The Minute After: Northwestern

  • 02/25/2017 10:45 pm in

Thoughts on a 63-62 win over Northwestern:

Indiana looked finished. And the Assembly Hall faithful headed for the exits. The Hoosiers trailed Northwestern 62-55 with 1:33 to play. A sixth straight loss looked like a near certainty.

But Indiana kept plugging away.

Robert Johnson hit a layup with 1:17 to play. Then Johnson found James Blackmon Jr. for a 3-pointer with 38 seconds to go and the Hoosiers took a timeout to set up defensively.

On the ensuing possession, Bryant McIntosh missed a layup and Blackmon Jr. grabbed the rebound. The junior guard went the length of the floor and found Thomas Bryant underneath the basket with 2.6 seconds to play for a dunk and a foul on Scottie Lindsey. That tied the game for the Hoosiers. Northwestern took a timeout to try and ice Bryant.

But it didn’t work.

Bryant got a favorable bounce to lift Indiana to a 63-62 lead. And as McIntosh’s desperation heave at the buzzer missed, the comeback was complete. The losing streak is over.

This was a game of runs and one that Indiana was fortunate to win after how it began the second half.

The Hoosiers led 36-26 at halftime thanks to a 21-0 run over the final 5:30 of the first half. That run was capped off by a Devonte Green 70-foot shot at the buzzer that gave the crowd, which was quiet for a good part of the first half, a ton of energy.

But Northwestern didn’t go away easily.

The Wildcats reclaimed the lead on a pair of free throws by Vic Law at the 13:45 mark. And as the lead grew to eight with 3:11 to play, it looked as if Northwestern might win going away. But the Wildcats, who were looking to punch their NCAA tournament ticket with their 10th conference win, simply couldn’t finish off Indiana. The celebration in Evanston will have to wait.

Indiana wasn’t great offensively, but the Hoosiers were good enough. The Hoosiers splashed in 8 of their 24 attempts from deep and won despite a turnover percentage of 24.8. Northwestern turned 16 Hoosier mishaps into 16 points.

Defensively, Indiana limited Northwestern to .96 points per possession, just the fourth time the Hoosiers have held a Big Ten opponent under one point per trip this season.

Only two Indiana players finished in double figures as Blackmon Jr. finished with 13 points and Bryant added 11. Josh Newkirk and Juwan Morgan both added nine and Green, who was +19 in the first half, had eight. It was a balanced effort.

Johnson also deserves a mention for his play late as he scored or assisted on two of IU’s final three baskets.

It wasn’t pretty, but at this point, Indiana just needed a win.

Mired in a tailspin, it was fair to wonder if the Hoosiers would win again if they’d dropped this contest. Indiana is still probably looking at a Wednesday Big Ten tournament appearance, but another win, either at Purdue or Ohio State, could change that.

The postgame also brought a happy ending for one Hoosier as Collin Hartman gave a spirited senior night speech and then proposed to his girlfriend, who said yes at center court.

Up next? A trip to Purdue on Tuesday to face a Boilermaker team desperate for a win following a Saturday beatdown at Michigan. We’re hitting the stretch run of the 2016-17 season and while the Hoosiers aren’t making the NCAA tournament without a run in Washington D.C., Indiana’s losing streak is finally over.

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  • Ole Man

    Really enjoyed reading that. Wrapped the game for me perfectly, and I had watched. Might be your best write-up of the season. Thanks!

  • Ohio Hoosier

    Congratulations Collin,
    Found something better to spend your time on than basketball.
    Why have IU teams under CTC always had long offensive droughts during games?
    I also don’t understand opening the second half in a zone defense. Seems like
    it took IU’s momentum from the first half away in only two possessions.

  • iugradmark

    Something had to change to get a win. Looks like defense made the difference tonight.

  • pcantidote

    Glad the guys were able to get a win for CH. Also glad to see JBJ make a real smart pass on the last play rather than forcing up a shot. Obviously this win doesn’t change much regarding the story of this season, but the guys needed to experience this after so many tough losses.

    I am dying to know if anyone is going to really push CTC on what the hell Priller was doing in the game late.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Colin,,, way to go. You are a class act! Enjoy!

  • Nimbi63

    Last morning at Disney World, tried to talk the wife into attending the Atlanta Braves first spring training game, but had lunch and left at 2:30 to drive home (north of Atlanta) arriving in time to watch the last three minutes. There is something special about having Mickey Mouse and the Hoosiers in the same day.

  • Jonny McClain

    agree on priller – JBJ and Bryant set to come in with one minute left? It was pretty fitting for crean’s last regular season home game…

  • AndyCapp

    You musta gotten us some of Tinkerbell’s fairy dust! 😉

  • AndyCapp

    Re: Priller… Desperate times call for desperate measures? 😉

  • BMusic

    The Woodland Hills Rec Center Minor Coed Hoosiers beat the Bruins today to advance to the final four, and now this. Happy for my lil 10- and 11-year-old Hoosiers, happy for my real Hoosiers. Good day for the Cream and Crimson!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Colin Hartman becomes engaged, he has one more year of eligibility to play IU basketball, with a scholarship, his fiancee can work in Bloomington while he plays and can attend class, they can live in Bloomington together, ,,,why the hell wouldn’t he come back??? Why would anyone in his position want to leave IU??? I guess it must be so he can hurry up to work, be stressed out, pay taxes and deal with society outside of a college environment.

