The Minute After: Penn State

  • 01/09/2018 9:21 pm in

Thoughts on a 74-70 win against the Nittany Lions:

Playing in front of its home crowd for the first time in 11 days, the Hoosiers fed off the Assembly Hall faithful early.

Indiana came out with an effort, focus and energy it’s lacked too often this season, jumping out to an eight-point lead near the midway point of the first half against what looks to be the best team of the Pat Cambers era. The Hoosiers’ offensive execution was on point, as they moved the ball well and most scores came off assists.

But the 3-point shooting had returned to its woeful regularity after an uptick against Minnesota on Saturday. Indiana hoisted up 17 3-point shots in the first half — many good looks in the flow of the offense — but only managed to connect on three of them as they carried a 17.6 percentage into half. Indiana wasn’t great from inside the arc either and had just a 40 percent effective field goal percentage at the break. Such bad shooting could have seen them down after the first 20 minutes most games. But against a Nittany Lions team skilled at turning teams over, the Hoosiers had just two turnovers. Couple that with an 8-of-9 performance from the line and it allowed Indiana a 35-31 lead, despite its difficulty containing Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens.

As the second half began, the Hoosiers heated up, missing just one shot over the first five minutes. A Robert Johnson 3-pointer gave them an 11-point cushion (47-36) at the 15:16 mark. While Penn State was able to make a game of it late and it got a little too close for comfort, the Hoosiers led the entire second half and only trailed once in the first half. It was by one point for just 59 seconds of game action.

In a season where nothing seems sure with this team, this was a solid performance from the Hoosiers against a Penn State squad ranked No. 41 on KenPom heading into the contest.

Juwan Morgan posted another double-double this evening (21 points, 11 boards). Morgan’s consistency in this department is almost starting to make us take his leap this season for granted. Morgan also hit two 3-pointers tonight, building off his long distance shooting performance up in Minnesota over the weekend. Indiana got help on offense from Josh Newkirk and Devonte Green. Newkirk chipped in 16 points, including a 7-of-8 performance from the line. Green had 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting, adding a 4-of-4 mark from the line. All four came in the final 10 seconds of the game to seal the contest.

Overall, Indiana hit 18-of-22 from the line, one of the deciding factors in a game it won by only four points. Indiana’s defense also held Penn State to 1.01 points per possession, which is under the Nittany Lions’ conference average so far (1.06). And while the Hoosiers coughed it up more in the second half, they still only turned it over on just 13 percent of their possessions.

It was all enough to hold off the late Penn State run and seal the victory.

With a two-game conference winning streak under its belt and an underachieving Northwestern squad on deck this weekend, the Hoosiers have a shot at making it three straight.

Filed to:

  • Bill Shomaker

    I like the optimism, but you might want to pump the brakes a bit

  • JethroTroll

    Eh, i don’t think outside shooting will be a strength of this team this year. If this team can commit to hitting the glass, moving without the ball, playing solid team defense while limiting turnovers, they’ll be competitive. Maybe not real good, but competitive. And that’s their ceiling this year.

    P.S. IU won’t be playing in April, unless you meant the baseball team.

  • Gary Cline

    RJ is a senior with tons of experience. With that said, his leadership is lacking on this team and his shooting woes continue. His defense and rebounding has been good but he exhibited some poor decisions at the end of this contest(on both ends of the court). This team needs him to play consistently and at a high level if they are going to rack up the wins. RJ is decent player but not a great player, and I hope he closes out his senior year with great consistent play and shooting.


    Ahhh yes, that one sneaky little word….if….lol

  • Sandra Wilson

    So you feel this team he has right now (and last year) has inferior talent ?

  • Sandra Wilson

    I’d say “arguably”. The last NCAA champion was in 2000. ALL recruiting is competitive. Whose eye test does it pass? Let me state it again – 4-14, 2-16, 6-12, 4-14, 7-11 and 6-12. I’d say that you could hire at least 50 Indiana high school coaches that could get this kind of results and you wouldn’t need to pay them $1,000,000 a year.

  • Sandra Wilson

    If it makes you feel any better, I’ll just say he’s done less, period.

