as by the 8:25 mark of the first half the Boilermakers had just 12 points — only four of which had come in the paint — while the Hoosiers had 10 points in the paint and another two 3-pointers.

But that success was short-lived. As the Boilermakers settled in at Assembly Hall, they began to see the same successes they had in their earlier 83-67 win over the Hoosiers in January.

The patient comeback started with a Jon Octeus layup — a sign of things to come as the Boilermakers guards found penetration in the paint. They also fed 7-footers Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons the ball with little contention. The Hoosiers’ 1-3-1 zone was ineffective.

Indiana’s 20-12 lead had quickly evaporated into a tie at 27, only for it to be broken just before halftime with a Yogi Ferrell runner just before the buzzer. But more importantly, the Boilermakers had a 15-12 edge on the boards. They also had a 7-0 second-chance points edge.

“I don’t think it’s any big secret,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “We didn’t stand our ground. When they’re coming down the lane, you’ve got to have better — I mean you’re in the zone for a reason.”

The Boilermakers continued to put their stamp on the game into the second half. They continued to pound the ball through the paint. They got to the free throw line often. They continued to hold a rebounding edge over the Hoosiers.

And defensively, the Boilermakers reasserted their dominance that had the Hoosiers struggling in West Lafayette. The Hoosiers — much like they usually do — were able to get inside the paint. But the Boilermakers had their corners covered.

Their help defense gave Indiana few looks on the perimeter, even off inside penetration. And when the Hoosiers tried to score inside, it came with varied success against the much bigger Boilermakers.

In conference play, the Hoosiers lead the Big Ten in percentage of their points coming on 3-pointers. But for a span of more than eight minutes in the second half — from the 16:58 to 8:10 marks — the Hoosiers couldn’t even get off a 3-point attempt.

“The shots we made the other night and the shots we’ve been making, they didn’t go,” Crean said. “We didn’t get as many attempts, and we probably spent a little too much time trying to drive and create things rather than just make it simple, and really drive it for that next kick.”

Most importantly in that second half, off those misses the Hoosiers struggled. Indiana was out-rebounded in the final 20 minutes by a 23-9 margin.

The numbers weren’t pretty, either: Purdue had nine offensive rebounds to the Hoosiers’ six defensive rebounds. Indiana had just three offensive rebounds to the Boilermakers’ 14 defensive boards.

It was the first home game Indiana had been out-rebounded in since their Jan. 13 win over Penn State. But even on Thursday, the Hoosiers remained in it up until the final seconds thanks to seven second-half Boilermakers 3-point misses and seven second-half Boilermakers turnovers.

“We’ve got to get better rebounding out of our front line,” Crean said. “Again, when you’re dealing with the front line the way you are with them, you’ve got to do a better job of limiting it to one shot. That’s why when we’ve had success, we’ve out rebounded people and held them to one shot for the most part and then we get some offensive scores.”

In the final minute, with the Hoosiers trailing by one, it was recurring issues throughout the game that eventually haunted them.

Off a timeout with 36 seconds remaining, Purdue’s Rapheal Davis drove to the basket and got a layup with ease. Those were Purdue’s final two points in the paint — they had a total of 40 on the evening. 20 of those came from Hammons and Haas. 20 came from its guards.

When two possessions later, Ferrell had the ball off a missed free throw, he missed a contested three and Purdue quickly grabbed the ensuing rebound with less than five seconds left and a 65-63 lead. Hammons, who finished with 20 points off 8-of-9 shooting and 4-of-5 free throws, drained his two attempts at the line to put the game out of reach.

And by the time the final buzzer sounded, the stats spoke for themselves.

57 of Purdue’s 67 points had come either in the paint or at the line. They had out-rebounded the Hoosiers by a 38-21 margin. They had rebounded 50 percent of their misses. They had forced the Hoosiers into a 5-of-16 rate from behind the arc and less than a 50 percent rate on 2s.

For the second time this season, the Hoosiers couldn’t stop the Boilermakers. And on Thursday, that led to a defeat at home.

“We gave up too many points in the post, and it wasn’t just the post-ups, it was the rebounding, and we didn’t out-rebound the way that we needed to,” Crean said. “Our front line did not — it’s one thing to give up the points, but we’ve got to get some defensive boards. So the defensive rebounding, it hurt us. It definitely hurt us.”

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  • Kyl470

    In the “What To Expect” section I stated that IU would need to hit 3’s to win the game. The whole live by the 3, die by the 3 and a couple people said I was wrong. Well unfortunately I was right. The most frustrating parts of the game were watching HMP and Hartman combine for 1 rebound in the entire game. Watching Stan drive on Hammons and get blocked and watching the team pass up open 3 point shots. Last game Troy looked confident and knocked down open jumpers from the top of the key. Once again Purdue chose to back away and give him that shot. I was hoping he would have confidence and knock it down, but he didn’t even attempt the shot. The only jumper I remember him taking was the 3 on the baseline where he hit the side of the backboard.

