Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over St. John’s

  • 11/25/2015 7:44 am in

After a surprising 82-78 loss to Wake Forest on Monday, Indiana turned back St. John’s on Tuesday in the 2015 Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the 83-73 win over the Red Storm:

· Indiana’s defense played poorly again: After managing just 55 points in a 37-point beatdown at the hands of Vanderbilt on Monday, St. John’s scored 73 points against Indiana on Tuesday morning. And they did it in two less possessions than they had on Monday against the Commodores.

In fact, from an efficiency standpoint, that was the best offensive performance of the season for St. John’s. The other opponents for the Red Storm thus far besides Vanderbilt? Wagner, UMBC and Rutgers. That’s not good company for Indiana to trail.

The Hoosiers continue to struggle at defending both straight line drives and ball screens. The lack of resistance at the rim is also concerning as both Wake Forest and St. John’s have finished easily in the paint over the last two games. The last two games have been a regression for Indiana defensively.

· The benching of James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams was needed: If Indiana is going to reach its potential, it’s going to need James Blackmon Jr. to play better defensively. It will also need Troy Williams, who had five turnovers against Wake Forest, to make better decision making.

Given that Williams is now in his third season and Crean has been direct with Blackmon Jr. about the need to step it up defensively, the move to remove both from the starting lineup after Monday’s game was the right one.

Nick Zeisloft and Robert Johnson don’t give Indiana the upside that Williams and Blackmon Jr. provide, but Zeisloft takes care of the ball and Johnson has shown that he can play respectable defense at times. Until Williams and Blackmon Jr. get the message, they should continue to come off the bench.

· Ferrell rebounds after poor performance on Monday: Yogi Ferrell didn’t play well on Monday, but he bounced back on Tuesday with a strong effort offensively.

The senior point guard finished with 22 points, seven assists and four rebounds in 36 minutes. No one else on IU’s roster played more than 30 minutes in the win.

“We were upset with the loss yesterday, but we looked at this as another opportunity for us to go out and show everybody what we’re made of, and I felt like we did that today,” Ferrell said.

· Indiana made getting the ball to Bryant a point of emphasis: Crean is often criticized for how he utilizes his post players, but Indiana made it a point to find Thomas Bryant early and often on Tuesday.

The result was a 19-point performance for the freshman on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and a 5-of-7 mark from the foul line. St. John’s had no answer for Bryant inside and he took advantage.

“I just know if I just keep playing, keep running and posting up, that those guys will give me the ball, and they did,” he said. “Luckily, I made some moves and got some buckets in there and just took it from there.”

· The Hoosiers are about to have their biggest mental challenge of the three days: Three games in three days is not easy, particularly when you consider the time change, the distractions and how long of a day the Hoosiers had on Monday.

It’s not going to get any easier as IU prepares to take on an energetic UNLV team that won on Tuesday without Stephen Zimmerman (flu-like symptoms).

Will the Hoosiers step forward, fight the fatigue and deliver their best performance of the event? Or will Wednesday be more of what has transpired over the first two games in Maui? The answer will tell us plenty about where Indiana stands right now.

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  • whomikewho

    Turn on ESPN lol they are talking about it now

  • whomikewho

    Tell that to ESPN now. It’s out.

  • SilentBob

    Actually my numbers are off on the opponent offensive rebounding but I don’t feel like going back doing it again. I’ll just say it needs to be better

  • whomikewho

    It’s pretty obvious but that’s just my observation.

  • SeeingRed

    The word that strikes me here is gravitas. CTC has none. Not really his fault — I don’t think you can easily cultivate these hard-to-define leadership and teaching traits if you don’t own at least the root of it naturally. I see why the players don’t seem to take him seriously, and based on his press conferences, I can see why they probably tune out much of what he has to say.

    Charisma, charm, ability to get people to buy in and believe — it’s all part of the package that some people have, and some don’t.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    VAH, for me, I’m now watching the first half of the UNLV game. When I watch the “leader” of the Hoosiers, YF, turnover the ball and then trot back down the court with his head down, completely missing the play, I just can’t relate, win or lose. When YF jacks up a well guarded step back 3 at the end of the WF game, likely because he wanted to keep a personal record going, I just can’t relate. Even the announcers are talking about IU penetrating and jumping, then looking for someone to pass too. That generates TO’s and is a losing long term strategy. I just can’t relate. There was no play to finish the first half, just YF dribbling out the clock and going one on one. He is supposed to be a senior PG. I just can’t relate.

    I want to relate to IU bball again.

    BUT I loved the closeup of Bryant yelling at YF nose to nose.

  • Hoosier4life67

    watching the IU vs. UNLV game. Its about time I got to see some great defense and offensive explosion. To bad its UNLV doing both. I was sleeping and had no intentions on waking up with only 4 hours of sleep from work but I was woke up and told to watch the game. What a waste of time this is. woke up early to watch the WF game. Decided after that game setting my schedule around IU basketball would be a waste of time this year. Just going to wait till there is a coach that can teach defense running the show before I ever get excited again.

  • kaponya44

    At least our crowd is better ? Too bad the team is not …

  • kaponya44

    This team has arguably regressed each night …I know the tired legs excuse is coming ,but everybody else has improved in this tournament….And everyone has tired legs ….

  • VAHoosier

    I was disappointed, too. We gamble way too much on defense. John Crispin called one of our early games and mentioned that IU needed to play more “safe” on defense, which I interpreted as playing with more discipline. I agree completely. And, unfortunately, I think this is a CTC issue–I think he coaches his teams to play defense for deflections, which causes them to over-commit and, at times, gamble in order to get a hand on the ball. We do get plenty of deflections, but our defensive fundamentals are completely whack.

  • SilentBob

    We’re just not getting a complete game from this team. I thought we did better in the half court defense and on the defensive glass tonight. But the turnovers and missed free throws, especially in front ends of one and ones, have been murder

  • mharv2631

    Cut your losses IU

  • Bk

    It’s not about heart or skill. If the coach demands you play defense or you will sit the bench, you play defense. Bobby knight won with less talented players because he demanded a certain method to be followed or you didn’t play. Period.

  • Bk

    I manage 50 people. You demand an effort and have rules that will be followed. Those who don’t follow the philosophy and rules don’t play in the game. The talent is there gentlemen, the discipline to follow the rules is either not there or they aren’t very good rules or it’s not a very strong philosophy. Starts at the top.

  • sam

    ESPN don’t claim to be IUBB fans. They have their own agenda. Weak excuse on your part. Regardless no one should do it.