  • Sandra Wilson

    My recruiting comment was in response to your “more with less” comment. He has done both (your second paragraph). Early on, he didn’t recruit well, lately, he’s recruited much better and still can’t win.

  • BeatDuke

    Is it weird that I just hope we beat Northwestern? I suspect a 40% chance of losing that game (10% chance we get blown out, a la Ft. Wayne or In. State). NW is better and always pumped to beat a blue blood (ok, former blue blood).

  • BeatDuke

    I just hope we shoot less 3’s, and work on 3 point shooting in practice as a point of emphasis.

  • calbert40

    Your original contention was “Chambers does less with more than any coach in the B1G.” I countered by saying PSU typically has a less talented roster than most B1G programs, yet he continually gets them to compete with more talented teams. Then you follow that up by saying it’s his fault he doesn’t recruit better.

    PSU will never be able to recruit like 2/3 of all B1G schools. He gets the occasional big name, but much like IU football, the problem is that he doesn’t have players like that on the bench. Outside of Garner, Carr and Stevens, there aren’t any players who are significant contributors on most B1G teams.

  • AndyCapp

    That’s my hometown and got a couple of brothers living there, both big time IU fans. Will let them know and tell them they should attend. Thanks for heads up!

  • AndyCapp

    I did not like his offensive performance in this game and a few others this year but he does bring it every night, especially on D, and I appreciate that.

  • AndyCapp

    You’re right, they are

  • Arch Puddington

    Remember, his best offensive year by many measures was his sophomore year, when he had an All-American PG, multiple elite shooters, and a McDonald’s All-America center on the team with him. His stats are remarkably similar the other three years. He is down this year in several areas, but certainly not because he is any worse. For the first time in his career he does not have Yogi, JBJ, or other elite perimeter players to draw opponents’ best defenders, and is having to play a leadership role that does not seem natural to him. He defends and rebounds well, and can have big nights here and there, but is prone to turning the ball over and disappearing on offense. Those things have always been true of him; what has changed is that more has been expected of him. And indeed he has given more minutes and produced more points than ever. But as I have argued many times, he is who he is. He is doing what he has always done, just with less help and more scrutiny.

  • Outoftheloop

    I love a fellow “homer”!

  • Outoftheloop

    Excellent point!

  • VAHoosier

    Your post reflects a degree of obtuseness that suggests an inability to think with any degree of nuance. It is more probable that you are being willfully ignorant in order to prop up your opinions.

    You seem confused about what the phrase “eye test” means. It implies a subjective, or qualitative, analysis. So, when you rebut that claim with objective, or quantitative, observations (i.e., regurgitating the W/L), you betray your misunderstanding of my point.

    You then punctuate your post with a claim that is both illogical and outlandish.

    And as I reflect on these things it dawns on me that all of these things would be consistent with “trolling,” which is the simplest explanation for your posts.

  • Outoftheloop

    1 million is not much for a B1G basketball coach! Recalibrate Sandra!

  • Outoftheloop

    I call your bluff and double the bet. What “coaching” mistakes did Chambers make last night?

  • VAHoosier

    Yes, I’ve noticed you express much the same sentiment in the past, and it was those observations to which I referred when I said others have questioned whether he is simply not who we want him or thought him to be. I think that’s as good an explanation as any for Rob’s inconsistencies.

  • Outoftheloop

    Not magic but confidence! Which shooters have a poor shot mechanically? Only Robert on his twist of his lower body, and that is slight. Take only great looks, follow, don’t watch, your shot, and run back on D and pick up a man!

  • Arch Puddington

    Sorry, don’t mean to be repetitive! I just don’t take it for granted that anyone has read or remembers what I have said. I’m not that important….

  • Arch Puddington

    Sandra actually knows a fair amount about basketball, but the only thing she seems to be able to do with it is use it as the basis for contemptuous criticism, especially of coaches. There is no balance or context to her comments, just a steady stream of “_______ doesn’t know what he is doing”, typically expressed in sharp or even strident terms. The one exception is Fran McCaffery, whose raging antics she seems to think are the height of coaching ability.