Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Notre Dame

  • 12/16/2017 7:06 pm in

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana pulled out its first marquee win of the Archie Miller era on Saturday afternoon as the Hoosiers beat Notre Dame in overtime, 80-77, in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Hoosiers improved to 6-5 on the season with the victory. Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Fighting Irish:

· Juwan Morgan was dominant: Bonzie Colson is a legitimate national player of the year candidate who is deserving of all of the praise he receives. And he was terrific on Saturday as he finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds in 43 minutes.

But Juwan Morgan was even better in IU’s win.

Morgan, who has been the best and most consistent player on the roster all season, was unstoppable against the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame had no answer for Morgan early, as he scored eight of IU’s first 10 points.

He was even better in the second half and overtime as he scored 22 of Indiana’s final 27 points on his way to a career-high 34 points. Morgan did it efficiently as he shot 13-of-17 from the field and 8-of-11 from the free throw line. He also had 11 rebounds in 40 minutes.

Morgan hasn’t tried to force anything offensively, but Indiana made an effort to get him the ball down the stretch and he delivered.

“Every day in practice, (I’m) bringing it as hard as I can and just showing everybody, ‘this is how we have to play in order to get these wins,'” Morgan said postgame. “And then just everybody on the team follows suit.”

· McRoberts shows he’s a “winner” in 31 minutes: The minutes for walk-on Zach McRoberts have been on the rise.

The redshirt junior isn’t much of a threat offensively, but he’s bringing enough in other facets of the game to warrant increased playing time. After logging a season-high 15 minutes in last Saturday’s loss at Louisville, McRoberts came up with seven offensive rebounds in 31 minutes in Saturday’s win.

And no rebound was bigger than his offensive board on a missed Morgan free throw with 11 seconds left in overtime. After securing the rebound, McRoberts passed to Morgan for the go ahead basket with eight seconds to go. It was one of three assists for the Carmel product.

“Tremendous effort all game long,” Archie Miller said. “Playing really, really hard. He’s an important piece to what we’re doing right now. Like I said, you don’t have to score a lot of points to be a terrific teammate, to impact the game.”

· Johnson breaks out of shooting slump: Early on, it looked like Indiana would again struggle to score from the perimeter.

The Hoosiers started out 0-for-7 on 3s, but a Robert Johnson make from deep at the 8:43 mark of the first half was a turning point.

After the Johnson make, Indiana was 7-of-13 on 3s the rest of the way. The Richmond (Va.) native finished 6-of-13 from the field, including 5-of-10 from distance. He finished with 20 points in a team-high 43 minutes.

“I just wanted to stay aggressive,” he said. “I was getting good looks in the first half, and that was one of the things we discussed, just trying to get good shots. If you get those, you’ll eventually knock them down.”

· This win salvages a disappointing stretch: Indiana played well against Duke and was in the game late against Louisville, but as the Hoosiers trailed multiple times by double digits, they appeared destined for their fourth loss in five games.

But Indiana never stopped battling, despite being down by eight with just over two minutes in regulation. For a team that hasn’t had great success so far in terms of wins and losses, Saturday’s win was important because it’s further proof that improvement is being made.

“We’ve been hanging tough here the last couple of weeks and just haven’t had the ability to find a way to win,” Miller said. “I thought today’s effort was outstanding. A lot of guys stepped up and made some tremendous plays on both ends of the floor. It was a team win against a really good team.”

· Turnovers nearly prove costly: If there was one team stat that was disappointing in the win, it was Indiana’s turnovers.

The Hoosiers had 16 turnovers that turned into 21 points for Notre Dame. IU’s turnover percentage was 21.9, marking the first time it has won a game with a turnover percentage higher than 20.

Indiana was able to overcome the mistakes because it shot 57 percent from the floor in the second half, including 50 percent on 3s. The Hoosiers also took 22 free throws in the second half and overtime. IU’s free throw rate of 45.5 percent was the highest Notre Dame has surrendered this season.

