The Minute After: Penn State

  • 01/18/2017 9:47 pm in

Thoughts on a 78-75 win over the Nittany Lions:

With the season hanging in the balance, Tom Crean stalked the court earlier than usual. It was an indicative sign of the moment: Indiana needed this one in the worst way, and there was no time for messing around. No time for slow starts or not playing to potential.

And the Hoosiers responded.

Yes, Penn State gave Indiana a hell of a finish and nearly stole this one back after being down seven with 1:07 to play. Indiana had trouble inbounding the ball and Thomas Bryant fumbled down the stretch once more. After Lamar Stevens hit two free throws with 4.6 seconds to play, this one seemed destined for overtime. Did you really expect Indiana to get something drawn up and put together after this epic collapse and the way this season has been trending?

But it happened. James Blackmon Jr. took the inbounds pass from Zach McRoberts and dribbled down the court as the seconds ticked away. As he approached the right wing, the length of Julian Moore was there to meet him on his buzzer-beating shot.

Didn’t matter. Jimmy Buckets delivered for Indiana, dropping in the 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Hoosiers to escape University Park with the victory.

Despite the late-game heroics from Indiana’s best scorer, this win was a team effort. In the first half, Indiana’s freshmen delivered off the bench. Devonte Green continued to prove he deserves minutes. He had another ridiculous pass in transition, this time to Thomas Bryant, who finished a dunk through contact. Less than a minute later, Green hit a 3-pointer to put the Hoosiers back in the lead.

Curtis Jones added four points and a steal in eight first half minutes. De’Ron Davis worked his game in the post and drew fouls. He hit 5-of-6 from the line in the first half and had three rebounds in six minutes of play.

The Hoosiers turned the ball over on just 14.3 percent of their possession and hit 5-of-12 (41.7 percent) from distance to carry a seven-point lead into the break (44-37).

But tragedy struck, as OG Anunoby picked up a non-contact knee injury at the close of the half, screaming as his body hit the floor. He’d need help to walk off the floor. His night was done.

Could the Hoosiers keep it going without both Juwan Morgan and OG Anunoby? They could.

Indiana kept the momentum in the second half. Zach McRoberts got the start in place of Anunoby in the second half and his hustle and defense was tremendous. Freddie McSwain had a putback dunk. Everyone was contributing and Indiana had a 13-point lead with 5:36 to go.

Could Indiana close this one out easily on the road? They couldn’t.

The collapse happened. It wasn’t pretty. Indiana had been here before against Penn State, and at the moment in time, a repeat would have been about the biggest stomach punch imaginable. But Jimmy Buckets came up big. Crisis averted.

Who knows where it goes from here, but for a night, Indiana played with heart and guts and pulled one out on the road. Adversity struck, and the Hoosiers persevered.

Can they keep it going?

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  • IU_theoracle

    Molon I completely agree with you but he will never swallow his ego or admit that he is wrong. That is really the biggest issue. I’m not saying that I have all the answers here but even with the injury issues he has a lot of talent on this team and the problem is that he is not taking advantage of the strengths this team has. My opinion is that IU should stop running this weave offense because they do not have the personnel to run it successfully. Last year with Yogi it was a different story. This season the team has two good post players in Davis and Bryant, two good 3-4 position players in Juwan Morgan and OG (prior to the injury) and some good guards and/or shooters in Blackmon, Johnson, Green, Jones and Newkirk. My thought is take advantage of what you have by swithcing the offense to a flex or motion in which you establish the post game as your first priority which will then open up shooters and the lane. As it is, we run the weave and don’t have the players capable of really creating off it. There are many more issues such as the turnovers and lack of defense but this would be a great start to turning the corner.

  • IU_theoracle

    Mike I’m not going to argue with you on this anymore. I’m sure you’re right in that he ran his version of a play. It was probably a Crean set play which is basically an open gym where the player with the ball read what is given to him and it’s up to the players on the court to naturally react such as setting a screen or going to the open spot. Point is, Crean has peaked at IU and I personally am sick of his antics and ready for a change. I doubt it will happen after this season unless he were to leave on his own because he now has the excuse of Hartman and OG being injured and will probably bring back the entire team next season.

    I personally think Crean would be better suited for a program that values basketball as a top priority but doesn’t have National Championships as the expectation. He would be great for an SEC school other than UK, Big East program with one of the private catholic school similar to Marquette or possibly mid level Big 12 team. A school where he can have the ups and downs and then reach a Sweet 16 because to a school like Tennessee for example, that would be a great season. At IU we are used to this being just an average season under Bob Knight. Yes, it’s been nearly 20 years now since Knight was at IU, but I still believe IU can be at the top under the right guidance.

  • VanPastorMan

    I love IU and I love the players. But these players don’t seem to play smart basketball. Lots of turnovers. You make a good point about Bryant. Why would he get the ball with the shot clock winding down out there? It could be that our lack of a true point guard is to blame. This pg by committee is perhaps not working out so well as teams scheme against it.

  • Chappy Dan

    I feel like they’re being coached to set an NBA screen, which is more roll than pick!

  • Chappy Dan

    Myopathy at its finest!

  • IUMIKE1

    Arguing over one particular play out of a whole game of plays, sounds like two coaches doesn’t it. Probably the most important play of the game, but yet still just one play. I think we can agree on this, it should have never came down to that one last play of the game and that a win or a lose in a close game is rarely, if ever, decided by any one particular play.

    I have my issues with Crean on more than one topic as well and while I’m maybe not at the exact same spot as you on his tenure at IU I’m pretty damn close. I do agree with you on just about everything you laid out as points of real concern, with maybe the biggest being that he either can’t or won’t teach defense like it is going to have to be played at this level. While I don’t especially care for the exact type of offense he runs I could live with it if he could/would teach defense to a point that our defense could offset a poor shooting night and/or the amount of turnovers that he seems to be able to tolerate out of his teams, but for the most part the defenses he has put on the floor are never been able to do that or not on a consistent basis anyway. He has been at IU long enough that some of the legitimate excuses that were correct when he first got here are no longer that, especially the we are so young as a team excuse, he’s been here long enough that all recruits are his and he is the one pulling the trigger on which interested kid is given a scholarship. Besides I see other teams that are basically as young, or even younger than us, do just as well, if not better.

  • Neil

    “Myopathy?” lol After reading your response I see the Dunning–Kruger effect…..you might want to understand what the words you use mean before you post on a public forum embarassing yourself.