The Minute After: Kennesaw State

  • 12/22/2015 9:13 pm in

Thoughts on a 99-72 win against the Owls:

This one was supposed to be a breeze.

But the Hoosiers don’t do breezy. They don’t do easy. They let wildly inferior offensive opponents like the Kennesaw State Owls, who entered the contest with the 333rd most efficient offensive in the country, score their most first half points of the season (38) and a season-best 1.08 points per possession.

Open 3-pointers. Open rim runs. Poor communication. Weak effort.

It is frustrating. It is confusing. It keeps happening.

But if this game and Indiana’s Saturday win against Notre Dame have taught us something, it’s that Tom Crean appears to be finding a way to adjust in the second half. More defensive-minded lineups are seeing the floor as James Blackmon Jr. rides the pine. It’s just enough to stop the bleeding, snatch momentum and seize victory.

Because in the end, the Hoosiers still won this game by 27 points — exactly Ken Pomeroy’s line on the contest.

Against Notre Dame, Indiana forced a shot clock violation in man defense and tightened up their zone after that for several possessions over the last five-plus minutes of the contest. Tonight against Kennesaw State, Indiana started its defensive march a little earlier.

The Owls were as close as seven (52-45) with 15:08 to play, but never got any closer the rest of the way. Juwan Morgan and Robert Johnson checked in for Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams a bit earlier at the 17:46 mark. They, along with Yogi Ferrell, Collin Hartman and Thomas Bryant went to work. They forced a shot clock violation. Morgan (one block, one steal, two points), in his best performance of the season, brought energy and used his length to bother the Owls.

Yes, Kennesaw State made some buckets during this stretch. But hat’s off to them. Because the Owls converted some tough shots they had to earn. Kennesaw State was fouling Indiana a ton at the other end and the Hoosiers were in the double bonus at the 11:02 mark. Indiana did a solid enough job there (22-of-31) to push the lead out to 12 (63-51) when Blackmon Jr. checked back in as Troy Williams hit a pair at the line.

Speaking of Williams, he’s another big part of these last two final 20 minutes. Against Notre Dame, his energy and play was an additional reason Indiana pulled out the game. No different tonight. On Indiana’s next possession after his two free throws, he dribbled in off the perimeter and dunked it home untouched. He then stole the ball on the other end and went into playmaking mode for Indiana, finding Hartman in the lane for two points. Williams then hit a 3-pointer on Indiana’s next possession and the blowout was pretty much on.

Williams scored 20 points (7-of-8), made a career-high three 3-pointers on four attempts, and dished out a career-high six assists. He had his standard four turnovers as well. But he was sensational for the above stretch and Good Troy beat out Bad Troy tonight.

Against a team without much height, Thomas Bryant had an efficient field day (8-of-9, 20 points). Freshman O.G. Anunoby also followed up his nice second half against Notre Dame with another good one against the Owls. Anunoby brought the proper effort and intensity on defense, had another offensive rebound putback and even splashed a 3-pointer late — looking smooth doing it. He and Morgan shared the floor for a stretch and that was cool to see, too.

Non-conference play is over and the Hoosiers finished it 10-3. It probably didn’t look the way we expected, but this team still sits at No. 25 on KenPom with the fifth most efficient offense in the country as they enter conference play.

Will they build on these last two defensive-minded final 20 minutes? That’s the question heading into conference play.

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  • justlikenebraskafootball

    no doubt Nick is a liability on defense, but at least he tries. i waivered on suggesting he starts and maybe we just roll with the freshmen. what we’re doing now is a disaster.

  • Koko

    They should play that song on the loud speakers during practice.

  • Koko

    It wouldn’t bother me at all if OG and JW started.
    Things seem more Indianaish when they are on the court.

  • Koko

    LOL….keep pushing man!

  • Koko

    It appears to me OG and JW were well coached defensively in high school. I know this sounds out there, but I think those two are key to a successful B10.

  • Koko

    How many of us see TW start tearing up the court and say….oh boy here we go….how is it gonna end?

  • Koko

    I can agree with your opinion of our play but starting 0-2 gives me the heebie jeebies.

  • Koko

    I love this team too. There is something about OG and JM that get me excited. I love it when they are on the court.

  • justlikenebraskafootball

    And I didn’t mean to leave out Max. I think his contribution and effort are significant…. I’m just looking ahead.

