LAHAINA, Hawaii — Indiana had finally found its stride.
After a first half it failed to defend at an acceptable level and Wake Forest had a lot of confidence, the Hoosiers made things more difficult for the Demon Deacons to start the second half. They contested better at the rim and off the perimeter.
On the back of a 9-0 run, Indiana entered the under-8 timeout at the 7:09 mark up 72-63. The heavy-IU crowd was rocking and the Hoosiers were on the verge of closing the door and facing Vanderbilt tomorrow.
But they fell apart down the stretch. The defensive issues crept back in hard. Senior Devin Thomas (game-high 21 points) scored at will on Indiana in the post. Freshman Thomas Bryant just had no chance against him. Welcome to college, kid.
“Still waiting for one of our guys to remember to take away his left hand,” Tom Crean said of Thomas after the game.
Bryant Crawford (13 points) came in off the perimeter for scores on several occasions
A few quick thoughts on Indiana’s 82-78 loss to Wake Forest in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational:
How it happened: After taking a 72-63 lead with 7:34 to play, Indiana scored just six points the rest of the way as Wake Forest easily attacked the basket down the stretch (like it did for the entire first half). Freshman Bryant Crawford scored the game winner for the Demon Deacons with just 3.2 seconds to play as the Hoosiers failed to stop a routine screen and roll on the right side. Indiana then called two timeouts to set up a final play, but an errant pass by Collin Hartman was intercepted and the Hoosiers didn’t even get off a shot, which simply cannot happen.
Indiana begins play in the 2015 Maui Jim Maui Invitational today against Wake Forest at the Lahaina Civic Center. (Note: Inside the Hall’s Ryan Corazza and Jamie Owens are in Maui and will be providing coverage all week.)
Today’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET with Jon Sciambi and Bill Walton on the call. The full Maui bracket is available here.
Is Indiana ready to win three games in three days? We’re about to find out. The Hoosiers tip off in Maui today with Wake Forest, which is 2-1 and coming off of a home loss to Richmond.
The Maui field is an impressive one as IU, Kansas and Vanderbilt are all ranked. In addition to those three teams, there’s a day one matchup between UNLV and UCLA, which should also be entertaining. Throw in Wake Forest and St. John’s, which are both rebuilding but are recruiting well, and you’ve got one of the stronger fields of any of the early season tournaments this season.
But before Indiana can look ahead to a day two matchup with Vanderbilt or even a potential meeting on Wednesday with Kansas, the Hoosiers must first focus on the Demon Deacons, who will be looking to play spoiler in the opener.