Notebook: Johnson, Blackmon Jr. struggle in loss to Michigan

  • 02/12/2017 5:22 pm in

Indiana is in the routine of doing the same thing over and over again, but hoping for a different result. Sunday was no exception. In a do or die matchup between IU and Michigan, IU failed to perform yet again. The Hoosiers lost 75-63 against the Wolverines in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, pushing their postseason hopes further out of reach.

With a poor offensive showing from Robert Johnson and James Blackmon Jr., Indiana was not able to avenge the 30-point beat down it experienced two weeks ago in Ann Arbor. Blackmon Jr. and Johnson were a combined 4-of-14 from the field, contributing just 11 total points in Indiana’s fourth loss in its last five games.

The junior duo failed to shoot well, but also failed to shoot often. Johnson and Blackmon Jr. weren’t helping the Hoosiers out by taking many shots. It took Johnson almost 30 minutes of play before he finally scored on a 3-pointer from the corner. Blackmon didn’t take a shot until the final minute of the first half. His first basket came with 13:38 left before the buzzer, for IU’s first 3-pointer all day.

“A lot of it comes from not being prepared to shoot before you get the ball,” Johnson said. “A lot of it is not hitting guys on time and on target with passes. With basketball it’s all connected. A lot of times, especially the upperclassmen, when we don’t hit shots we allow it to affect other areas of the game. And we can’t do that.”

Indiana never managed to take the lead against Michigan. Even when the Wolverines struggled to score on consecutive possessions, the Hoosiers couldn’t use the opportunity to get any closer than six points.

“It’s back to the drawing board a little bit,” Tom Crean said. “We have to figure out who we’re going to get to continue to score points.”

De’Ron Davis steps up off the bench

After a hit he sustained during the Purdue game on Thursday night and not practicing on Friday, De’Ron Davis provided the only bright spot for the Hoosiers on offense. He put up a team-high 13 points off the bench.

“I was just being aggressive,” Davis said. “My teammates were feeding me the ball, making good passes. So I was just being aggressive and really just trying to make the right play.”

In 14 minutes, the freshman shot 80 percent from the field on 4-of-5 shooting and made 5-of-6 shots from the free throw line.

“We’ve got to continue to play him more,” Crean said. “He’s very, very hard to guard and he’s got great feet, hands and eyes. He can pass the ball. We want him to do a lot of passing now and we’re not doing enough cuts to get those passes.”

Turnovers prove costly yet again

On Jan. 26, IU managed to turn the ball over 16 times, leading to 25 points for Michigan. On Sunday, the story was the same. Indiana had 15 turnovers that gave Michigan 20 points.

Although the final deficit wasn’t as large the second time around, the end result was, adding another loss to IU’s record. Up next, Indiana plays four of its next five games on the road.

“We still have a season left to play,” Johnson said. “We still have a lot of opportunities so we’re definitely not thinking about quitting. We always look forward to the next game, but now we’re just looking forward to getting better and moving and that’s another opportunity.”

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  • Michael Bebout

    is it time to MAYBE look at our coaching ??? Try Gelon ?? ANYONE on the bench that is willing to shoot

  • Nimbi63

    “It’s back to the drawing board…” That drawing board has to be two or three acres by now.

  • Craig Miller

    This team has no true point guard, if Newkirk would stop taking his ill-advised 3 point shots and this team would go inside/outside they would be more successful. I see that our big guys very rarely pass the ball back out, probably because the guards don’t do a really good job of getting them involved. Bryant needs to stop taking those long 3’s and focus on using his size do in the paint. Oh, and I don’t have any confidence in Crean. Everybody stands around on offense, there seems to be no motion and we are a turnover machine team, come on coach!

  • EarlGreyTeaBag

    Newkirk only took 2 3s today (less the Bryant and the same number as Morgan). He also hit 50% of his FGs. His problem is not shooting, it’s the TOs / assists — 4 TO/1 assist.

  • Ohio Hoosier

    Can we change our offense to screen effectively for our good shooters?

  • Ohio Hoosier

    It is hard to get an assist when everyone stands and watches you try to
    create something late in the shot clock.

