Five takeaways from Indiana’s win at Minnesota

  • 01/07/2018 11:33 am in

Indiana picked up its first road win of the season on Saturday as the Hoosiers beat Minnesota, 75-71, at Williams Arena. The win improved Indiana to 9-7 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Golden Gophers:

· Indiana created scoring opportunities for Robert Johnson … and he delivered: If you’ve followed Robert Johnson’s career in Bloomington, you know that he’s never been the focal point of IU’s offense.

Johnson is at his best offensively when action is run to create space for him on the wing, which allows him to get into the lane or get some room for open 3-point attempts.

The Hoosiers made it a focus to get Johnson freed up by running a ton of screens for him and the senior delivered a terrific performance. Johnson did a little bit of everything in the win as he finished with 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 38 minutes.

He was an efficient 7-of-14 on 2s, many of which were in the lane and at the rim, and he also splashed in three of his seven 3-point field goal attempts. With De’Ron Davis sidelined, the Hoosiers are going to need even more perimeter scoring and trying to put Johnson in the best situations to find success is a key. On Saturday night, that was definitely the case.

· Smith makes the most of our starting opportunity: Freshman Justin Smith’s role has diminished in recent weeks as he’d played double digit minutes just once in IU’s last nine games.

But with Davis and Collin Hartman both out, Smith was thrust into the starting lineup for just the second time this season. Smith came through in a big way in the win with 20 points and three rebounds in 26 minutes.

He hit five of his eight 2-point attempts, made both of his 3-point attempts and was 4-of-4 from the free throw line. It was an impressive performance for a freshman who has been a fringe rotation player since late November.

“Really proud of Justin Smith,” Archie Miller said. “He really stepped up and played for us on both ends. By far his best game of his career.”

· Morgan responds from disappointment at Wisconsin: Miller said in the postgame that Juwan Morgan was disappointed by Indiana’s performance on Tuesday night in Madison.

The Hoosiers fought for a half and then were beaten soundly by the Badgers in a 71-61 loss. Morgan’s play on Saturday was a major reason Indiana was able to avoid another road loss.

Morgan posted a double-double – 20 points and 12 rebounds – in 38 minutes. He also had four blocked shots and committed just two fouls.

“We had a huge sense of urgency,” Morgan said postgame. “It’s a next man up mentality. When De’Ron went down and then we saw Collin go down, we knew the show doesn’t stop because you lose a few actors. Just keep going. And as we did and stuck together, that was the end result.”

· Indiana capitalized on Minnesota’s turnovers: The turnover battle was close on Saturday with Indiana committing 13 and Minnesota finishing with 14.

The points off of turnovers, however, were a different story.

Indiana outscored the Gophers 22-10 on points off of turnovers, which was a major difference in the outcome.

Zach McRoberts deserves plenty of credit as the redshirt junior had four steals, several of which led to possessions in which Indiana scored at key points of the game.

· At 2-2 in the Big Ten, a huge week awaits for the Hoosiers: The last time Indiana had an impressive Saturday win away from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers followed it up with a dud performance on Branch McCracken Court.

Indiana’s league schedule has been road heavy so far and now the Hoosiers have the fortune of playing two home games this week with students back in town.

Taking care of business this week in Bloomington will go a long way in determining if Indiana will be able to challenge for a middle of the pack spot in the conference.

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  • Bankshot

    You’re a fool and you have no basketball I.Q !

  • Bankshot

    You wouldn’t know intelligent if it hit you upside your empty head!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    It shows how important the Wisconsin game was to IU. IU had them at the perfect time and played horrible. Big difference between 2-2 and 3-1.

