The Minute After Archive
Thoughts on an 88-86 loss to the Eagles:
This is what happens when your only rotational big man can’t defend the post. Indiana become helpless against the size of Venky Jois. He goes off for 20 points and 14 boards. Indiana’s lack of size allows Eastern Washington to gobble up 41 percent of its misses for 20 second-chance points and 48 points in the paint.
This is what happens when your guards can’t defend dribble penetration: Tyler Harvey and Drew Brandon combine for 52 points on 19-of-36 shooting and the Eagles score 1.18 points per possession.
This is what happens when James Blackmon Jr. leaves the Superman cape in the locker room, the Hoosiers shoot under 40 percent from 3-point range and Yogi Ferrell goes hero ball down the stretch: A 12-point second half lead disappears, and Big Sky comes to Big Ten country to take Indiana out.
The Eastern Washington Eagles aren’t a bad team. But they’re not a great team, either. However, they laid the path on how to expose Indiana: If you have a competent big man, feed him, feed him and feed him again. Indiana just doesn’t have anyone capable of defending him at an acceptable level at present. Tom Crean has so little faith in Hanner Mosquera-Perea right now that he sat him for large stretches as a host of smaller Hoosiers did what they could against Jois, which wasn’t much. Emmitt Holt doesn’t appear ready to be part of the solution right now. He didn’t even see the court. Heck: Just a few months ago, he thought he’d still be in high school. Jeremiah April and Tim Priller likely aren’t going to get it done against competent competition, either.
Thoughts on a 85-72 win over Lamar:
I. With 5:09 to go in the first half, Indiana punched the lead out to 17 points (37-20) and looked well on its way to a blowout victory in a game in which it was favored by 30 points. But due to some turnovers and only two points over the final 3:14 of the half, the Hoosiers entered the locker room with only an eight-point advantage.
The second half didn’t go much better. An Assembly Hall crowd missing students on break was mostly flat. The Cardinals got as close as seven (77-70) with 3:42 to go before Indiana finally shut the door for good and closed this one out.
So what was the culprit for the sluggish victory? It wasn’t the turnover bug, as Indiana only had two in the second half and had a strong turnover percentage of just 13.6. Nor was it an off offensive night, as the Hoosiers shot it pretty well (59.5 eFG%) including a 9-of-20 mark from distance. It also got to the line at a decent clip (41.4 free throw rate) and scored 1.29 points per possession. Had we seen all these numbers without the final score, it would have seemed like Indiana cruised to victory here.
What allowed the Cardinals to stay in this was Indiana’s defense. It was one which allowed the Cardinals to score on seven straight possessions at one point in the second half. It was essentially a game of shot-trading after the break. Indiana allowed 48 (!) points in the paint to a Lamar squad that came into the game as the No. 346 offense from an efficiency standpoint, per KenPom. The Cardinals also scored 1.09 points per possession after averaging just .88 entering tonight’s contest. Too many times, Indiana let Lamar drive into the paint for scores.
While the Hoosiers should have performed better on defense against a team such as this, some credit is due to Lamar. It played with confidence inside Assembly Hall and got a strong performance from a host of players, including Tyran de Lattibeaudiere (18 points).
Still, this one probably shouldn’t have been so close.
Thoughts on a 74-68 win over the Mustangs:
This re-tooled Hoosiers squad had yet to see length and athleticism like Larry Brown’s Mustangs. And so early, SMU worked Indiana on the boards while its defense kept the Hoosiers out of the paint and settling for jump shots.
But Troy Williams entered the game shot out of a cannon, his infectious energy igniting the Assembly Hall faithful. Deflections and drives and suddenly Indiana was right back in his thing and kept with it till game’s end for the victory. From Williams to Stanford Robinson to Yogi Ferrell to Nick Zeisloft to Robert Johnson to Collin Hartman to James Blackmon Jr., the Hoosiers have playmakers and shooters abound. They were all collectively enough to hit buckets and make plays at crucial times despite a rocky shooting night to ensure a win over the No. 22-ranked squad in the country.
