Notebook: Hoosiers show growth in loss to No. 1 Duke

  • 11/30/2017 8:24 am in

For 36 minutes, Indiana went punch-for-punch with the nation’s best team. In the end, the firepower and superior talent of No. 1 Duke proved too much as the Hoosiers fell, 91-81.

With several days to prepare a gameplan, Archie Miller had his Hoosiers (4-3) ready for a battle. The final score doesn’t reflect how close the game was.

Indiana, facing a fatigued Duke team at the backside of a nine games in 20 days stretch, pushed the Blue Devils (9-0) to the limit. The first half was a fast paced, back and forth affair featuring 11 ties and 10 lead changes.

“I thought we really competed,” Archie Miller said after the loss. “I thought we really battled. It was tough for us at times in and around the basket just due to the lack of size and depth. But at the same time, I thought we did some really good things as well, especially in transition, and some offense where we were able to really be right there with them step for step.”

Even when Duke built a 10-point lead early in the second half, Indiana was never rattled, going on a 21-7 run to take a four-point lead at the under-12 timeout.

But the Blue Devils, starting four five-star freshmen and a five-star senior, outplayed the Hoosiers when it mattered most. An Indiana team that was patient suddenly began to make ill-advised decisions and unforced mistakes, and Duke took advantage.

” I thought they made us play one-on-one a little bit too much, but that’s what they’re able to do with their length and size,” Miller said. “They switch. They deny. They don’t give you the normal catches there late in the game and weren’t able to convert.”

Still, Indiana, with a raucous crowd of over 17,000 behind them, proved to be a more formidable foe than many had thought.

“(Indiana) plays as one,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game. “They make you move on defense, it’s a well-constructed offense. Then when (De’Ron) Davis is playing like that, that takes them up another level.”

Sophomore De’Ron Davis was plagued with foul trouble in the opening half, playing just five minutes because of two early personals. As a result, Indiana had to rely on a variety of lineups featuring Juwan Morgan, Freddie McSwain and Collin Hartman.

“Collin, in particular, you’re starting to see him get back to form and how important he can be for this team,” Miller said. “Juwan and Freddie have been doing it together here for four or five games, giving us good effort. And I thought just for the most part those guys are fine right now. They’re confident.”

In the second, Davis stayed out of foul trouble and wreaked havoc in the paint. At times, the sophomore seemed almost unguardable, bullying Duke’s star freshmen Wendell Carter and Marvin Bagley and scoring 12 points in 16 second-half minutes.

Grayson Allen comes up clutch

At availability on Tuesday, Archie Miller called Grayson Allen the leader that Duke can “count on in big moments in road venues.”

Thirty hours later, Miller was proven right. In the last four minutes of the game, Allen was the difference maker, scoring five points and adding an assist over the final 3:57, turning a one-point lead into a 10-point win.

“Grayson is a great player, and he understands the tradition of Indiana and how much the people here love basketball,” Krzyzewski said. “He appreciated the cheers he got tonight.”

Throughout Allen’s 21-point night, the student section did all they could to rattle the senior, chanting profanities and booing him when he touched the ball. Allen seemed to bask in the hatred, using it to fuel his game.

“I’ve always wanted to play here. It’s an amazing, historic place,” Allen said. “Their crowd was incredible. They really brought it. They were loud from start to finish.”

Free throw frustration

Indiana’s season-long struggle at the charity stripe continued on Wednesday, costing them a chance at a resume-building win.

The Hoosiers had success drawing fouls as Duke committed 22 of them with Carter fouling out. But Indiana failed to capitalize.

Of Indiana’s 26 free throw attempts, only 16 found the bottom of the net. That equates to 62 percent, three percentage points lower than their season average.

It wasn’t just the volume of the misses either, it was the timing. Six of the 10 misses came in the final 14 minutes, and four of those were with under five minutes to play.

“Towards the last part of the game, we started getting fouled more, and that’s on us to hit our free throws,” said Davis, who connected on 4-of-9 free throws. “Although we didn’t match bucket for bucket we were getting fouled. We knock down our free throws, we’re right there.”

