You could call it hot shooting by Northwestern. Or you could call it poor defense by Indiana. Maybe it was a little bit of both on Super Bowl Sunday in Welsh-Ryan Arena.
But when the dust settled, Indiana looked nothing like the team that had just taken Illinois and Purdue to the wire in a pair of hard-fought losses.
And Northwestern, which inched closer to the .500 mark in conference play, looked like a team poised to work its way back into the NCAA Tournament conversation with a convincing 78-61 win over the Hoosiers.
“We just don’t have a toughness about us that’s there everyday,” Indiana coach Tom Crean told Don Fisher on the postgame radio show. “We didn’t come with a street fight mentality at the beginning of the game at all.”
The Wildcats (16-8, 5-6 Big Ten) jumped out to a 10-2 lead, hit 10 of 25 from behind the 3-point line, shot 52 percent from the field and were never really challenged by Indiana.
All five starters for Bill Carmody’s team, which had 21 assists and just 10 turnovers, scored in double figures, led by 16 from John Shurna. The 6-8 sophomore hit five 3-pointers and had six assists, five rebounds and three blocks. Luka Mirkovic added 14 points and Jeremy Nash had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“We did not come out with the mentality that we were going to get into these guys,” Crean said. “The bottom line was that we had to defend the 3-point line. We had to pressure up, they’ve shot 100 more three’s than us. There’s a reason for that. We did not have the fight in us at the beginning that you need to get started and then you’re playing in an uphill battle the entire game.”
The one bright spot for Indiana (9-13, 3-7) was Verdell Jones. The sophomore guard turned in his best scoring effort yet as a Hoosier with 28 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Jones hit 12-of-13 free throws for his seventh game of 20+ points this season.
“He’s continued to get better. We’ve got to continue to find different ways to get him the ball,” Crean said. “Verdell is certainly getting a lot of things done.”
The Hoosiers had a season-low eight turnovers, but shot just 35 percent from the field and trailed by as many as 20 in the second half.
Up next: Ohio State at Assembly Hall on Wednesday. The 6:30 tip will be shown on the Big Ten Network.
Inspired by a co-founder of Inside the Hall, ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan, I’ve decided to try my hand at video blogging. I’ll try to do a few more of these as the season moves along, assuming I’m not ridiculed in the comments. See everybody tomorrow for the Northwestern live blog.
UPDATE (5:49 p.m.): Bob Agramonte, vice president at Learfield Sports, just left a voicemail on my cell phone saying that the statement released by IU also reflects Learfield’s current stance on the matter, and that they have “no further comment at this time on the Todd Leary situation.”
Per J.D. Campbell, assistant athletic director for media relations and head of men’s basketball media relations:
“Indiana University Athletics and Learfield Sports, the Hoosiers’ multimedia rights holder which oversees the Indiana University Radio Network, recognize the recent events involving color analyst Todd Leary. Clearly, both parties are concerned for Todd and his family as he deals with this matter. We will continue to move forward with the current broadcast team of Don Fischer and Joe Smith calling IU basketball games through the remainder of the season.”
The statement also goes on to say that any future inquiries should be directed to Learfield Sports. At this point, however, what that future holds is unclear. Again, we’ll have more for you as this story develops.
This has been a season devoid of predictability for Indiana on the court, but nothing could compare to this.
Former Hoosier Todd Leary, a color commentator on IU’s radio broadcast team alongside play-by-play man Don Fischer, was arrested Thursday evening on 17 felony counts “in connection with a scheme to misappropriate real estate title funds,” according to the above-linked report from the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette.
I’m not great with the legalese, I just got home from a Notre Dame game and it’s my birthday, so I’m just going to quote heavily from this report, which would frankly be a better plan of action no matter the circumstance:
Leary once worked for former title insurance broker Joseph Garretson, who pleaded guilty this week in Allen Superior Court to conversion or misappropriation of title insurance escrow funds, corrupt business influence and unlawful loan origination activities in a scheme that court documents say totaled $2.7 million in losses.
IU police arrested Leary – an analyst for the Indiana University Radio Network – on Thursday evening, and he was booked into the Monroe County Jail in Bloomington about 6:45 p.m., 15 minutes before IU’s home game against Purdue.
Leary, 39, of Carmel, is accused of conspiring with Garretson between July 2008 and February 2009 to commit a variety of felonies, including conspiracy to commit conversion or misappropriation of title insurance escrow funds, conspiracy to commit theft and conspiracy to corrupt business influence. The majority of the charges are Class C felonies, with penalties of up to four years in prison each.
So yea, not good. Not good at all. I take from the report — though this isn’t a claim to fact, I’m just surmising — that Leary was actually arrested at Assembly Hall, since it apparently happened close to game time and IU police were the ones who actually took him in, according to the report.
That same report also states that former Hoosier Brian Evans, who is a co-owner of the Uncle D’s franchise on Kirkwood Avenue in Bloomington, cooperated with investigators in some fashion.
I won’t opine too much on this; it’s radioactive on its own, just read the report for yourself. I would imagine we’ll have more for you as this story develops.