The Minute After Archive

The Minute After: Illinois

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INDIANAPOLIS — Thoughts on a 64-54 loss to the Illini:

Less than four minutes into Indiana’s opening round meeting with Illinois on Thursday afternoon in the Big Ten tournament, it appeared as though the Hoosiers would offer up little resistance to a Fighting Illini club that had come in with wins in four of its last five games.

Just before Illinois took a 9-0 lead with 16:23 to play in the first half, Tom Crean turned to his bench and uttered one sentence that said it all: “There’s no attack to the game right now.”

Crean was right.

Illinois was the aggressor out of the gate and how Indiana would respond over the next 16 minutes would tell us plenty about how the afternoon would transpire.

The Hoosiers answered out of the timeout with an 8-0 run, thanks to five points from Will Sheehey, who finished the opening 20 minutes with 11 points. Yogi Ferrell, ever the reliable contributor all season for these Hoosiers, would step up as well, pouring in 10 points before intermission.

When halftime hit, the Hoosiers would enter the locker room trailing by just two at 30-28, thanks in large part to a 6-of-10 performance from behind the 3-point arc and despite a turnover percentage of 30.4.

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The Minute After: Michigan

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Thoughts on an 84-80 loss to the Wolverines:

In their final Big Ten contest of the 2013-2014 season, Indiana showed exactly what it was this year: A talented, yet flawed team that just never showed enough consistency to make it to the Big Dance as an at-large squad.

Indiana’s offense was terrific in this one. John Beilein never tossed a packed 2-3 zone at the Hoosiers, and so Indiana was able to play with confidence and to its strengths. It was easier for Yogi Ferrell to move around in the half court. He scored at the rim and from beyond the arc (4-of-8) and the attention he drew helped him set up his teammates (eight assists, tied for a season high) en route to 16 points. Troy Williams and Will Sheehey cut off the ball for scores as Ferrell found them. Sheehey chipped in two from distance for six of his 17 points, as IU shot 38.9 percent from 3-point range. Williams had a number of highlight dunks, none more emphatic than a first half slam over Jordan Morgan. He finished with 16 points. It was another strong game for the freshman, adding to his late-season offensive surge.

Stanford Robinson, who’s struggled at the line this season, hit all nine of his attempts for most of his 13 points. The Hoosiers notched an effective field goal percentage of 66.3 percent and scored 1.21 points per possession. In most games, this is enough to grab a victory. But Indiana also did what it’s done pretty much all season: turn the ball over in wild, silly ways. After just three turnovers in the first half, the Hoosiers coughed it up 12 times in the second half and ended the game with a 22.7 turnover percentage. There were bad passes, poor dribbles, travels — no good, horrible decisions abound. They played too fast and without poise.

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The Minute After: Nebraska

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Thoughts on a 70-60 loss to the Cornhuskers:

After back-to-back wins over ranked opponents, the Hoosiers seemed ready to avenge their loss to the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, keeping their slim NCAA Tournament at-large hopes alive in the process.

But they fell short, just couldn’t get over the hump, and it’s another heartbreaker on senior night.

Tied at 52 with 10 minutes to go after a Will Sheehey 3-pointer, Indiana had a number of shots that would have finally given them the lead in the contest. They just didn’t fall.  Still, it never trailed by more than three for the next eight minutes of the game, despite the Cornhuskers’ zone giving them a bit of trouble. The hustle and effort were there; there was no quit. A Yogi Ferrell missed 3-pointer that air-balled was saved out of bounds by Troy Williams. Devin Davis got his paws on it and scored. Indiana trailed by just one with 2:30 t0 go. A hustle play and the Hoosiers were still right there, still in the hunt.

But Indiana, which had its issues on defense throughout, got a little crossed up on the right wing with some pick action between Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford. Pitchford got free for a trey and sunk it. 62-58 Cornhuskers and the Hoosiers would never get any closer.

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The Minute After: Ohio State

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Thoughts on a 72-64 win over the Buckeyes:

The Buckeyes threw punch after punch in the second half, trying their best to break through, seize back the lead and leave Bloomington with a victory.

But the Hoosiers, without Noah Vonleh (who was out with a foot inflammation), would counter again and again. No second half collapse here, just Indiana doing what it’s done best this season: Beat a ranked team at home during a national broadcast. Another one goes down on Branch McCracken Court, and this may have been Indiana’s finest performance of the season.

The shots weren’t falling early for the Hoosiers. Ohio State jumped out to a 20-12 lead on a Lenzelle Smith Jr. free throw at the 7:54 mark. But Indiana would turn it up and make an important 21-5 run to close the half up eight (33-25). The Hoosiers moved the ball, pushed the pace and got scores at the cup. Yogi Ferrell, Will Sheehey and Troy Williams all converted on layups on three of Indiana’s next four possessions. That fourth possession featured two free throws from Jeremy Hollowell and it was quickly tied up at 20.

Indiana brought it at the other end as well, not allowing the Buckeyes to score after that Smith free throw until a Shannon Scott layup at the 3:11 mark.