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  • Sarasota Hoosier

    I believe this is the most talented team Duke has ever had. Coach Miller had a tremendous game plan, and if not for Davis’ second stupid foul, we could have had a lead at halftime, which would have changed the game dynamics. The real question is can we bring it on the road at Michigan in front of a hostile crowd. While Seton Hall was kind of an away game, playing Michigan will be the first true hostile away game. It will be very interesting to see how Coach Miller uses the Duke game to build up player confidence and prove they can compete and beat any team in the country if they continue to buy into his system.
    Johnson’s shot is off a little, and Hartman will be even more effective as he rounds into shape and can play against opponents not as physically talented as Duke. Hartman may be the smartest basketball savvy player in IU history!
    Go HOOSIERS!!!

  • Outoftheloop

    Seton Hall was a true road game against a true top 20 team. Seton Hall is much better than MI! After MSU and MN the B1G is not great!

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i’ll never call a loss a ‘moral victory’, especially a game that was well within our grasp. but tons of respect for the effort our guys put forth last night. they played tough, and they played with poise.

    so impressed with D’RD. i worried that their bigs were going to shut him down offensively. so yeah, i was pleasantly surprised to watch him move them around wherever the heck he wanted. i knew he was strong, but i absolutely didn’t give him enough credit. the ft’s and silly fouls can be fixed!

    also much respect to JM, the toughest dude on the team. their front court was effective, but he went toe to to with em and didn’t back down. 14pts, 6rebs, 2blk, 2stl doesn’t begin to tell the whole story.

  • Ole Man

    Loop — Mich is the classic trap game; only 2 days to prep; season opener at home for Mich; natural letdown after the Duke game by IU.
    If we keep it under 10 I’ll be surprised.

  • AndyCapp

    Even CTC could get the boys playing out of their minds for a game (and then subsequently fall back to his usual one-dimensional coaching style and look completely lost). If CAM can keep building week-to-week, improve the problem areas, and steal a couple of B1G games on the road, I am going to hold true to my convictions that we will end up 4-5 in the B1G (may have to concede though that my pre-season W/L record was probably optimistic) and that we will be tourney-ready come March. We’re all for you Hoosiers!

  • IU_Nation

    Random thought on De’Ron… If he can develop a mid range jumper he may be one of the best scorers in college basketball in a year or two. He is one of the best post scorers we’ve ever had. I honestly think nobody in the country can guard him one on one down low. If he can draw his defender away and make defenses respect a jump shot then he becomes even better. His only problem… He needs to stay out of foul trouble!!! He can’t pull a TB and get 2 fouls in the first 2 mins of every big game and then has to sit for a while.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    If IU splits the 1st 2 games, it’s a reasonable start

  • Darrell Allen

    Enjoyed the game, but can only imagine what the final score may have been if Johnson & Newkirk could consistently hit open 3s and Davis could consistently make free throws! I would have liked to have seen Hartman replace RJ in the second half when it became apparent that he had lost confidence in his 3-pt shooting! Overall, very optimistic looking forward with the return of Colin & the maturation of our freshmen!

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    no doubt whatsoever, CH’s presence was felt last night. they’re a noticeably better team when he plays.

    i’m not sure what’s going on with rojo, but it sure looks to me like he just doesn’t have a lot of confidence in his shot. and looks to me like his form is a bit off, maybe because of the confidence factor. kinda like he’s not fully squared up, and his release looks a little different each time he shoots. then again, what the heck do i know! i just hope he gets it fixed.

  • Whohadthelastperfctseason?

    Like some other commenters on ITH, I don’t like to claim “moral victories,” but still I was initially over the moon with IU’s compete level last night. However, after hearing that Duke had little to no time to prepare for IU and were “exhausted” at the end of a 9-game-in-20-days stretch (see Coach K postgame interview), my enthusiasm and expectations going forward were somewhat tempered.

  • david r

    Gotta love our passionate fans “inside the hall”. That, my friends, is one helluva recruiting tool. Gotta think potential recruits saw it, and want to be a part of that scene. Thank you to our passionate student body, and all in attendance.

  • calbert40

    College basketball is results based. I get that, but I don’t understand the thinking that “moral victories” are worthless and a seeming slight on what we should expect as fans of Indiana basketball.