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  • iubase

    Excellent effort by 3 players. Juwan was a stud. McRoberts was solid and RJ came out big despite some TOs

  • Ole Man

    True that those three played remarkable basketball.
    However, this was truly a team effort and a team win all the way around.
    DG played some quality defense today and hit a big 3 when it counted.
    Al played bad in the first half, shook it off and gave IU solid minutes in the second half.
    DD had no O game today but kept on playing D and hustling all game.
    And right down the list.

  • Paul Talbott

    It was nice to see RJ break out of his slump and go 5-10 on 3’s. We are really going to need him as no one else has yet to show any consistency from long range.

  • iubase

    Agree. However I think these three personify Archie’s grit. I suspect we will see more players like these in the yrs to come.

  • Speed

    Indeed this was a team victory including a great job by Coach Miller! Originally I thought if we won half our games we would be lucky but this team is improving and I have hopes that they will prove me wrong. The best part of the season so far is we keep improving!

  • TomJameson

    I read in another article that described De’Ron and Josh’s play as ineffectual, or something like that. I just want to go on record to say that Ole Man is correct, in that this game was a team effort. Poor De’Ron was the victim of two early fouls, one of which really was a foul, so had to sit most of the first half. But the thing is that he changes the game just by being in it. Josh is the same boat, at least that he changes the game by just being there. Both of them become the focus of the defense, and do a ton of things that you can’t win without.

    Seriously though, I don’t know how a player can NOT stop a ghost foul call. DD can stop reaching in, but if you get a foul called against you for practicing good defense, what can you do? Collin was the recipient of a couple of calls that should have been no-calls. And then a carry call. Man, those can almost be called at any time. Usually they get one to a team, just as a precaution.

    Glad we (I) can complain about the officiating after a win though. Plenty happy about that. lol

  • sarge

    DG was huge! That trey pumped me up! In a game of winning plays by IU, that might have been the biggest. Team effort for the win!

  • pcantidote

    This team had multiple opportunities to hang their heads and quit and they never did. That’s my takeaway. There is a mental toughness developing in this team that we haven’t seen in a while.

  • SCHoosier

    And NEB lost to KU by one..had the late lead..couldn’t hold it. Good day for the B-10

  • hardly

    1. i hope you’re right and he does have a legit shot to go, because he deserves it.
    2. i don’t think he will be ready to go because while he has all the intangibles, he doesn’t yet have a unique dimension that nba teams look for – either length or freak athleticism. At 6’7, hes a two guard or a small forward, and imo he doesn’t yet match up well in the NBA at those positions. I think he can – but he’s going to have to show he can shoot the ball from 20 feet and/or show he can guard guys who are as athletic as those in the NBA. it will likely take him another summer to get his shot ready and to further hone his ball handling skills to be nba ready at either of those 2 positions.

  • inCMitrust

    Question bball. What position does Juwan play, who does he guard, is he an off the chart athlete like most NBA players and can he score from outside? Juwan is turning out to be a great college player, but there are plenty examples of great college players that don’t make it in the NBA. He sort of reminds me of Daryl Thomas a great college player whos game did not transfer. I think he tests the waters at the end of the season, gets some good advice and comes back to expand his game.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Juwan is definitely bigtens most improved player and probably mvp to this point.

    Why did DD play rarely in 2nd half? Injured or Miller tightening up the playing time?

    DG a great all around game

    Archie tightening playing time like it’s late season. Hope the youngsters understand and don’t pull a CJ.

    We knew Rob would find his shot although first half looked similar to the season. Not liking the 6 turnovers but he was engaged the whole game and got a key block on Farrell late at the end

    Who would have thought hardly any minutes from JN and DD and we win after being down double digits in 2nd half? Cue super heros Batman(JM) and Robin(ZM) who wouldn’t let us lose

  • Q46

    I think if DG becomes a touch more reliable he gets his starting job back. His defense is underrated and he can create on offense but you always hold your breath when he has the ball. He’s a great passer but tries to force things a little too often. I think Archie prefers AD’s steadiness to DG’s ups and downs.

