Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Arkansas State

  • 11/23/2017 8:30 am in

Indiana improved to 3-2 on Wednesday night with an 87-70 win over Arkansas State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Red Wolves:

· No answer for Juwan Morgan: Indiana had difficulty early attacking the zone of Arkansas State, but once the Hoosiers were able to find Juwan Morgan consistently, the offense took off.

Morgan scored 15 of his career-high 28 points in the first half as Indiana built a 13-point lead. When Morgan wasn’t finishing at the rim, he was drawing fouls and converting at the free throw line. He finished 9-of-11 from the field and 10-of-10 from the free throw line.

The 6-foot-7 junior has been relentless on the glass this season and through five games, he’s in the top 100 nationally in offensive rebounding percentage according to Ken Pomeroy. Hustle has been a staple of Morgan’s career in Bloomington thus far and he’s taken it up a notch in his third season.

“I’ve always taken pride in it,” Morgan said postgame. “Coming from my high school to here, I knew right away I wasn’t going to be the man playing with Yogi (Ferrell) and Troy (Williams). And then the year after, James (Blackmon), Rob (Johnson), OG (Anunoby), Thomas (Bryant). I knew I was going to be in the background, but that’s just fine with me.

“If I can get us extra possessions and everybody else shines, as long as the team is winning I’m fine with that.”

· Taking care of the ball leads to efficient offensive performance: Turnovers were a major issue for Indiana in losses to Indiana State and Seton Hall. But the Hoosiers have shown that they’re capable of taking care of the ball at times, which typically leads to good things.

Wednesday night, Indiana turned it over just eight times and had its lowest turnover percentage (11) of the season. The Hoosiers didn’t have a turnover in the final 11:41. It was a major reason Indiana was able to post a season-best 1.23 points per possession.

Indiana’s guards had just three of the eight turnovers and freshman Al Durham played his third straight game without a miscue. Durham has just two turnovers this season.

“He’s probably one of the more poised people I’ve seen at such a young age,” Morgan said. “Especially coming in playing in the big games. He’s not rattled at all. I think that’s a credit to who he is as a person.”

· Shot blocking appears to be a strength for this team: The sample size is small, but one of Indiana’s strengths through five games is shot blocking.

The Hoosiers had nine blocks on Wednesday and currently rank 16th nationally in block percentage, according to Pomeroy.

Sophomore De’Ron Davis is still struggling to avoid fouls, but his block percentage is currently up by over two percent over last season and his fouls per 40 minutes are down by 1.3.

· Johnson delivers big plays late: Robert Johnson struggled with his perimeter shooting in the win, but made key plays when it mattered most down the stretch.

Johnson finished with 10 points, but was just 4-of-12 from the field and 1-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. The poor shooting performance didn’t affect the rest of Johnson’s game as he added eight rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes.

“He made big, timely plays in the last four minutes, which is what you want your best players to do regardless of how tey’re playing,” Archie Miller said. “He did a good job. Played a lot of minutes. We’re asking him to do a lot. He’s a better shooter than he’s shooting right now. That’s the one thing. I think the law of averages will hopefully will come back around.”

· Hoosiers still struggling to come up with 50-50 balls: Archie Miller got a technical in the win over South Florida after he threw down his towel when Indiana didn’t grab a rebound.

Wednesday night brought a few more plays that Miller called “mind boggling” as Indiana failed to come up with loose balls.

“The ones that are really getting us right now that drive you crazy is when there’s a loose ball on the ground and you have it and for whatever reason it ends up back in their hands and they shoot it,” Miller said. “You reach, they don’t, and you foul. First-to-the-floor type of plays. Loose balls, stuff like that that, we’re not coming up with them. Whether that’s a long rebound that bounces and they’re just faster to it. But that’s how you win tough games. You’re able to get those 50-50 plays every time. You’re able to tie the guy up on the floor and he doesn’t get a foul on you or he doesn’t shoot it.