    Less than three weeks ago, this team got throttled handily by Indiana State in this same gym. More recently than that game, this team was tested by the mighty #341 KenPom 0-7 Howard Bison on the same floor. Neither of those teams are within 30 points of Duke on a normal night. Duke has already beaten MSU, UF and Texas, and have one of the best fronctourts I’ve seen in a few years.

    I hope that I will be forgiven for counting this game as a “moral victory.” Those players and coaches should be proud of how they performed.

  • Ivan Renko

    can’t fault Jordan Tucker for crossing IU off his list and committing to Duke once TC got fired… but I bet he was sitting at the end of the Duke bench last night mulling over his decision again in his head after getting 0 PT and seeing our fans at full force haha! (being halfway sarcastic. i wish Jordan Tucker the best)

  • Ivan Renko

    and consistency with free throws! 4/9 last night from the stripe for DD hurt us way too much. I know he was gassed down the stretch, but it’s a different game if he sinks a couple more.

  • IU_Nation

    That too 🙂

  • VAHoosier

    Hartman in for Johnson would have been a defensive nightmare for any extended period. I am dissapointed, too, that Johnson’s shooting has dipped. But his defense has been terrific and much needed, and he did a great job on G. Allen. Not to mention that Johnson was consistently getting to the rim and either finishing or drawing fouls. I thought he played a great game.

  • Ivan Renko

    Seton Hall was only a true road game in the sense that it was not played at Assembly Hall.

    I was at the game, it was a neutral court experience/crowd at best. The arena closed off the entire upper level and the student section was small and isolated behind one of the baskets. there were probably just as many IU fans there as SH fans given IU’s huge alumni base out here in NYC!

  • Arch Puddington

    I’m with you 100%. The whole “there’s no such thing as a moral victory” meme is for absolutists. For established teams with enough talent and experience to be expected to compete at that level, “close” isn’t good enough. But for a team coming off a disastrous season and then opened this season with one of the worst losses in program history, hanging with the #1 team in the nation for 35 minutes is certainly a victory. Psychology and confidence matter in sports, and had the Hoosiers been beaten as badly as I feared they might be, it might have hardened an image of themselves left over from last year and extending through the s*** show they put on against ISU. But instead, it serves as yet another clear marker of progress, and as an indication that they can absolutely compete for an NCAA bid.

    So while we didn’t win on the scoreboard, last night was a huge victory against the malaise and defeatism that had set in to this program some time ago. I’d take last night’s loss over the shaky victory over Howard any day.

  • Arch Puddington

    He really showed me something last night. We knew he had some killer post moves, but could he execute against elite talent? Did he have enough dog in him to compete at a high level under intimidating circumstances?

    Yes, and yes. His second foul nearly drove me out of my chair — slapping at the ball 25 feet from the basket should simply not be part of his game — but otherwise he really asserted himself against the next #1 pick in the draft. As you say, he’s got to keep the fouls under control, and as Ivan says, he’s got to make more like 7 out of 9 to be truly great, but if he gets those things under control he could be monster.

  • calbert40

    Completely agree, and I think you stated it better than I did. I know that “this is Indiana,” but can we ignore pride for a second and be reasonable? Three weeks ago, this same team lost by 30 to ISU in The Hall. Now, they are taking a legitimate national title contender down to the wire. How can any of us be anything other than thrilled with how much this team has improved in 21 days?

  • randy

    I’m sure they were tired, but I’m also sure they would rather play than practice. I know it is a legitimate excuse, but I remember as a player (and I often played the entire game at point guard) being much more fresh after a game than after the exhausting and grueling practices. Although, my team didn’t have to travel from the east coast to the west and back.

    As for being prepared…yes, Indiana had a couple days of practices and focused on Duke. I realize there is legitimacy to their excuse, but I think Duke’s schedule thus far should have prepared them better than Indiana’s schedule had prepared them.

    Either way, IU took care of the ball and played up to Duke. Some credit needs to be given to IU. It wasn’t only a matter of players being winded and tired…two teams came to play. IU couldn’t hit free throws or three-pointers. If they had, then this game might not have even been close.

