The Minute After: Iowa

  • 12/04/2017 10:44 pm in

Thoughts on a 77-64 win against the Hawkeyes:

Despite a reeling Iowa squad as the opponent at home this evening, the promise of Indiana’s Duke performance and the ensuing egg it laid up in Ann Arbor made for some uncertainty about how this one was going to go down.

It was a better start, for sure, as Indiana didn’t dig itself a hole like it had against Michigan. But it was a bit of an ugly affair as the Hoosiers and Hawkeyes slogged it out to a 20-20 tie with 6:25 remaining in the first half.

From there Indiana erupted, throwing down a 21-6 run to close out the half and enter the locker room up 15 points. The Hoosiers got contributions from a host of players on offense and clamped down on defense. Seven Hoosiers scored in the first half. Devonte Green (10 points) – who had the hot hand going like he can on occasion – led the way. Robert Johnson (seven points), Juwan Morgan (six points), De’Ron Davis (five points), Al Durham Jr. (five points), Collin Hartman (five points) and Josh Newkirk chipped in the rest.

But on a day the power reportedly went out inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Iowa snapped back to life after the break and quickly got back into the contest. As they did up in Ann Arbor, Indiana left shooters open beyond the 3-point arc and Iowa made the Hoosiers pay. Iowa sunk three 3-pointers over a quick 16-2 run in just under the first four minutes of the second half to pull within one point at 43-42. The Hawkeyes were the aggressor and playing with confidence.

But a little later, the pendulum swung back in a big way for the Hoosiers. A De’Ron Davis layup at the 12:52 mark put the Hoosiers up 55-50, a lead that eventually ballooned up to 21 points (71-50) after a Zack McRoberts bucket with 7:15 to go.

From there, Indiana pretty much rode it out to its 13-point victory, a three-game losing streak and falling below .500 averted.

Morgan has now scored double figures in five of Indiana’s last six contests and his double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) tonight marks his second of the season. The junior’s consistency over the last several contests in terms of both effort and stat-stuffing production has been a long time coming.

“I think you’re seeing a guy blossoming into one of the better players in our league,” Archie Miller said on the Big Ten Network broadcast after the game.

De’Ron Davis shot just 3-of-9 from the line tonight, banking one of those makes in as he airballed another attempt in the second half. Davis was a solid free throw shooter a season ago, but appears to be having some issues this season – though for now it’s not keeping him any less agressive on the offensive end (13 points, 5-of-11).

Despite some defense lapses, the Hoosiers still held Iowa to under a point per possession (.89). And their turnover percentage of 14 was quite good, helping them beat Iowa 22-10 in the points off turnovers department. The Hoosiers are now 81st in the country in turnover percentage (17.4) per KenPom. Indiana only finished in top 100 once by season’s end in the Tom Crean era (2014-2015, 61st, 17.2 percent).

It wasn’t the prettiest win and the start of the second half was a little concerning, but in the end the Hoosiers still won by 13. With tough games ahead against Louisville and Notre Dame, they’ll surely take it.

Filed to:

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Aggressive guard play = better IU …. JN/RJ/DG/AD were aggressive ….

  • iubase

    Improvement and resiliency. Hartman and Morgan were key. Overall still some work to do but a step in the right direction. Would Love to see DD hit more foul shots. Look forward to seeing this team continue to improve. They are starting to personify the toughness Archie exudes

  • IU4me

    Thx for the tip! Good to see these guys are having fun.

  • INUnivHoosier2

    DD does a good job drawing contact. He really needs to improve his FT. Will be a game changer some nights.

  • Hoosierkamp

    One thing that changed second half. Rojo took over that kid with the hot hand….. game over

  • Ole Man

    Actually, for me it was the best IU win this season. Just my humble opinion.
    Two great runs — 14 and 18 points respectively — waking up from and learning they can’t sit on a big lead — blowing out a decent Iowa team through hustle and a pretty good D effort — most fun I’ve had watching a game this season.
    Great stat Ryan pointed out on TOs, particularly if the trend continues.
    This season and many games are going to be roller coaster rides.
    Strap in, hang on, know what you’re in for, let most of the “bumps” go, and enjoy the ride!
    Edit: love watching RJ play D this season. He brings it!

  • VAHoosier

    Yeah, when Ellingson got hot and scored 10 or 12 straight points, Archie subbed in Rob to guard him. Ellingson got exactly one more FG, a crazy tough runner with Rob all up in his grill.

  • sarge

    He can be a great leader with his hustle and play making. He has some intangibles.

  • sarge

    It was an awesome win, definitely our best. I am starting to see red!

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    And a lot of his shots looked good–just didn’t fall. It’s great that the team can win even when he doesn’t pour in 16 points.

    I think he’ll be there a few times when he’s needed. Might not be a couple other times, but like you said–he contributes in other ways. 7 rebounds tonight?! Yes, please.

  • jayrig5

    After the banked FT, I was honestly excited for a moment thinking he’d decided to just bank them all going forward. Was disabused of that excitement quickly.

    Hopefully DD figures it out, or tries something outside the box, because he’s going to get to the foul line often.

  • Ivan Renko

    I was very concerned about Rob after the first few games… so I will eat my words and stand corrected.

    He is vital to the team right now, and his defensive ability has been astounding

  • Granny style is they key. Opposing fans will laugh, but it’ll be way more effective for him.