“And that’s just the identity and some of the things that we have to keep working on.”

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  • SCHoosier

    Coach is right in trying to introduce this team to “floor burns”. Morgan was a monster. Hopefully Rob will start playing on a more even k eel. The TO control was encouraging. I’d hate to play those very fast AKSt. dudes more than once.

  • sd chuck

    It was a win. End of the year 1 in the win column, nobody got hurt, did some good things and still have plenty to work on. Seems like kind of an upgrade on the cupcake side. Love seeing Archie get charged up! Has a way of making his point!

  • Mark Bando

    My number one takeaway is always going to be how we played defensively. Holding them to 70 is good, and we had streches where we were very good. 9 blocks is great. Two good defensive games in a row. Love the low turnover number.

  • MrNobody

    Never been one for watching NBA… but seeing Vic influence the Pacers with desire and hustle sure makes me hope Arch is able to get that across to this team. They’re actually fun to watch and I hate NBA basketball

  • Hoosier PD

    JM may have been ok with not being the “guy” before, but now he has moved into that role. He needs to lead this team.

  • iugradmark

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

    I think the hardest thing about this game for me was that the decent play was spread over a couple of periods so it made me feel like we played worse this game but perhaps we just played about the same with 20 minutes of improved play and 20 minutes of head scratching play.

    We started both halves very slowly and didn’t really get going until about the 8 minute mark left in the game. I love Archie’s fire and enthusiasm, but I am hoping that the players take responsibility for their effort and drive. There is something going on with our guard defense. Players are just blowing by us on a regular basis. I don’t know if it is our position or what but I assume Archie wants pressure on the ball but not so much that everyone is getting beat so easily.

  • I didn’t like the inconsistency either. What I did like, though, was that in each half our “comeback” was spurred first by the defense, IIRC. Our offense seemed to take some time to figure out what they were doing; we had to think too much. That concerns me regarding tomorrow’s game where it won’t be so easy to come back if we fall behind early. But maybe we can at least come out stronger on defense and keep it closer early, which is my hope.

  • Mark Bando

    Good point. Where as in the past, our comebacks would have come on the offensive side, in both the last two games, the defense spured the comebacks. Lets build the defensive foundation as best we can this year, and then starting next year when more size and toughness come in the defense will reach elite level.

  • This is also characteristic of Archie’s teams. In the Dayton – Boise State NCAA game, IIRC, Dayton fell behind by 11 or so while their offense dried up and they couldn’t hit a shot. But they locked down on defense and got back in the game, eventually winning it. I can’t wait until that’s a consistent characteristic of his IU teams. Offense can come and go, especially on the road, but defense travels.

  • iugradmark

    Good points. Our offense is really hurting our defense right now. We had a low turnover night and we did not allow them to score on our turnovers but our bad shots, poor shooting, and inability to get the ball inside has carryover consequences. If DD is not punishing smaller teams with inside play, he is a liability on defense as he is going to struggle to guard smaller quicker players. After a better outside shooting game from RoJo, he reverted back to all of his bad shooting habits. Our short bursts of decent play will not be enough once we get past Friday’s game. I was hoping for some real confidence builders but we are still a work in process.

  • Mark Bando

    Good story. I agree with you 100%

  • IUMIKE1

    Right, exactly why I’ve been so outspoken (to the point that I’m sure some just wanted me to just shut the hell up about it lol) about IU’s defense over the last few years. A very large percentage, often the largest percentage, of a team’s ” easy ” baskets are going to be the result of something good being done on defense. The better you play defense the more of those easy baskets you are going to get. The more easy, high percentage shots you get the better the chance you win the game. It’s the ole snowball theory and it all starts with being a good ” team ” defensively.

    That’s not to say that being good on offense is not important by any means, but like you said, offense will come and go, especially on the road, but defense travels. A lot truth in that and a whole lot of proof evident in that saying.