  • Fifer39

    I will disagree. A disbelief in ‘moral victories’ is not for absolutists but simply for those that measure success in points for and points against. Plenty of positives to take out of the game, absolutely, and it’s fine to measure progress in terms of margins of defeat – and in that regard this was great progress. But I have always abhorred the use of the phrase moral victory which implies a satisfaction with the outcome.

  • inCMitrust

    I made this comment in the at the buzzer thread. Look at post game video of Rojo and DD and tell me they don’t look pumped up and confident. Some times you learn more in a loss than a win. It looked like they know they can be a good team. Moral victory, learning experience, confidence builder or whatever; but this was more than a baby step. They have improved and they know it.

  • Arch Puddington

    Well, then you’ll have to find me abhorrent, because I am certainly satisfied with last night’s outcome. Now, Michigan State should not be satisfied with their loss to Duke, because they are at different place than we are. And the time will come soon — hopefully very soon — when I won’t be satisfied with this kind of loss, either. But as I said, coming from where we have been of late, I call it a victory for sure.

    As for absolutism, “victory” as you define it — either you outscore your opponents or you don’t — is about as absolute as it gets. My definition is not only broader than that, it is contextual. Like I said above, what counts as a victory for the Hoosiers now would not count as one later on when we have different expectations based on (hopefully) a better record of success. I would point out that by your defintiion, ANY game in which we win on the scoreboard should be “satisfying”, whereas for me it is entirely possible to win on the scoreboard and still disappoint. How we play, what the opponent is like, and other contextual matteres van sometimes undermine a victory just as they sometimes elevate a loss. I hope we reach a point at which we are so consistently good that these nuances takes aren’t so important, but at lead for me we are not at that point. I really was more satisfied with the loss to Duke than with the win over Howard.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Excellently put.

  • Fifer39

    Well I certainly wasn’t implying any personal criticism which I think you probably know. My point is about the term ‘moral victory’. ‘Moral’ is about the principles of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. I’m not sure how we apply that in a basketball context. All contests are contextual and I’m probably as happy and excited about last nights performance as you. We significantly outperformed expectations in many aspects. But a ‘moral victory’ or any other kind of victory, it was not. Call me absolutist, but in my world we win or we lose. Sometimes lose by less than we expect to and we can take many positives for future from that, but we still lose.

  • cbags05

    Yeah, because every player wants their fans to curse out opposing players. We’ve got to stop that. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if that turned Romeo off.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Goodness, suggest a different term to use then. If the terminology is the only thing you take issue with, let’s find something else to say. But I’m glad you were pleased with last night’s game. IU outperformed all realistic expectations. Still plenty of things to improve on but what a good game!

  • Fifer39

    Best game I’ve watched this year.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Loss is accurate, but too factual. People use “moral victory” in an attempt to give the loss some context and a story. Yes, we get it was a loss, but it wasn’t the same KIND of loss as getting thumped by ISU in a lethargic performance.

  • Arch Puddington

    I took no personal criticism, my “you’ll have to find me abhorrent” line was meant as a joke. (Clearly, not a good one).

    Beyond that, though, I guess it’s just a matter of semantics. To me the term “moral victory” is broad, and does not require either victory or morality in their literal senses. It is more like a figure of speech or an idiom. It means that even though you fail to meet your primary goal in some endeavor, you accomplish something else of genuine significance. If for you it is a more literal term, then yes, that is absolutist (or at least literalist). The only reason any of this is worth debating is that some people — not you — use “no moral victories” with a kind of moral superiority, as though they have higher standards than those who “accept defeat”. No one here is “accepting defeat”, but some of us understand where we are, and accept that there are meaningful markers of progress along the way to where we’d like to be.

  • Fifer39

    OK, despite your bad jokes, I probably agree with 99% of what you’re saying 🙂 I guess I just don’t think ‘victory’ lends itself to anything other than a literal interpretation. Anyway, back to basketball and let’s hope we take my positives, and your moral victory, on to Michigan!

  • Fifer39

    I agree.