Seniors Sheehey (18 points) and Evan Gordon (nine points) made sure the door remained closed in the second half. IU’s most-tenured players came up big during a crucial stretch when LaQuinton Ross (19 points) was nearly unstoppable, making play after play in the paint and the Hoosiers having no answer for his smooth length. For almost an eight-minute stretch (11:30 to the 3:33 mark) of game clock, Gordon and Sheehey accounted for 10 of Indiana’s 12 points. Gordon drove and scored and hit two threes. Sheehey had a trey of his own and a jumper.

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The Minute After: Iowa

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Thoughts on a 93-86 victory over the Hawkeyes:

This one was like none other.

After the Big Ten season had slowed the Indiana transition attack, the Hawkeyes presented themselves as a willing partner in a fast-paced dance. Up and down the court these teams went in the first half, trading quick bucket after quick bucket. It was called an AAU game, a track meet, a defensive-averse first 20 minutes. It was also something else: fun. It would end as the contest with the most possessions of the Big Ten season to date.

Tom Crean wasn’t afraid to push the pace and keep running it back at Fran McCaffery. There were possessions after Iowa makes where Crean implored his team, two hands sweeping in circles, to not slow down, to keep it going fast despite a made basket from the other team. A total of 101 points had been poured in by halftime.

Indiana won this one because it was able to slow down Iowa just enough in the second half, stringing together some nice defensive possessions. The Hoosiers pushed the Hawkeyes into a higher turnover percentage than average (21.7 percent) and shut down Roy Devyn Marble (14 points in the first half, just six in the second).

And then there was Will Sheehey. Simply put: It’s been a bit of a rocky, up-and-down year for No. 0. But with his big trey against Northwestern to seal it late, his strong start against Wisconsin and his career performance this evening, you wonder if he’s cresting just when the Hoosiers need him, salvaging a season that looked bleak just over a week ago.

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The Minute After: Wisconsin

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Thoughts on a 69-58 loss to the Badgers:

For a half, the Hoosiers silenced the Kohl Center.

They moved the ball. They found good looks. They went to their three best offensive players in Yogi Ferrell, Noah Vonleh and Will Sheehey. Wisconsin came in riding a five-game winning streak, shooting 40 percent from distance during that stretch. It ended the half shooting just 1-of-10 from 3-point range. The Badgers had some good looks here and there, sure, but Indiana also did a nice job of sticking with their men and doing its typical mix of man and zone defense.

IU carried a 10-point lead at 29-19 into the break, and maybe, just maybe, Wisconsin’s hot streak was about to end.

But from the onset of the second half, Wisconsin was on a mission. A Traveon Jackson drive and score, a Josh Gasser jumper, two free throws from Sam Dekker, a 3-pointer from Dekker, a 3-pointer from Ben Brust, another 3-pointer from Brust, a lay-up from Frank Kaminsky, two free throws from Kaminsky, a Burst 3-pointer, a steal and score from Dekker, a Bronson Koening drive and score, a jumper from Dekker, two free throws from Dekker, a lay-up from Dekker, a 3-pointer from Gasser.

Troy Williams got burnt on some of those drives. And if Wisconsin got any space from 3-point land, sometimes from Indiana losing guys or over-helping, it was firing and it seemed almost always hitting. What had been a 10-point lead flipped to a 12-point deficit with 5:09 to go, and Indiana was just about toast. (Though, it should be noted the Hoosiers had some nice offensive possessions early in the second half to weather the storm a bit and got Vonleh the ball in a variety of ways. But as the half wore on and Wisconsin couldn’t miss, Indiana stopped moving the ball, hurried things and that was about that.)

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The Minute After: Northwestern

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Thoughts on a 61-56 win over the Wildcats:

EVANSTON, Ill. –  After all the tumult over the last week-plus, just what Indiana team was going to show up inside Welsh-Ryan Arena tonight was anybody’s guess.

As it turns out, the Good Hoosiers made an appearance for much of this one. And so they avoided the second half breakdown, one that has plagued them on the road in conference play, hanging on for an important victory on the road and perhaps even gaining some confidence for the home stretch in the process.

The Wildcats, after zoning Indiana up for much of their win in Bloomington, decided to go man on Indiana in the first half. The Hoosiers, with more space and seams, went to work on the drive and on the offensive boards (42.1 percent offensive rebounding percentage). More than half (18) of their 32 first half points came in the paint. 10 of their 32 points came on second-chance opportunities,  as Troy Williams (two) and Noah Vonleh (one) had tip-in slams. The offense scored 1.13 per possession.

But Indiana’s defense wasn’t exactly sound, as their option to go zone allowed Northwestern some looks from beyond the 3-point arc (4-of-10, 40 percent). Alex Olah, on two bum ankles, played well (5-of-8 for 12 first half points) and the Hoosiers entered half up only two points (32-30).

Indiana was able to extend the lead all the way up to 12 coming out of halftime on the back of a 12-2 run. Northwestern went cold, Drew Crawford missed a few shots at the rim, and Indiana kept going to work against Northwestern’s man-to-man defense. But Chris Collins finally decided to go zone against the Hoosiers as the game seemed to be getting away from his Wildcats. During a stretch of five minutes and 45 seconds between a Will Sheehey lay-in at 14:28 and a 3-pointer from Yogi Ferrell at the 8:43 mark, the Hoosiers failed to score a field goal, though they got into the bonus during this timeframe and hit some free throws.

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