  • vicbert caladipo

    He is starting to show the heart and desire of Victor which can’t be measured. Victor was never considered an offensive threat and now averages over 24 pts in the NBA. Juwan is on that path. Stay consistant and the NBA scouts will be drooling. Worst case scenario…we keep him one more year

  • Ivan Renko

    At this rate, Juwan is setting himself up to be in the early running for B1G POY. It has been amazing seeing his play and hard work evolve and dominate

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Vicbert, Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Same to you and yours IU BROTHER!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    I’ll send the website a picture of my son during signing day for football. I’m not sure how to do it but he will show me. All my best.

  • Q46

    Completely agree. Besides CH, I think he’s the one person I’d want at the line in that situation. You need someone who believes they’ll make every shot. That gets him in trouble some times but also comes in real handy under pressure.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Agreed Tom. Case in point was CH was flat on his feet hands up and called for a foul. Archie Miller went nuts on the sideline and who can blame him. Bonzie Wells was much more hand grabbing and got away with it. I hope this is a good example.

  • TomJameson

    Exactly what I’m talking about.

  • MrNobody

    #6.. We have a deserving coach. It just passes the IU eye test now. This is getting back to IU basketball. We still have a way to go but have now doubts Arch is the man we needed. Also glad to see Zach get some overdue and we’ll deserved praise. Indiana kid who hustles and plays smart. Take a team full of them 😉

  • sam

    Good team win… Z-Mac has earned that cojo scolly for the rest of the year and I believe Coach will give it to him soon…

  • Outoftheloop

    Let’s give Zach the Curtis Jones scholarship for the rest of this year. It does not have to carry over to August 2018. A nice Christmas present for Zack and his family. He has earned it!

  • SeeingRed

    The second foul was totally on DD. Colson gets backdoor for a layup and DD needs to understand game and situation and let the bucket go so he can stay on the floor. He wasn’t stopping Colson anyway. The only person he stopped was himself, since that bad foul earned him 10 minutes of pine time before the break.

    He is still young and learning, I know, but he’s got to show some savvy to get more minutes.

  • Outoftheloop

    Juwan has excellent footwork, a great work ethic, and a total package. Watch as he improves on the 8-15’ range shot. He is the real deal!

  • Outoftheloop

    A very nice “worst case” for we Hoosier fans!

  • Kyl470

    6. The officials were pretty bad today. Several phantom foul calls.
    7. Colson benefited from several phantom fouls, but we held him to 9/21 on his FG’s.

  • Outoftheloop

    Just a lazy touch in the back. Be smart DeRon. How can you call DeRon “ineffectual” when he scores the tying basket? Absurd!

  • Outoftheloop

    Devonte has.

  • Outoftheloop

    And Devonte and DeRon in limited minutes.

  • SeeingRed

    Yeah I wouldn’t say ineffectual. I would say he should have been much effective over the course of the whole game. But that’s hard to do when you’re on the bench. j

  • I hear you, but I think he’ll be back next year. First, I just want him to be. Second, I think he’ll get feedback, and that will include improving his outside shot.

  • SeeingRed

    This is how college basketball is officiated. It’s awful, but it is what it is. If there is contact, even if the offensive player clearly initiates it and the defender is rock solid straight up and down, most of the time the defender is getting the foul. I think these refs have decided a no call is a bad thing, and if it isn’t an obvious charge or a blatant hook to gain advantage, it’s gotta be a foul on the defense. Just stupid. The answer is swallow the whistle, but that’ll never happen.

  • SeeingRed

    Vic had a super high athletic ceiling. Once he added the shot and got in the right situation, it has all come together. JM lacks the super high athletic ceiling, and the jump shot. He’s going to have to battle his way into the league and do it with smarts and effort — which clearly won’t be an issue because he has both of those in abundance.

    Look at a guy like Vince Edwards. Similar size and skill set to JM, but a much better jump shooter. And he wasn’t NBA ready.

    IMO, JM is going to kick tail in Btown for 4 years, develop a jump shot, then hopefully get paid.

  • Mark Bando

    I know its semantics, but i would change the wording of “this win salvages a disapointing stretch” to “this win caps off an encouraging stretch”. Going into this five game stretch i hoped to beat iowa and either louisville OR the irish. We did just that and looked good against duke and respectable against louisville. I would call that stretch encouraging all the way.

