The Minute After: Northwestern

  • 03/12/2015 9:27 pm in

Thoughts on a 71-56 win over the Wildcats:

CHICAGO — After IU’s loss to Michigan State on Saturday, a dejected James Blackmon Jr. sat at the press table saying he didn’t get it going soon enough.

Tonight, as Blackmon Jr. and Yogi Ferrell sat down to the meet the media, it was all smiles.

Blackmon Jr. got it going early, scoring 13 points in 16 minutes of first half action on 3-of-6 shooting from distance. He finished the contest with his best effort away from home this season — 25 points (8-of-15), six rebounds (four offensive) and a career-high seven assists. The freshman’s effort, energy and stat-stuffing ways were indicative of Indiana’s performance tonight in its comfortable 15-point victory over Northwestern.

“I think tonight was all about our mindset,” Blackmon Jr. said.

From the onset, the Hoosiers got up in Northwestern’s grill and made them work for buckets. Where this has been for so long this season, who knows. But it was clear this was a point of emphasis for the Hoosiers. With each stop, deflection and recovery on defense, the Indiana bench cheered — creating a feedback loop for the energy being expended on the court.

“We went out there and created our own energy,” Ferrell said.

At one point in the first half, the Wildcats went 8:28 of game action between field goals. Indiana punched the lead out to 24-6 at this point, and it pretty much was the catalyst for the victory. Indiana held the Wildcats under a point per possession (.98) and that’s an encouraging sign heading into Friday night’s matchup with Maryland. Tre Demps killed the Hoosiers in Evanston. Tonight, Demps had just four points on 2-of-5 shooting as Ferrell and Robert Johnson hounded him throughout the contest.

“The pressure of our defense, the energy, the tenacity, all those things were really really strong,” Tom Crean said.

Indiana also beasted on the boards and snagged 50 percent of its misses in this one. There was tons of effort on this front tonight as well. Indiana got multiple chances on several trips down the floor and it led to 20-second chance points. Up in Evanston, Indiana’s scoring drought in the second half came because Indiana didn’t move the ball much or get into the paint against the zone, instead settling for a host of long-range bombs that wouldn’t fall. The standing around affected their energy. Tonight the ball movement was better and the players fed off each other. Save for a little bit of a lull here and there, Indiana didn’t stand around much on offense. The Hoosiers scored 1.23 points per possession on a night they didn’t really shoot it that great (50% eFG%, 11-of-32 from 3).

Ferrell hit just 3-of-10 from 3-point range but got to the rim well to finish with an efficient 7-of-16 performance (17 points). Emmitt Holt flashed good instincts on offense and scored eight points (4-of-5). On a freak play where Alex Olah took a charge on Robert Johnson, the Northwestern big man fell right into Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s right knee, re-aggravating his injury from earlier in the season. The junior hit the floor in some serious pain and it seems too early to tell just when he might be back.

Indiana needed this win to keep itself in the NCAA tournament mix and the Hoosiers certainly played like a team that knew the stakes. They left little doubt they’d be giving a strong effort for a full 40.

“I thought they were a very determined team,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said of the Hoosiers after the contest.

Tomorrow night, Maryland presents a tougher challenge than the Wildcats. But if Indiana brings this sort of energy against a team it’s already played well against twice, it gives itself a good chance to make it to Saturday.

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  • kaponya44

    Yogi is going to go off tomorrow night .lol

  • Slightly off topic, but all in favor of those uniforms say “Aye!”

    I think they look awesome, and I’d love to see them during the regular season.

  • 5_Banners

    I liked them too.

  • hooosierdaddy01

    Thing is, if Olah doesn’t fall, he gets called for the foul. The flop in a lot of cases is simply an attempt to avoid the blocking call.

    Stupid that it has come to that? Yes. The player’s fault for playing by those rules? Not a bit.

    I really wish the “no call” would make its way back to the game. The defender should have a right to his spot, yes even if he is slightly moving. I know that isn’t currently the rule, but it should be. If the offensive player comes in out of control and doesn’t finish as a result of the contact, that’s his fault. It is either offensive at that point, or no whistle should be blown. That would take care of a lot of the “flopping to avoid the block” nonsense.

  • downtownhoosier10

    …can’t really disagree with you. If he “holds his ground” it most likely is a block.

  • Jonny McClain

    enjoyed the energy tonight – starting to think if they play well tomorrow night, they get in (due to other bubble team losses), but would like to see a W for the kids confidence. I guess a concern would be if we land the play in game in Dayton – couldn’t that be a Tuesday game? that’s a lot of games in a short stretch but maybe these kids need to keep playing to try and get on a roll. hope HMP can find his way back soon.