  • Ms hoosier

    DG made some tough shots at a time when they were much needed!! He seems to be a guy that can make a tough shot much better than he can a easy shot. Great win for the team!! Let’s beat Louisville!!

  • sd chuck

    Really refreshing to see a player like JM play within himself and do all the things that he does. I remember an interview at the derby classic when he was asked what his role would be, and he said, do the garbage stuff, rebound, set picks, come up with loose balls. Today he still pretty much plays like that! Most kids want the ball! Now! Good job JM, his hustle and desire is driving this team!

  • Arch Puddington

    I think it was Ellingson who was starting to yap a bit when he got hot. RJ not only kept his points off the board, he shut down the attitude that got Iowa back in the game.

  • Arch Puddington

    I don’t think he is unsung at all. Certainly there were those, including me, who thought that after a shaky end to last season and a shaky start to this one that perhaps he just wasn’t going to step up. But for the most part he has done just that, and I think it is widely acknowledged that he has played at a high level for all but one of the last several games. Like the rest of the team he has to step up on the road — 6 points and 3 TO’s against Michigan was not so great — but short of that I think he has answered any questions, and I think he is widely acknowledged for what he has done.

  • millzy32

    I’d love to see Justin Smith play with more aggressiveness. He’s got all the talent in the world. Durham is passing him up with his aggressive play. Who thought Al Durham would be the stud in this year’s class? Not me. He’s playing great.

  • Jethro Jones

    he can beat anyone off the dribble

  • Oldman

    It looked like there were holes in the Iowa zone and man to man just made for RJ to drive but did not see him or the other guards penetrate as I thought they would???? did the Iowa length hold them back????

  • HoosierMumma

    I really don’t understand his free throw struggles. I don’t know if it’s getting used to the added strength or getting used to shooting while fatigued or just mental, but he shot 70%+ last year, including in some pretty key moments, and I think he shot well from the line in high school as well. And it’s not like he’s even close to making them a lot of the time. But when Iowa went on a run we were exchanging 1 point for 3 points because of struggles at the line, and that has happened multiple times this year.

  • TomJameson

    The only problem with Al is that his play has been dropping off (in all areas) as IU has faced tougher teams. That could be because other teams know who he is now, or it could be the stiffer competition is harder to play against. I think Al will pick it up again. IMO, this little “slump” is him adjusting to the better competition, and he’ll make his “comeback”.

  • VAHoosier

    Yes, that was Ellingson. It was directly after that very difficult runner. He didn’t score again, if I recall. Incidentally, my favorite moment in the game came a few minutes after that, when Hartman hit a 3 in transition from the right wing, and Ellingson hung his head in dejection. Quite a contrast from his yapping…

  • INUnivHoosier2

    I assume it is his change in strength/conditioning. His body has changed incredibly, and it will take time for his shot to catch up. And to complicate matters, he is still getting stronger.

    His vertical, deadlift, and max bench all increased substantially. He’s got more leg, core, and arm strength, and based on reporting, he’s still not done.

    It’s going to take time getting used to his new body. Which is a great problem to have.

  • RonMlarkey

    Al has been playing well, I don’t think anyone would describe him as being in a “slump”.

  • Fan

    No slump just adjustments and familiarity with teammates

  • RonMlarkey

    He and Curtis Jones clearly have the same person teaching them how to shoot.

  • Ole Man

    When I’m wrong, well I am wrong!
    But when I’m right…. LOL!
    (Taking a bow.)

  • TomJameson

    Turnovers up … Points down … assists down …. free throw opportunities down … Al’s stats are down almost all around.

    Don’t anybody get me wrong here, I’m just stating some facts, but I absolutely am a huge fan of Al Durham. I think he’ll get acclimated to the speed, skillsets, and physicality of the better competition, and then he’ll be back to his normal self. And yeah, 3 games of all his stats “down”, I would call that a slump. May be reasonable considering the competition, but still a slump.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    I love it when Rob’s shot is failling. Seems like there have been many games in the past where he was the man. I think he’s still adjusting to the new system and his elevated responsibility – mental and physical, and will eventually emerge better than he was last year…

  • Vernon Aldrich

    Right. I think De’Ron went 5-for-5 from the stripe once early this year didn’t he? I’m hoping he gets through it, whatever it is that’s giving him difficulties. I’m still giving the team much slack in competence at this point because they are all learning an entirely new system (physical and mental) and a 100% confidence level – and therefore less error-prone play – can’t come without several more games under their belts…

  • Vernon Aldrich

    They seemed to work the ball much faster…

  • Vernon Aldrich

    I call it learning and adapting….IU’s gonna be a different team in about 6 more games.

  • Outoftheloop

    IU is now down to 4 guards with Curtis gone. If we play 3 guards for 50% of the time, that is 2.5×40=100 minutes/4=25 minutes each. I like this. Play hard, hit 75%+ on FT, 50%+ on FG, 40%+ on 3’s, 3/1 Assists/TO, go for it! You can each be great!

  • Outoftheloop

    I made the mistake of looking at the Box Score before watching my tape of the real game. Robert Johnson just showed how a kid that was 2/9 and 1/6 from 3 range could play a great game! Way to go Rob! Now hit 5/9 and 3/6 and keep up the great D and team play!