  • Kwang

    No. The biggest play was McFloor’s rebound and pass on a missed free throw.

  • Mark Bando

    Im going to agree with you that JM might very well be able to get drafted after this year for one main reason: i think JM will be able to guard multiple positions in the NBA and that type of player is in high demand right now. He can guard twos, threes and stretch fours.

  • Banned on the Run

    You are so right, Mark. There is a Hoosier brand of toughness developing in this team that we haven’t seen in years. That kind of grit will win you basketball games. Previously untapped talent is being straight-up TAPPED. I saw a strange phrase today somewhere (I forget where): “Archie Miller doubters.” I thought: who is watching these guys get better and better every game, believing in themselves and each other, and thinking maybe we got the wrong guy for the job? Last year we had James and Thomas and couldn’t make out of the first round of the NIT. This year, we’re going to surprise some people. Arch has a history of peaking at the right time, and I would not be at all surprised to see these guys in the Sweet 16 come March.

  • Banned on the Run

    A means to an end. I don’t know if it’s tightening playing time as much it is just putting a group on the floor that will work well against our opponent on any given night.

  • Fifer39

    Haven’t been able to see the game yet but just the kind of win we needed to give confidence (and silence Randy). Really pleased for ZM who has obviously had to earn it under Archie as he did under TC. Are his minutes coming from FMcS? I was surspirsed to see such limited minutes for him with DD also on the bench for so long.

  • sarge

    Many huge plays by everyone who played. I can’t pick just one.

  • VOXAC30

    You will have a lot of folks waiting for that photo!

  • TomJameson

    Part of that could be that ND was playing small as well.

  • TomJameson

    I respect your opinion, but Juwan just doesn’t have all the tools yet. He needs a decent, and consistent, outside shot. Remember, that step up to the NBA is a huge step. Everybody is bigger, stronger, faster, and more skilled. Now I do think that if Juwan works on his shot over the summer and has a fantastic year next year, he should be able to get to the next level.

    I’m sure he’ll try the combine route, and I would also bet he gets the same advice from the pros. I would just hate to see him leave college and not make his dream for lack of one season. But we’ve got an entire B1G season to go through, so who knows.

  • TomJameson

    I certainly hope he doesn’t stop what he’s doing now, he’s a beast down low and we don’t win without him being there. An outside shot would be great, but not a missed, outside shot.

  • beppecolo

    Afraid I have to agree. At his size he’ll have to be a wing in the NBA, which means he will have to bring an outside shot and perimeter defense. It is magic, though, the way he can get his shot inside and the way he boards in a crowd. Love it.

  • MikeinNC

    Wow!!!

    JM is a warrior!
    Rebounding was strong.
    Defensive intensity was great!

    Turnovers will likely plague us all of this year due to the inconsistency of our guard play, but we are going to forge a real identity around toughness and defense. You can really see the improvement as Archie is bending them to his will.

    This year we will develop into a good team that can be dangerous if shooting well. This time next year we will consistently be a very good team. This time in two years we will be starting a long run as perennial Final Four contenders.

  • Guyton25

    Yeah, going into that 5 game game stretch I kept telling my friends that I either want a win against either Duke, UL, or ND AND a win against Iowa or Michigan… or just wins against Michigan and Iowa.

    We keep getting less flawed and certain players like Morgan and McRoberts are fueling us with their motors. I think RJ has really bought into the new system now and is showing more enthusiasm. I want to see Durham continue to have that fire we’ve seen in several games too. Hopefully we really start playing through Morgan and Davis on offense in the paint and kick it out to Hartman and RJ for the 3 when the defense is drawn in.

  • SCHoosier

    Love Morgan..but at 6-7 he needs to prove he has a reliable outside game. Do you really think he’s going to be able to consistently post up in the NBA like he did yesterday.? IMO JM will have to play a 3 in the pro’s. This summer I hope he declares without an agent..finds out what he needs to do and does it. If that means coming back for a senior year..great..if he has enuff potential to take a shot at the pro’s..good for him. I don’t see him as a guaranteed money guy at this point. (Or maybe I just realize how important he could be to the Hoosiers his senior year.)