Williams and Robinson got into the paint when their time came, something Indiana desperately needed early. Williams would make 5-of-8 free throws and take the most of any player on the floor this evening. Robinson hit 2-of-3 in just nine minutes of action to go along with three assists. During a crucial period late in the second half, Zeisloft outworked the Mustangs for a defensive rebound that seemed as if he had no business getting. He followed it up with a trey on the ensuing Hoosier possession and hit another one for good measure not long after.
The list goes on: Hartman hit a left corner 3 in the second half off good ball movement from Indiana on that possession. Ferrell hit one as well from the opposite wing late. Blackmon Jr. kept it calm and cool and scored in transition and from beyond the arc all night long. He’s seemingly able to step into a 3-pointer whenever he wants with the ball in his hands, taking 10 in this one and hitting five of them. On a night Indiana didn’t shoot particularly well (46.5 eFG%), Blackmon Jr. was the steadying force, going 7-of-15 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the line.
Indiana also made good decisions within their offense for most of the contest and posted their lowest turnover percentage (10.4%) since a win over Northwestern last season (12.7%).
Thoughts on a 83-64 win over Texas Southern:
I. Robert Johnson came out of the gate hot. He headed to the locker room at halftime with a line that would have looked nice after a full 40: 17 points (5-of-6, 3-of-3 from distance), four assists and three rebounds. Johnson’s ability to handle the ball, dribble-drive and score or find the open teammate in the corner for 3-pointers makes him incredibly valuable within Indiana’s offense. When the competition stiffens Johnson may find it harder to drive into the paint, but he’s making a strong case for a starting spot even when Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson come back from suspension Thursday against SMU.
At the very least, he’s going to give Tom Crean an option off the bench without much dropoff from the starting backcourt.
II. Hanner Mosquera-Perea played arguably his best game as a Hoosier tonight against the Tigers. He scored a career-high (12 points) with some back-to-basket scores, a breakaway dunk, a jumper and a pick-and-roll bucket. Mosquera-Perea also notched a career-high five blocks, looking like a man against boys at times with a couple of the chasedown variety. He did have three turnovers and only five rebounds, but he looked confident on both ends of the court and continues to look like an improved and capable player despite the miscues.
III. The offensive numbers were again impressive: 1.19 points per possession, 66% eFG, 10-of-15 from 3-point range, four players in double-figures (Johnson: 21, Yogi Ferrell: 20, James Blackmon Jr: 19, Mosquera-Perea 12). But after heading to the locker room with a 15-point lead, the Hoosiers let an undermanned Texas Southern squad hang around for too long. The Tigers never got closer than 10 and there was never any real threat of them taking the lead. But over the final 20 minutes of the contest, Indiana only outscored the Tigers 39-35.
Thoughts on a 116-65 win over the Delta Devils:
I. Indiana showed splendor. The spacing, the ball movement, the shots which all seemed like they were going to fall. The numbers are absurd: 116 points, the most-ever in the Tom Crean era. Eleven made 3-pointers, more than the Hoosiers made in any game a season ago. Five players in double figures (James Blackmon Jr.: 25, Max Hoetzel: 19, Nick Zeisloft: 16, Robert Johnson: 15, Yogi Ferrell: 15). A mark of 1.44 points per possession. An effective field goal percentage of 75.4. An offensive rebounding percentage of 54.5 and a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 62.7. They made 27-of-37 from the line.
It’s nice and it’s fun, but it came against the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils. This was a David vs. Goliath matchup with Goliath swallowing the opponent whole.
Indiana showed slop, too. In this up-and-down affair, the Hoosiers turned it over on 30 percent of their possessions heading into halftime. They were much cleaner in the second half with just six turnovers, but a 23.5 turnover percentage by game’s end is reminiscent of last season and isn’t going to be as easily negated when the Hoosiers’ shots aren’t falling like tonight against better competition.
