The Minute After Archive
MONTREAL — Thoughts on a 109-77 win over the University of Quebec at Montreal:
Indiana’s five-game trip through Canada came to an end on Wednesday afternoon and in a lot of ways, the game felt much like the first game of the trip for the Hoosiers.
The opponent had little in terms of size, IU was clearly the more athletic and talented team and once it took control, there was little doubt as to what the result would be.
Still, there were positives to draw out of the effort, particularly when you consider this team was playing its fifth game in six days.
The bounce back effort of Robert Johnson, who went scoreless on Tuesday, is near the top of the list. The freshman guard from Richmond (Va.) finished with 17 points, hit all four of his 3-point attempts and also added five rebounds, four assists and three steals. In his postgame comments, Tom Crean mentioned that he didn’t even realize that Johnson failed to score on Tuesday because he was contributing in other facets of the game.
Devin Davis also had a strong final effort on the glass, corralling a team-high 10 rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. While Davis wasn’t consistent with his rebounding totals on the trip, he’s definitely worked on his body in the offseason and seems more comfortable when he catches the ball near the block. While he’s still undersized, the added strength should allow Davis to hold his own as he role continues to grow.
Troy Williams was also outstanding on this afternoon with a team-high 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists and said one of the reasons he’s more comfortable right now than he was last season is that his left hand is completely healthy. Crean has talked a lot on this trip about getting his team to understand that it’s often better to just make the simple play and Williams, with his elite athleticism, is a great example for a player where this should be the focus.
MONTREAL — Thoughts on a 96-69 win over McGill University:
Unlike Sunday afternoon in Saint-Lambert, Quebec and Monday evening in Ottawa, Ontario, Indiana received little in terms of a test as it returned to Montreal for the fourth game of its Canadian tour.
The Hoosiers, who came into Love Competition Hall on the campus of McGill sporting a 2-1 record on their trip, dominated the Redmen, who lacked the athleticism to contain IU’s array of perimeter options.
From a team perspective, there was plenty to like in this performance from Indiana. The offense wasn’t nearly as good as what we witnessed Monday night against Carleton, but it was still quite solid. The Hoosiers scored 1.10 points per possession with an effective field goal percentage of 54, while limiting the Redmen to .85 points per trip and an eFG percentage of just 43.3.
Indiana also did a solid job grabbing the shots that it did miss as evidenced by its offensive rebounding percentage of 46.1. And while the free throw rate (FTA/FGA) wasn’t as high as Tom Crean would like at just 21.3 percent, the Hoosiers did make 15 of their 16 attempts at the stripe.
On the downside of things, Indiana was sloppy with the ball quite often this evening and turned it over 23 times for a turnover percentage of 27.2. Crean said afterward that many of those were unforced and a film session with this young group will show far too many occasions where a ball handler went airborne without anywhere to go. These are the types of mistakes that haunted Indiana a season ago and are exactly the kind of mishaps that can be the difference in tight games when the regular season rolls around.
OTTAWA, Ontario — Thoughts on a 95-85 win over Carleton University:
Prior to departing for Canada, Indiana coach Tom Crean warned of potential stumbling blocks for his young team on its five-game tour. And Monday night’s opponent, Carleton University, which entered tonight’s game with a 294-12 record over its last 306 games along with 10 of the last 12 CIS championships, was the first team Crean mentioned.
The Ravens, after all, beat Wisconsin handily last August and took Syracuse to overtime. Canadian basketball isn’t just about the players like Andrew Wiggins, Steve Nash and other who have defected to the United States to play collegiately. Led by strong grassroots programs and university programs like Carleton, the sport is on the rise in the country.
So as Indiana entered the Ravens Nest, as it’s called here on campus, the test was a legitimate one despite the fact that Carleton was missing its best player and coach. This was the closest thing the Hoosiers will have to a true road game on this tour and not only did Indiana past the test, it did so decisively.
After falling behind in its first two games, Indiana never left any doubt in this game. The Hoosiers led wire-to-wire and when the going got tough late, Indiana answered the call.
SAINT-LAMBERT, Quebec — Thoughts on a 109-101 loss to the University of Ottawa:
Indiana’s third opponent on its Canadian tour, Carleton University, received most of the pre-trip buzz as a team capable of knocking off the Hoosiers. The Ravens are a perennial power in Canada with a ridiculous 292-14 mark over their last 306 contests.
But the University of Ottawa, arguably the top challenger currently to Carleton in the quest for Canadian Interuniversity Sport titles, got the first crack of the two schools to beat Indiana.
And that’s exactly what happened. This was no gimmick win nor was it a fluke. It was just two talented offensive teams making shot after shot. Unfortunately for IU, the Gee Gees just happened to make more on this particular afternoon.
You can start with the discrepancy on 3-pointers as the major downfall for Indiana. The Hoosiers hit 7-of-17 from distance while the University of Ottawa hit 18-of-30 from behind the arc.
The Gee Gees shared the ball brilliantly, moved it with purpose and found shooters, of which they have plenty. Their backcourt, which is certainly one of the best in the country, combined for 54 points as Johnny Berhanemeskel and Mike L’Africain each poured in 27. L’Africain hit six 3s and unofficially, dished out six assists.
MONTREAL — Thoughts on a 110-70 win over Laval University:
After an offseason full of arrivals and departures, the first look at the 2014-15 Indiana Hoosiers was unveiled on Friday night on the first game of a five-game tour through Canada.
And the early returns were promising.
On a night where Indiana was without junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea (visa issues) and freshman Jeremiah April (ankle), Tom Crean opted to go small from the get-go with a starting lineup of Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Troy Williams and Nick Zeisloft.
The Hoosiers wasted little time scoring early in possessions as a 24-second shot clock produced a frantic pace that only Indiana could keep over a full 40 minutes.
After Laval hung in for a quarter and even led for portions of the first 10 minutes, Indiana finally exploded in the third quarter. The Hoosiers hung 34 third quarter points and were on their way to a comfortable win.
A look at some of the tempo-free numbers: Indiana’s effective field goal percentage was strong (57.3) as was its offensive rebounding percentage (38.4). The Hoosiers did, however, turn it over on 18.3 percent of their possessions. And while Indiana did clamp down defensively in the second half, holding Laval to just 27 points over the last two quarters, it did allow an effective field goal percentage of 50. That was driven, in large part, by Laval hitting 11 of its 30 attempts from behind the 3-point arc.
Individually, there were several standouts.
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.
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.