The Minute After: Northwestern

  • 03/12/2015 9:27 pm in

Thoughts on a 71-56 win over the Wildcats:

CHICAGO — After IU’s loss to Michigan State on Saturday, a dejected James Blackmon Jr. sat at the press table saying he didn’t get it going soon enough.

Tonight, as Blackmon Jr. and Yogi Ferrell sat down to the meet the media, it was all smiles.

Blackmon Jr. got it going early, scoring 13 points in 16 minutes of first half action on 3-of-6 shooting from distance. He finished the contest with his best effort away from home this season — 25 points (8-of-15), six rebounds (four offensive) and a career-high seven assists. The freshman’s effort, energy and stat-stuffing ways were indicative of Indiana’s performance tonight in its comfortable 15-point victory over Northwestern.

“I think tonight was all about our mindset,” Blackmon Jr. said.

From the onset, the Hoosiers got up in Northwestern’s grill and made them work for buckets. Where this has been for so long this season, who knows. But it was clear this was a point of emphasis for the Hoosiers. With each stop, deflection and recovery on defense, the Indiana bench cheered — creating a feedback loop for the energy being expended on the court.

“We went out there and created our own energy,” Ferrell said.

At one point in the first half, the Wildcats went 8:28 of game action between field goals. Indiana punched the lead out to 24-6 at this point, and it pretty much was the catalyst for the victory. Indiana held the Wildcats under a point per possession (.98) and that’s an encouraging sign heading into Friday night’s matchup with Maryland. Tre Demps killed the Hoosiers in Evanston. Tonight, Demps had just four points on 2-of-5 shooting as Ferrell and Robert Johnson hounded him throughout the contest.

“The pressure of our defense, the energy, the tenacity, all those things were really really strong,” Tom Crean said.

Indiana also beasted on the boards and snagged 50 percent of its misses in this one. There was tons of effort on this front tonight as well. Indiana got multiple chances on several trips down the floor and it led to 20-second chance points. Up in Evanston, Indiana’s scoring drought in the second half came because Indiana didn’t move the ball much or get into the paint against the zone, instead settling for a host of long-range bombs that wouldn’t fall. The standing around affected their energy. Tonight the ball movement was better and the players fed off each other. Save for a little bit of a lull here and there, Indiana didn’t stand around much on offense. The Hoosiers scored 1.23 points per possession on a night they didn’t really shoot it that great (50% eFG%, 11-of-32 from 3).

Ferrell hit just 3-of-10 from 3-point range but got to the rim well to finish with an efficient 7-of-16 performance (17 points). Emmitt Holt flashed good instincts on offense and scored eight points (4-of-5). On a freak play where Alex Olah took a charge on Robert Johnson, the Northwestern big man fell right into Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s right knee, re-aggravating his injury from earlier in the season. The junior hit the floor in some serious pain and it seems too early to tell just when he might be back.

Indiana needed this win to keep itself in the NCAA tournament mix and the Hoosiers certainly played like a team that knew the stakes. They left little doubt they’d be giving a strong effort for a full 40.

“I thought they were a very determined team,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said of the Hoosiers after the contest.

Tomorrow night, Maryland presents a tougher challenge than the Wildcats. But if Indiana brings this sort of energy against a team it’s already played well against twice, it gives itself a good chance to make it to Saturday.

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  • calbert40

    I was so excited about how we played last night. The team was energetic, played great D, rebounded like it was their only job, moved the ball well, etc. That’s the way I think most of us thought they could play all year. Yes, it was against NW, but we completely dominated them in every phase (except getting to the line).

    I thought the entire team looked great both collectively and individually, but a few guys stood out to me.

    JBJ looked fantastic. Yes, his shots were falling, but more than that it was his fire. He wanted that game more than anyone on the floor. He was getting loose balls, rebounds, taking it with authority to the rack…he looked great!

    EM-MITT HO-LT, clap clap clap clap clap! WOW! What a great game he played. If I am remembering correctly, he didn’t get in the game until about 6 mins left in the 1H. And despite the fact that HMP played well early, you could tell that Crean wanted Holt on the floor as much as possible. It is a shame that most of his minutes came because HMP got hurt, but he did a ton of damage. Well done, Emmitt!

    While he didn’t play as well as some of the others, I though RJ played with a ton of confidence. His first game in the B1G tournament, and he buries a 3 with a hand in his face to start the game. I thought he did a nice job as a complimentary piece all night by allowing guys like JBJ to shine instead of forcing the action.

    Great effort. Let’s take it to Maryland and take the drama out of Selection Sunday!

  • millzy32

    I personally like the D where it isn’t much of either because no one can figure out what they’re supposed to be doing.
    Play man to man and be done with it. This team isn’t good enough to be monkeying around with elaborate schemes.

  • KmanCRK

    Comments on JBJr are spot on. Very well stated. He really did bring an effort, will and intensity that we haven’t seen before. It showed what he is really capable of. Got me excited for the future.

  • VAHoosier

    Yeah, the zone is a catch-22. It covers up somewhat for some of our weaker defenders (Nick, James, Troy), but it also takes away some of our very good individual defenders (Yogi, Rob). My biggest problem is that our zone is passive, and I think that passivity seeps into our players psyche. Contrast yesterday where we pin our ears back in man-to-man and play aggressive.