  • Nimbi63

    Perhaps that’s how Big Tim Priller got into the game?

  • EarlGreyTeaBag

    it’s hilarious to me that Bryant was the assist leader tonight

  • I really have no idea why Priller was in. I was watching on my tablet because the TV was occupied with something else, and of course BTN’s streaming is horrible and so I actually missed him playing live. On the replays I saw, though, he seemed to be making a real contribution while he was in.

  • IULore

    I dont think the long droughts are really a thing with crean teams, just seems that way as a fan

  • IULore

    Way to go Colin! And as coach pointed out, you can play one more year!

  • Fifer39

    Maybe his fiancé had some career aspirations too. But, yeah, staying in Btown isn’t the worst that could happen!

  • Fifer39

    Gave gave up on BTN online a while ago so couldn’t watch. Certainly sounds like a priller-thriller though!

  • Shaggy_C

    Love a 20+ run against a tourney team – that is extremely impressive, just like “the run” at Michigan last year. Great to see the team win the last home game this year and leave AH with some positive momentum. These guys certainly haven’t quit!

  • Shaggy_C

    I doubt a student athlete scholarship pays for off-campus housing, and Bloomington isn’t exactly the professional employment mecca of the Midwest. As much as the idea of eating dorm food for another year sounds appealing I have a feeling he’s ready to be making real money and enjoying the DINK lifestyle in a nice loft apartment somewhere like Indy or Chicago.

  • TomJameson

    All teams have scoring droughts. Basketball is a sport of scoring runs, and they all have them. I don’t understand the zone either, but not going to second-guess too much … not since they won. It may not make much difference to tourney bids, but it’s nice to have a win for senior night.

    And congrats to Collin. I think getting married might be a hint about his playing at IU next year, or not.

  • TomJameson

    I agree with that! The scoring droughts were aided and abetted by the ever-existing turnovers, but the defense seemed to step up when needed.

  • TomJameson

    It makes sense that Priller got to play in his last home game at IU. Those guys, coach and players, know a heck of a lot more than us fans. My guess is that we’ve seen Priller play his last home game.

    Crean was thanking him for being on the team.

  • TomJameson

    Set a lot of screens and got one rebound. Did what he was asked to do.

  • TomJameson

    It’s not like CH is going to go out and get a stressful job. Those are jobs, and not career-of-your-choice type situations. Collin has a couple of degrees, and will be able to go where he wants. He really has a bright future ahead of him in whatever fields he want. An enviable position, to be sure.

    He might not want to come back, get injured again, and be in the same position he is in right now. Pretty sure he is thinking through all his options, including the ones you point out.

  • TomJameson

    It’s not like CH is going to go out and get a stressful job. Those are jobs, and not career-of-your-choice type situations. Collin has a couple of degrees, and will be able to go where he wants. He really has a bright future ahead of him in whatever fields he want. An enviable position, to be sure.

    He might not want to come back, get injured again, and be in the same position he is in right now. Pretty sure he is thinking through all his options, including the ones you point out.

  • TomJameson

    While the scholarship guys don’t eat the dorm-type food, I really do agree with your take on this, Shaggy. If Collin is getting married, he’s looking for the next step in his life.

  • Larry Brown

    Yes I was absolutely shocked but then got to thinking that perhaps it will be his last game as a Hoosier? Graduating early or transferring? I’m sure coach would like to open up that scholarship

  • pcantidote

    That’s all good and well but I took it as throwing in the towel which is just unacceptable. Of course we won so my take on it seems foolish but I guarantee if we were contending for the B1G title, Priller never would have seen the floor in that situation.

  • pcantidote

    I can only understand that logic if it was also CTC’s last home game, and he knows it.

  • TomJameson

    I wouldn’t say your take seems foolish. I took it as a loyalty show to a faithful player – even if non-contributing on the floor.

    But you’re probably right, if the games mattered more than they do at this point, Tim might not have seen the floor.

  • pcantidote
  • SCHoosier

    Glad to see it..he got one rebound..guarded..and set multiple screens. TC needed a couple of minutes..I wouldn’t hesitate to put Tim in given how many TO’s the top 10 players have committed over the year.

  • Whew.

  • Wannamaker

    Indiana beats a fading Northwestern team, at home. By 1. And everyone goes wild. How times have changed under Crean.

    That’s a spoon o’ sugar for a year full of vinegar.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Hello Tom. I hope he comes back. Slim chance though.

  • TomJameson

    I agree with that. 🙂 Have a great day!

  • IdahoHoosier

    Shouldn’t be that funny! When IU goes into the paint to TB or DD, both guys are good passers and often lead to interior passes or kicking back out for a shot.