II. Three games straight of a consistent Hanner Mosquera-Perea. Yet again, he stayed out of foul trouble with just one in 21 minutes. He snagged a career-high 12 boards and just missed a double-double with nine points. (A 3-of-7 mark from the line saw him miss double-digit scoring.) Yes, he was again loose with the ball and a little wild at times, but he knocked down another jumper from the right corner and even had a bucket in the post that started with his back to basket.
Thoughts on a 76-63 win over the University of Indianapolis:
As the Greyhounds connected on a shot after shot to start the contest, Hanner Mosquera-Perea picked up two early fouls and two early turnovers.
And yet: For a second straight game, the good outweighed the bad. No fouls or turnovers the rest of the game. The junior finished with a near double-double (14 points, eight rebounds) to go along with two blocks, two assists and a steal in 28 minutes of action. He’s still messy around the rim and with the ball in his hands, and maybe that’s just how it’s going to be this season. But he was able to parlay such efforts around the hoop into an 8-of-10 performance at the line, totaling nearly half the attempts of Indiana’s 19-of-25 mark from the charity stripe.
Mosquera-Perea almost brought the house down twice. Once, he slammed it home on a breakaway as Indiana was whistled for a ten-second violation. Another time near the end of the contest, Yogi Ferrell bounced it off the backboard for Mosquera-Perea to dunk it on another breakway, but he had to settle for a lay-in as Ferrell’s bounce off the backboard also hit the rim.
More opportunities to come.
Collin Hartman, Robert Johnson Shine
Collin Hartman wasn’t expected to be back on the court so soon. Yet, not only is he here now, but he’s making his presence felt. Hartman oozed confidence all game and was a difference-maker on both ends. He had two nice blocks on the defensive side of the ball and scored eight points, including a 2-of-2 mark from 3-point range. Hartman is unlikely to be the first man off the bench after Troy Williams, Stanford Robinson and Emmitt Holt come off suspension. But this sort of production out of the end of your rotation is a nice luxury to have.
Johnson struggled with his shot in last week’s exhibition opener. Not the case tonight. A perfect 6-of-6 performance (and 1-of-1 mark from the line) including two from beyond the arc for 15 points and three assists in 35 minutes of action. Johnson aided in Indiana’s 22-0 run to end the first half, as he, Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr., Nick Zeisloft (who had a night to forget: 0-of-6, five turnovers) and Hartman shared the ball well around the perimeter, which opened things up for wing and corner 3s.
This was Indiana’s offense firing at its best and it stands to have even more weapons upon Williams’ and Robinson’s return.
Thoughts on a 94-70 win against the Timberwolves:
I. This roster-depleted, emotionally-tested Hoosier squad started slow. Despite getting in the bonus early and being the more talented and athletic team, it took about 14 minutes to grab the lead back for good and grow it. Once the second half hit, it was pretty much all Hoosiers en route to a victory with several Indiana players making big contributions.
II. Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s feel for the pace and rhythm of a college basketball game is still a work in progress. But this is fact: Tonight was his most complete game in the cream and crimson. As noted on the broadcast, the junior’s previous career-high in minutes was 15; he passed that in the first half. In that first 20 minutes, Mosquera-Perea connected on a long two from the right baseline and rolled to the rim to finish an alley-oop from fellow junior Yogi Ferrell. In 33 minutes of actions, Mosquera-Perea posted a double-double (10 points, 12 boards) along with a block, an assist, a steal, four turnovers and just two fouls. A good start, but room to grow.
III. Broken record at this point, but Indiana turned the ball over at an alarming rate last season. But on this night, the Hoosiers were pretty good with the ball. Mosquera-Perea’s four turnovers accounted for nearly half of Indiana’s miscues (10), as its turnover rate was just 13.0 percent. Turn the ball over on just 13 percent of its possessions for the rest of the season, and the Hoosiers are going to end up with a lot less empty possessions than their 2013-2014 campaign. But it’s too early right now to know if Indiana has really turned the corner in this category.