  • Drew

    I am trying so hard to not think negatively and let my emotions get me carried away but it is really hard not to. I have always supported Tom Crean and been proud of his job in rebuilding the program and getting our guys to succeed academically. Watching guys like Jordy Hulls, Watford, Vic, Cody, Sheehey and company play was such a thrill and downright exhilarating to watch most nights. But whatever momentum we had from 2011-2013 has left it seems. I love this team, they fight, they have provided some awesome games, but to what end? How high is their ceiling really? I know losing to Purdue compounds all these thoughts, but how high really is our ceiling with Crean at the helm? I’m still in support of giving him a few more seasons, and understand the critiques brought forth by many intelligent fans here, but can he do better? I sure hope so, because more losses like these and he may not have many more chances to prove himself.

  • sd chuck

    Didn’t seem like IU really came out and matched the energy,(either game) with PU. For that matter the AH crowd either! They defended the 3 ? Wonder if anyone is learning that you are not going to be effective guarding 7ft with 6’7″. Love CH, gives it his all, but he is not going to guard the 5 effectively. PU showed what a big man defending the rim (something IU doesn’t have), can do, perimeter people can defend a little different then, if they get by them no big deal, they have a rim protector, again IU needs some help in the middle.

  • dssnyder1

    can you imagine if TW and HMP develop a mid range jumper? it would open up the offense tremendously, so many if’s and not too many answers with this team

  • Eastwood88_2

    Feel your pain. Purdue is just another team to me. We just live next to their fans so we have to deal with their mouths. As for crean, not making the tourney is not going to make this off season fun for coach. He best get the team focused moving forward. They simply didn’t come to play yesterday.

  • jeremiah_fd

    Tough loss, but good to see Hanner out there playing hard. I thought Crean coached fine- our intensity just didn’t match PU. The only coaching criticism I had was the lack of adjustment to disrupt the entry pass. Their guards made easy entry passes all night and we didn’t seem to try and mix it up to stop that.

  • iugradmark

    In so many ways, Indiana under Crean has become one of those teams I always made fun of in the past. Lots of athletes and skilled one on one players but showing poor effort and fundamentals. The coaching staff has shaped this style. Sloppy passes, poor defensive position, poor shot selections, poor in game management, etc. Purdue played fundamental basketball. They got the ball to post (imagine how much more we would have gotten out of Cody had we known how to feed the post), made free throws, rebounded, limited easy baskets by IU, etc. Yes IU has athletes but Purdue played team basketball. It is hard to watch this style if you were a fan of the way IU used to be.

  • INUnivHoosier

    HMP’s mid-range jumper isn’t bad at all. He doesn’t shoot it all that often, but it goes in a lot of the time. I don’t have a stat to back that up, so I might be wrong.

  • David Macer

    HMP has a quick 8 points in first half. Thought he was going to post 20 by the end of the game.

  • David Macer

    Chuck, we are playing with what we have. Remember we lost Vonleh to the pro’s and Fischer to a transfer. Just think what it might look like if those two had stayed.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Why would he say “We really defended the 3 pretty well, and that was our plan…” I’m not sure I understand why that would be our plan against a poor 3 point shooting team. Pack the lane and make it tough on Hammons and Haas! Come on!! Purdue is a great defensive team so I’m not that upset about our offensive struggles but we’ve got to improve our defense and Crean has to adjust the defensive scheme when its not working.

  • Dooteetime

    I have always said I think Crean has done a good job rebuilding the program to where it is now.. However, I do not think he is the right coach to take us to the next level if that is where we believe we can get too. I believe we can get to the next level with the right guy in charge. I would love to see Crean take us to the next level but I just don’t think he can. I see us continuing like we have been the last few years. One or two good years then a couple down years.

  • sd chuck

    I agree Dave, the kicker to the whole thing was when the backup to the backup, Goodluck, thought to be IU, went west, it left us high and dry. HMP has come along way, but he doesn’t seem to be able to play extended minutes. I really like this team and think that they have over achieved. Facts are, we need talented big men. While I’m happy with the two new recruits for next year, they’re still only 6’7″. Sure not arguing with you Dave.

  • thefullmonty

    “Where’s the Beef?”
    You can’t play B1G basketball without a center.
    Crean has done magic winning games without size.
    Too bad he is the GM, in addition to being head coach.

  • MDHoosier

    Yes, we lost Vonleh and Fischer, but what has been done to address the issue? We have a 7 footer sitting on the bench who never makes it in the game. We have 2 recruits coming in that are both 6’8″, that doesn’t fix our size issue. Maybe we get Thomas Bryant or Caleb Swanigan, but if we don’t, we’re looking at having the same problem next year.