  • Ivan Renko

    IU was without 2 starter/key contributors as well! make sure you point that out too if you want to point out MN’s missing injured/predatorial players! (i wouldn’t call them the two best players. Nate Mason is their best player hands down)

  • Ivan Renko

    PSA to Neil: Bill Graham is being facetious in his original comment


  • Ivan Renko

    I may be wrong… but i think they list players’ heights “with shoes.”

    but if every shoe sole is about 1 inch, then nothing is really different haha

  • Hoosierkamp

    Mason and Murphy are still maybe their 2 best players. But they were missing two key players. Good news, we get hartman back soon it sounds like

  • Hoosierkamp

    IU is 2-2 in the conference and we have played 3 road games. I would have taken that any day. Now we just need to defend home court and we are in great shape!

  • Hoosierkamp

    Crazy that Minnesota let him get away. He was Mr. Minnesota basketball

  • Ivan Renko

    i agree with you. I was just trying to say that IU was also missing 2 key players… so kind of a washed out statement.

  • Bankshot

    Sit down fool! Smith more than filled in for Davis. He scored more points than Davis averages! Curry is a critical front line player for the golden gophers. Lynch shouldn’t even have been on the squad bit pitino is just like his dad. Liar, cheat and scumbag! Nate Davis is good, but no team wins with one good player. Lastly, you could tell the gophers were shell shocked with the unexpected loss of two key players!

  • VOXAC30

    I was actually embarrassed for him when he kept saying that.

  • Ivan Renko

    hey man, no need to resort to childish name calling…

    wanted to make sure you weren’t trying to discredit a great road win for the Hoosiers! both indiana AND minnesota were without 2 key players, not just MN. Nate Mason is a 1st team All B1G player… and Jordan Murphy will also likely be at a minimum 2nd or 3rd team All B1G. We were playing 2 of the best 10 or 15 players in the league. don’t cheapen the win!

    I’m with you 100% that I was extremely impressed and encouraged by JS’s play! hopefully he can turn in performances like that regularly. I’m also not a fan in the least of anyone with the Pitino name.

  • Bankshot

    You call me out than you get whats comin! You would never call me childish to my face! Did you read my first sentence? Davis is inconsistent at best and Hartman is a shell of himself since the ACL.

  • Ivan Renko

    you’re just looking for a fight. stop being so sensitive.

  • adam

    there is really no excuse for newkirk to be playing so poorly.

    you know what you get with mcroberts and mcswain, they arent offensive threats outside of a putback or a back cut and the like.

    green has all the potential in the world but is still working on decision making and execution. he has the potential to carry the offensive load for an entire lineup… someday at least.

    durham is playing like a pass first point guard. and a freshman. he hasnt got much of a shot yet but some of his drives to the basket look OK. sometimes.

    but yeah, no excuse for newkirk right now.

  • Indiana come march is going to be a dangerous team!

  • Hoosierkamp

    Agreed, I am totally in agreement with you.

  • Bankshot

    Sit down and shut up! I don’t look for fights but I never run! Especially from someone who is my inferior in every way! Did you read my first sentence??? Either you did not or can’t comprehend. You sir will never tell me what to say or do!

  • Ivan Renko

    good lord… either you have deep insecurities about yourself or an anger issue. we’re apparently having two different conversations. save the non sequitur schmuck rants for Kentucky fans. bye.

  • Bankshot

    Where did you get your psychology degree? Not a rant just fact! My basketball knowledge dwarfs yours! I would and have put my basketball knowledge up against anyone on this forum. Did you read my first sentence???

  • IdahoHoosier

    I blocked your sparring partner there some time ago for the same offensive, unprovoked attack stuff. He isn’t interested in reasonable discussion. My life is better now that I can’t see his posts. Something to consider!

  • Ivan Renko

    haha indeed.. Bankshot reminds me of this quote:

    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

  • Bill Shomaker

    I would go so far as to say that those type of qualifiers never mattered with Crean and others at the helm. It never seemed to matter which players the opponent was missing or how badly they had been playing. IU would come to town and it was an instant panacea for those teams.

    So no matter who they (or we) were missing, that was a great win on the road. Especially after getting embarrassed in Wis a few of days ago.

  • TomJameson

    I’m not sure IU will get to March, at least to the big dance, but if they do you are correct, they will be dangerous.