  • Ms hoosier

    We will have to change coaches before our offense changes!! Crean has already said they are not gonna change who they are. So we can expect to keep losing!!

  • DonaldneedsAsafeSpace

    IDK man, there aren’t many excuses to get beat twice by a very mediocre Michigan. It’s either the players aren’t very good, or the coach isn’t. Probably a combo of both

  • DonaldneedsAsafeSpace

    Yea, that’s nonsense. It’s just terrible execution and coaching. How many other teams have the shotclock run out on them with absolutely no attempt at offensive movement constantly. It’s like lazily pass the ball around till there is 10 seconds left, then heave it up

  • DonaldneedsAsafeSpace

    Yep, this team is running out of the shot clock so often. Not good offensive movement

  • IdahoHoosier

    Maybe I’m affected by watching “Hoosiers” too many times as a kid, but I’d rather see Crean start and play the entire bench and lose by 50 than watch a bunch of “highly recruited” guys waste their time on the court. It’s a win-win situation. The bench players get practice for next season and the starters get a message fired across their bow.

  • Donnie Vick

    Seriously people have been complaining about the recent recruiting, mainly for next year, but we had two McDonald’s All-American’s on the court yesterday and we still got beat by an average UM team.

  • Donnie Vick

    I’m afraid if we did that, Blackmon and Johnson would be setting screens for Juwan and Thomas to get more 3 point attempts.

  • Donnie Vick

    Has anyone asked Coach Crean why Thomas is not playing in the post more? Why does he set up in the corner? It seems he’s playing the same position as Troy Williams. And for all of Troy’s weaknesses, Thomas Bryant is no Troy Williams.

  • mharv2631

    I made that suggestion weeks ago and was told by Alex that this is just the way the game is played now. I say just because it isn’t being done doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I was shot down.

  • Has anyone asked Coach Crean that? Who are you asking, exactly? Have any of us posters on ITH asked him? I doubt we have the access. Have any journalists asked him that question? I don’t know — maybe, maybe not. Not sure any of us here can answer that question. I know many have asked the question generally on ITH — in fact, following every game — but as far as I know, nobody has actually directed that question to Coach Crean and actually expected an answer.

  • SCHoosier

    When one of your top 3 scorers (Rob) is not even able to get a shot until 10:55 of the second half…I’d suggest that something is wrong with the offensive scheme..not only the execution of it. On defense..and handling the ball the Hoosiers make really dumb plays. Sorry no other way to say it….dumb! Look at that play by JN with 58 second left..comes down the floor totally oblivious to his surroundings..throws a 6 ft. pass toward Rob..defender waiting for it..takes it down for a lay up. He wasn’t coached to have his head where it was. Three different occasions..when a UM guy secured a defensive rebound..(and no threat to do anything with the ball)..a Hoosier carelessly reached in and got called for it. Nobody is coached to be brain dead like that. Going for pump fakes on the perimeter??..6th grad stuff! Bryant got double teamed often..as TC said..team didn’t react to that they way they are trained.. Why not? Who the *&^% knows..but they didn’t. DD got in and scored..but as soon as they started double teaming him h e had two straight TO’s. I could go on citing dumb plays for 3 more paragraphs. What’s the use. This team is demoralized and if anyone can see a win in the last 5 games..please tell me which one. Why these guys aren’t executing is beyond me. No one anticipated how much Ferrell, Nicky Z, Max and Troy would be missed. Last year..being down 9 pts was not a problem.. this year its a ” turn the lights off situation” for IU. Hang the coach if you want..it does all fall on him. Bigger problem..these kids are not balling like their reputations and experience indicate they could. To be effective TC’s system needs a very good PG and a bucket of shooters. We have neither this year..throw in the injuries and just plain dumb mistakes and hello NIT .

  • Yeah, RMK did that in ’94 at Minnesota, and the team got blown out by 50. RMK proceeded to get pilloried in the press and around the water cooler — I can only imagine how ITH would have reacted.

  • Ron Strahley

    Because no one will get him the ball, the only player who tries is MCRoberts

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