  • BL

    I could see JBJ coming off the bench. No way I sit Troy. In fact, I’d put more on his back and give Yogi less touches. If Crean stays on Troy about making good decisions (like he did at the end of the game), I believe we would see diminishing TO’s from Troy with more touches. Troy, unlike any other player, truly has the ability to change games in our favor. As Crean said postgame, success with Troy is when he learns to deliver on a consistent basis.

    If we want to see better D, play OG or Morgan at the 4. They have the foot speed and athleticism to provide weak side help and rim protection. No way I play CH and NZ together.

  • PreKnight

    This from 247 Sports: “Thon Maker plans to visit Arizona State, Indiana, Kansas and Notre Dame this winter, according to his guardian Ed Smith.

    Dates have not yet been set for the visits, but Smith expects them to occur between mid-January and the end of February.

    Maker might also unofficially visit St. John’s when his Toronto (Ont.) Athletic Institute team plays in New York City.

    The 7-foot Maker had a tremendous showing on Tuesday at the City
    of Palms Classic. In a 58-53 loss to Chattanooga (Tenn.) Hamilton
    Heights, Maker scored 31 points on 11-16 from the field, 3-6 from three
    and 6-7 from the line. He also had 11 rebounds and four steals.

    Maker is ranked No. 11 in the 247Sports Composite, and the Crystal Ball likes Arizona State’s chances at landing him.”

    I live in Tempe, AZ, but have not heard anything about him on any sports shows down here. Of course football is a much bigger deal than basketball in the state of Arizona. I guess that could change next year.

  • Koko

    I agree

  • mharv2631

    I called one of the TO’s with my wife sitting by me. She looks over at me and say’s How do you do it?

  • HoosierStuckInACCCountry

    I agree with you. Stay in front, move your feet, and don’t try and do to much. If TC sees the value, we’ll soon see. My bet is that he’ll continue to gamble on the offense being enough. I simply meant that TC’s coaching prowess is lacking (especially on defense).

  • MM

    Candy stripes are an IU tradition. No names on the back of the jerseys is an IU tradition. I’m the first to yell at the top of my lungs in AH, but I just can’t get myself to cheer loudly for a player on scholarship that is behind 2 walk-ons on the depth chart!

  • gm

    I think people are way too hard on Yogi. For chrissakes, he’s a good point guard and tries on D. He’s not the problem. Demetrius Jackson only had 9 pts, well below his average, and Yogi was on him the whole game. JBJ is, like everyone says, bad at D. He’s not quick moving laterally. Rojo is playing great D. Troy relies too much on his athletic ability at the expense of fundamentals, but there’s no way you don’t start him. I actually don’t think Thomas Bryant is very good at defense. Though tall, he’s not much of a leaper, so he’s not mich of a rim protector. He needs to move his feet and stop drives rather than trying to swat shots away. Nick is NOT the answer when in comes to D–way too slow. Hartman, too, is playing really slow on D.

  • gm

    Let’s talk about OG’s shorts for a minute. I could care less that he wants shorter shorts. Heck, maybe it’s time to bring those back. But he’s pinning them up on the sides to make them shorter, which is ridic. Just give the dude shorter shorts if he wants them!

  • wmsitz

    You all rag about JBJ but you overlook the lack of defensive effort and results by Yogi. If you take a look at the game last night we were not able to pull away until LBL was in the game and yogi went to the bench. I really like Yogi but he does not play a lick of defense and is beat by his man on drive after drive to the basket.. We play better when Johnson is running the club. Johnson also does a better job defensively than either Yogi or Blackman. It’s not a matter of JBJ or Yogi not playing defense it is a matter of the whole club not playing defense. We are largely deficient on the defensive end and will never win a championship of any kind until our coaching staff and players understand the defensive part of the game. You can not always out score the other team. there are times when you are going to win with defense. But obviously you won’t win those times if you don’t know how to play defense. One of the best example is the one time when we played effective D was the win over ND. We were not able to out score them until we stoped them from scoreing..

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83


  • He’s not better than bracey. Bracey could score against good teams and above-average defenses. Let’s not even start with the defensive side.

  • eville87

    It is now the state of iniana no d due to basket ball and football programs lack of knowledge on the letter. I also think if Collin had more minutes to find a rythm he might surprise you.

  • HoosierStuckInACCCountry

    I’m agreeing. I’m saying his defense is top 3 on the team. His offensive ability is enough to warrant him big minutes.