  • hooosierdaddy01

    The flop is the only line of defense against someone like Shaq who always initiated the contact by backing a guy down. What is the defender supposed to do? They can’t stand their ground with an arm bar as he does that because they get the blocking call. It’s just silly how much offensive players sometimes get away with. Shaq and Barkley were two of the greatest examples of this.

    Go back and watch Kareem. He avoided contact with his sky hook. Lots of post players did.

    That’s also why guards used to have a mid-range game. Basketball players used to have skills and finesse, now it is just “bull (bowl?) your way to the basket” and get the call or the hoop, or both. Just crazy. And that is why there are more injuries today, too.

  • True enough, and in my opinion JBJ’s intensity helped feed the rest of the team. He was playing at an unusual level for him, and everyone else seemed to respond. Maybe I’m just keying on him because it was so good to see him playing that hard from the outset and throughout. Bodes well for the future.

  • On that note, we’ll miss HMP (and I can’t imagine he’ll be playing). But, I thought Holt stepped in and played some nice minutes.

  • I did notice that there was _nothing_ dirty about it. Olah seemed upset as well that he’d taken HMP down. So there’s that, anyways.

  • Oh, and please: can we just keep playing man-to-man as long as we’re playing for the rest of the year?

  • Ben thorne

    Really smooth a couple times…good to see. He aadds 30 lbs and bumps on defense then look out

  • Ben thorne

    Agreed. And getting his own rebounds? Awesome

  • InTheMtns

    Think of a kettle of water you place on the burner. It takes however many minutes it takes to come to a boil. No matter how many times you check it before the sufficient number of minutes, it still isn’t boiling. Then suddenly it is. It took us this long to get here, no matter how many times we wished for it these past 4 months. Now, we have to hope they keep the defense of the hot burner!

  • IUJeff

    Yes. This. JBJ mentioned that he is finally healthy. His energy was much better that I have seen this year from the highlights.

    I may have mistook him for not giving full effort or not buying in/respecting the coach/ program, when he may have just been nicked up all year.

    There was definitely something different about him tonight. Guess being healthy and that “lose and your season is over” thing is a good motivator.

  • Carl Aranilla

    Great play being under the gun… its on to Maryland. #fingerscrossed

  • IUJeff

    So in the box score, is Nate Ritchie really Collin Hartman?

  • eville87

    Gotta give it to them they defended tonight. Blackmon was on. Holt did a good job. Hate it for Perea. Kid has been through so much. Let’s see if we can beat Maryland again.

  • Zach

    It’s a no brainer IMO. They’re a perfect combo of tradition and style

  • Zach

    Great team win. We punched them in the mouth coming out of the gates and never let them recover. The effort was great defensively and especially on the boards which was the difference. JBJ was doing it all. RJ played great defense on Demps. Perea was playing awesome until he got hurt on a stupid flop that should have been a block call. Good sign with the no MRI but I can’t imagine the odds are great he can go tomorrow. If we’re smart, we’ll keep his injury report quiet until Sunday so there’s no chance it can affect our tourney chances. Not sure how big of a factor the committee takes it as but I’d rather not find out

  • Bryan

    As great as the start of the game was, I think I was more pleased with not coughing up the lead at the start of the second half.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Hope Hanner is ok. Good to see intensity on defense.

  • Penny Stryzek

    Great win. Only 8 turnovers. Good patience with passing the ball. Looking for the best shot. Hustling for missed shots. Good energy. GO IU!!

  • beppecolo

    Gotta say it…Best defense and rebounding I’ve seen IU produce this year. …once they gave up on the zone, that is.
    Pat on the back to Crean and coaching staff.
    Until last night I wasn’t thinking Yogi looked ready for the NBA, but maybe he is, maybe he is. Great handle and quickness and can hit the deep 3. Man, would hate to see him go. With incoming class (esp. if they get Bryant or another true center) and Yogi this team could go far next year.

  • N71

    Breaking news:

    Indiana State legislators are drafting a bill to make zone defenses illegal at any level the game of basketball is played within our borders. One lawmaker who wanted to remain anonymous was quoted saying, “you can trace zone defense back to a Kansas high school coach in the early 1900’s and its been festering ever sense. Its similar to the dink shot in tennis, polio, bed bugs, or Zima…we’re all better off without ’em.”

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Actually, those are three great examples of players who actually played defense the right way without making an art of flopping!

    I was actually thinking of players like Isaiah, Magic, MJ, James Worthy, the Flying Illini, etc.! Those guys drove the lane without fear of someone sliding under them and taking out their legs to try and take an imaginary charge call!

    Cardinal actually made an art of stepping in front of guys who were just harmlessly running down the floor, dragging them the ground, and picking up an offensive foul call! That’s not defense! It’s just an unathletic clown figuring out a way to skew the rules in his favor and it’s helped ruin the game.