  • Doug Wilson

    “Moral Victory”? Absolutely! Players stay 1-4 years, fans stay “Forever”! These guys just went toe to toe with a Duke team that has a great shot at going undefeated. I don’t see how the team doesn’t grow from this game. Our Hoosiers are believing in themselves. And there is not one reason to believe that IU can not find the wins to get into the NCAA tournament. If IU doesn’t, it will not be due to collapse in effort. These years addition Hoosiers are here to fight, Just like their coach. A well prepared game by Archie and staff. Thanks for a great game IU.

  • Larry Brown

    He’s got the footwork of Tim Duncan. Hope he built confidence last night

  • Fifer39

    Good post. I think I’m seeing more effort on defense even if it’s not showing in the efficiency stats yet. On offense, while we’re not as explosive in transition as we (sometimes) were, we’re making improvements in the half court, in playing through the paint and in navigating a zone defense.

    All of this is necessary in the long term and I’m happy with where we are and where we’re headed. But I’m with you on hating the losses.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Defense was still bad ppp.. Offense showed some good signs.. no moral victories at IU.

  • MrNobody

    I’ll take CH 5TH year over Tucker at this point if that’s what it would have come to. But understand what you are implying. Liked Grayson said he always wanted play here. Not the same at Vandy……

  • Mike Blair

    really enjoyed watching rob johnson ……best game he has had in awhile.

  • calbert40

    You basically stated that you agree with the idea, but just hate the term.

    But to put a point on it, yes, I was happy with the outcome. Was I overjoyed? No, we lost, but I was happy with how they played.

  • Whohadthelastperfctseason?

    I hope you’re right that Duke’s play was not impacted appreciably by fatigue or shortage of preparation time. That would increase the value of last night’s game as a measuring stick for IU’s performance and progression since the start of the season.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Been working major hours so missed all of the past weeks posts and articles, but my nickel(5cents) are….

    This up until the 4 minute mark was maybe the best I U has played in longer than I can remember. Minus the outcome maybe better than UK in 2011. Don’t believe me, look at Dukes roster. They have at least 8 guys recruited in the top 25. They have a handful of players all as tall or taller than our tallest player. Can’t think of a more talented team we may have EVER played.

  • Tenacious Newt

    You go with what you got. Archaphrasing here, but I don’t expect us to lose at home when we score 80 again either. And as what’s been learned in, winning in Crisler was never the problem yeah?

  • kaponya44

    I’m fairly certain he was referring to the ” **** you, Grayson” – chant.

    Knight would’ve taken the PA mic from Chuck Crabb, so the Puke coach called it correct.

  • I think this whole “moral victory” thing is just generally overblown. Nobody should be happy we lost, but we can all be happy with the improvement we’re seeing. Those two things simply aren’t mutually exclusive, and I don’t get the insistence on debating whether or not “moral victories” have merit.

  • Banned on the Run

    Yeah, I’m not so sure I want a coach who feels the need to grab the PA mic and chastise the student section.

  • Banned on the Run

    Plus, we’re playing the long game here. Scoring more points than Duke is desirable, yes, but big picture, we want to see these guys buying in, fighting, finding their identity and following their coach’s game plan. We want to believe that they can get into the dance in March and make us proud. By that meter, Wednesday was a really good night.

  • Fifer39

    Fair enough, I wasn’t happy with the outcome. I think that’s the difference. If you watch Archies presser, I don’t think he’s happy with the outcome. He makes the point that it was the abc things that cost us – not the lack of effort, or competing inside or all the other great things we did – and that’s why I’m not happy with the outcome or will accept it was a moral victory. But really good progress and we are heading in the right direction for sure.

  • david r

    Yeah, I heard about it, and it really peeves me as well. But, Archie will address it I believe. As for Romeo, the chance that the bad chant affects his decision is 0%. He’s not an impressionable 9 year old.

  • Doug Wilson

    Duke starts 5 future NBA players. And Z wants to complain about 9 games in 20 days. No excuses. Indiana traded punches for 38 minutes. And Indiana did that with 10 kids who will fight for playing time in the NBA. Couch Z, ya Duke program was just put on notice by Archie. Proudly sponsored by Hoosier Nation and the ‘Miller Time’ branch, Bloomington, INDIANA. Coming your way in Nort Cackalackee.