  • IULore

    No calls are just as bad. Just call charges whether the guy falls or not. The rules are clear.

  • ForeverIU

    I skipped 2-3 games prior to this one. It gave me fresh perspective.

    Loved the D and rebounding, like many have already commented.

    But the one thing that stood out to me the most was JBJ’s game. For the first time this season I felt that he had finally come of age: a leader on the floor and standing tall and with an edge.

    Yogi better stay next year, because with his and JBJ’s leadership we can be a team to reckon with.

    Thomas Bryant come on down.

  • Speed

    A great team effort! Great energy and can only hope it carries over. Maryland will be a tough challenge but I like playing them a lot more than MSU or Wisconsin.

  • dwdkc

    I don’t see how the committee can make an adjustment for it when some of our best performances were without him. But anyway, I’ve heard they decide on who gets in on resume alone and only take that into account with seeding.

  • John D Murphy

    A lot to love about this game but…
    I think NW was setting their D 2-3 further sagged than most athletic teams do against us. It was a fun game to watch, but it did not make me optimistic against a MD team that fully understands what open IU players do from the 3 point line. I really hope I’m wrong. Go Hoosiers!

  • John D Murphy

    That play is really congested space wise in college. In the NBA, the big has to come out more because the guards all have nice floaters so there is more room.


    The eight most uttered words by IU bball fans since the end of that game, hell maybe ever, WHERE THE HELL HAS THAT BEEN ALL YEAR !!


    Hate that it seemingly took some heat from Crean’s seat to finally make that pot boil tho. Regardless of what finally made the point start to boil, let’s just hope that continues to boil.


    First thing through my mind as well after the replay.


    If that is done and if it’s going to get looked at quick enough to make any difference in B1G officiating this year, they’re gonna have to leap frog that clip over the other hundred or so clips that has justifiably been sent to them because of poor officiating in our conference.


    Totally agree. Something makes me think that all of the MD players awoke this morning to find a copy of the newspaper headline, about how many 3 pointers we made in the game with them played at AH, taped to their foreheads.

  • BKLock

    40 minutes of good B-ball. Most consistent effort since early January. Looking forward to the Maryland game because it is a good match up for us. Also hoping HMP can bounce back quickly from his injury.

  • dwdkc

    While I agree with you, they didn’t shoot very well by their standards yesterday, but still won easily thanks to the D and the offensive rebounding–which means effort. I actually expect them to shoot better tonight (especially Yogi), and if they bring it again on D like that they have a very good chance.

  • dwdkc

    Might be in based on today, but there still could be a few bid thieves and that is all it would take to have us on the outside looking in. Still only a 50/50 thing without a win tonight.

  • Darrell Allen

    Dimwit, you are so full of it … the stench is unbearable! I have been a diehard Indiana Hoosier basketball fan before you were ever born! I just happen to love the game, played the game, coached the game and don’t care about it being turned into a bunch of steroid-fed NBA football types! As to your insidious comment about Brian Cardinal, one doesn’t have to be a Purdue fan to acknowledge a hard-nosed excellent basketball player! Sounds like you should probably stick to either football or hockey and avoid showing your ignorance about college basketball.

  • Darrell Allen

    Seems like I recall some fellas named Bird, McHale, Walton, Wedman & Ainge who apparently didn’t fit your stereotype! This also ignores IU’s basic teams of ’75, ’76 & ’87. I bet you must have hated Alford! As to your condescending asinine remarks, you might want to stick with the Polish soccer league!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    You’re making my argument for me! Even when those guys weren’t uber-athletic they still played defense the right way! Larry Bird is my all time favorite basketball player and he wasn’t sliding under guys trying to take phantom-flop charging calls! He played defense and played the ball!

    The charge call has ruined the game of college basketball or at least contributed to the ruining of the game and you’re nuts if you think that’s not true!

    What needs to happen is the “charge” needs to be made extremely difficult to get. Officials need to reprogrammed to call the block and protect offensive players who are in the air! The restricted area needs to be made larger and players need to feel safe as they leave the floor! That would help to restore some of the offensive flow of the game and put a watchable product back on the court!

    Argue with that logic abe you’re not arguing with me. You are arguing with dozens of writers, coaches, analysts, etc. because that’s the general feeling of the basketball community as a whole! That’s the way it used to be called and it needs to return to that way again!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Just watched Jarian Grant for Notre Dame pick up his 2nd and 3rd fouls (the latter was a pathetic call) on identical drawn charges followed by Jay Bilas calling it a “pathetic” rule!!!

    That’s precisely what I’m saying. Extend the restricted zone and take away the ability for weak side defenders to slide “under” offensive players and ruin the game! They’re not doing anything athletic or contributing to the game in any way by standing off the ball and looking for opportunities to basically bate players into picking up offensive fouls! It’s not “sound” fundamental defense like the game was designed. It’s a new thing added much after the game had been played for decades that’s taken away from the flow and attractiveness of the game!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Bait not bate!