    Here’s an idea: go back to the PUke blogs! I would’ve thought PUke was decent enough this year where you ToiletMaker fans wouldn’t be around trolling IU blogs, but I guess not! Next time you choose to attack someone’s opinion in here remember it’s an opinion D-bag and everyone’s entitled to one without having to listen to closet PUke fans like yourself!

  • KmanCRK

    Games like tonight prove that when guys are locked in on Defense and putting in max effort, the offense will come to life.

    Proud of the ways our guys brought it tonight.

    Crean mentioned giving the regulars extra time to rest this week. I think he’s maturing as a coach to realize at this point in the season making sure guys are rested is a must.

  • KmanCRK

    Also when they got it to 11, we put the pedal back down and quickly ran it back up to 18 I think.

  • KmanCRK

    Man to man is our better defense for the 1st half of a possession, but the zone is always best late in a possession. (sarcasm people)

  • Mandeville, R.

    I hate what happened to Hanner, but no one can deny that it was karma. Hanner is probably the biggest culprit of flopping on our team.

    And it still drives me crazy to see our starters playing when we are up 16 with 2 minutes left.

    After he puts some weight on and gets some more experience, Holt has a chance to be super annoying for teams to play against. The kind of guy that teams won’t gameplan for, but will average like 10-12 and 8 boards from the PF position.

  • KmanCRK

    JBJr came out and played possessed. He hasn’t played this complete of a game all year. I think this was a glimpse into the potential that this kid really possesses. It was really fun to watch.

  • KmanCRK

    Good news is that HMP only played 11 mins vs. Maryland all year. We can win without him. That’s not to mean we don’t need him, but I still like our chances. Praying for the big fella.

  • Looked like hypertension to me

  • KmanCRK

    Unfortunately you are absolutely correct. Officials just can’t seem to get this charge/blocking call right.

    I’d prefer to see a lot more no calls.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    Rec’d for even a fictional mention of outlawing Zima.

    … Yeah, it’s not produced anymore, I know. Outlaw the stuff anyway! 😉 😀

  • KmanCRK

    Ryan Phillips made a comment on twitter that the flop started with Duke in the 90s. Not sure if that’s true, but I seem to think of one Vlade Divack.

  • KmanCRK

    believe it might have been the knee cap again.

  • TomJameson

    My opinion is that if Olah just stood there with his arms straight up, it could very well have been a no-call. Partially because Johnson passed the ball instead of shooting it. But it was definitely a flop! Olah just leaned backward and dropped on his butt and hands. LOL If he was really moved by that much smaller guard, I think he would have fallen on his back. Bad call by the refs!

    I couldn’t believe that at one point in the second half NW had 4 fouls called on them and IU had 9. I know we were “fouling” Olaf, but wtf??

  • TomJameson

    I’d like to have a dollar for every time Mr. D. said “man-to-man” last night!

  • TomJameson

    For the rebounding we all need to personally thank Troy. He was a beast on the boards. I just wish he could have gotten 3 more points for a double-double.

  • pbhuff

    Unfortunately, it might just been gamesmanship to avoid the selection committee counting the loss of Hanner against us.

  • pbhuff

    While I’m happy with the increased defensive intensity, rebounding was biggest factor in the win and biggest thing missing in some of the recent losses. It was rebounding and not defense that has been the deciding factor in our quality wins this year.

  • Hoosierkamp

    We are in at 10-11 seed unless we get blown out….. which i dont think we will. 4 huge wins, 20 wins overall and 10 big ten wins should be enough. But I think we need to win this one to get to a better seeding.

  • Hoosierkamp

    agree 100% with you Sam

  • SCHoosier

    It was effective last night because there was “help” defense available and frankly because NW is the least athletic team i n the conference. That was the best D IU has played in a long while (altho coach wouldn’t admit it in his post game presser). Man match ups are tough for MD..especially Wells. Best thing about the man is that it allowed Yogi to guard on the perimter (shut down Demps) where he can disrupt offenses instead of wasting his time in the back line of a zone trying to guard 6-9 players…while opposing guards run their offense as they please.

  • SCHoosier

    Yea HMP will be missed. He was not all-conference by any means..but has been able to come up with 3-4 nice plays a game. He is a threat to block any shot taken around the rim. Won’t have those 3-4 plays if he’s out. Holt really played aggressively last night and they got him the ball. Need more of that.

  • bojak

    I always hate to see any kid get hurt regardless of which team they are on. Especially when it is a kid that has been hurt earlier in the season such as Hanner and Collin. At the same time, Indiana played some of its best basketball this season while Hanner was hurt. We will miss him some but this is not a drastic loss.

  • calbert40

    What made it worse is that it was a block that was incorrectly called a charge. It really wasn’t all that close either.

  • calbert40

    This time of year is just fantastic! You turn a game off at your own risk.

  • bojak

    Hmmmm, don’t get your hopes set to high.