Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Penn State

  • 01/10/2018 9:43 am in

Indiana put together a solid 40-minute performance on Tuesday night as the Hoosiers beat Penn State 74-70 for their third Big Ten win. The victory improved Indiana to 10-7 this season.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Nittany Lions:

· Indiana finds a way despite a poor shooting performance: For the second straight game, Indiana didn’t play great offensively. And for the second straight game, the Hoosiers won with defense.

Indiana shot just 40.3 percent from the field and still led for the final 25+ minutes in Tuesday’s win. How?

The Hoosiers held Penn State to just 1.01 points per possession. In all three of IU’s Big Ten wins this season, their opponent has scored 1.01 points per trip or fewer. Through five league games, Indiana has the Big Ten’s sixth best defense.

“I thought we really grinded one out here today when we didn’t shoot the ball particularly well,” Archie Miller said postgame. “Found other ways to make the plays that we needed to make to win.”

· Juwan Morgan continues to play at an All-Big Ten level: With De’Ron Davis sidelined indefinitely, Indiana is relying heavily on Juwan Morgan to carry the load in the frontcourt. And Morgan continues to deliver in a major way.

After logging 38 minutes in Saturday’s win at Minnesota, Morgan was on the floor for 39 minutes in Tuesday’s win over Penn State.

Morgan played the entire second half and finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, a steal and a turnover. He also didn’t commit a foul and splashed in a pair of 3-pointers.

Through five conference games, Morgan is averaging 19.4 points and nine rebounds in 32 minutes per game.

“The one guy who is consistent has been Juwan,” Miller said. “I think he’s been that way from the beginning. He’s playing at an all-conference level right now.”

· Newkirk and Green bounce back from poor performances: Indiana’s win at Minnesota was the result, in large part, of strong performances by Morgan, Robert Johnson and Justin Smith.

On Tuesday, Indiana was more well rounded offensively with five players finishing in double figures. Josh Newkirk and Devonte Green were both crucial in the win.

Newkirk scored 16 points, including a 7-of-8 performance from the free throw line, and also added four assists in 30 minutes. Green came off the bench and scored 13 points in 21 minutes.

Most importantly, the duo didn’t commit a turnover.

“I think Devonte and Josh both got that message coming out of Minnesota,” Miller explained. “If you turn the ball over, you can’t play. Thankfully Al (Durham) saved us in the Minnesota game. And then tonight both those guys emerged.”

· Indiana’s defensive rebounding again shows improvement: In the aftermath of IU’s loss at Wisconsin on Jan. 2, Miller expressed disappointment in his team’s defensive rebounding.

Indiana allowed the Badgers to grab 46.4 percent of their missed shots for 15 second chance points.

The Hoosiers, however, have buckled down on the defensive glass their past two games. After allowing Minnesota to grab just 22.2 percent of its misses on Saturday, Indiana was even better against Penn State. The Nittany Lions rebounded just 17.2 percent of their misses for just four second chance points.

Through five league games, Indiana’s rebounding numbers are strong on both ends. The Hoosiers are currently, from a percentage standpoint, the league’s fourth best offensive rebounding team and the league’s third best defensive rebounding team.

· McRoberts doesn’t score … and still has a major impact: Zach McRoberts hasn’t scored for three straight games, but he’s still important for Indiana to have on the floor as much as possible.

In Tuesday’s win, Miller moved McRoberts around on several guys, including Tony Carr, and he was disruptive.

The redshirt junior from Carmel had three steals, six rebounds and three assists before fouling out in 26 minutes. McRoberts is currently second in the Big Ten in steal percentage at 4.8.

“He’s been huge for us, especially since he’s been starting,” Robert Johnson said. “He just plays within himself and gives everything that he has. And I think if we can all recognize what we need to give for the betterment of the team, I think we’ll all be better.”

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  • Sherronhasaheadache

    Just think if this group could shoot 40% from 3? they would be dangerous

  • adam

    i’m not certain we have it in us to shoot 40% as a team. I do think we should be able to claw into the 37-38% range though.

  • vicbert caladipo

    1. Juwan is playing this season as well or better than anyone in the past several years and it’s all around. Stats don’t lie but the eye test on this junior is even more amazing.

    2. Newkirk is a fan favorite to criticize but you can’t question his desire and toughness. If he could keep his head in the game like last night, he will have more nights like yesterday.

    3. We seem to play better without DD. There is much better movement and chemistry. Back in October I thought he’d be our best player.

    4. Archie made some good comments concerning Green. Hopefully he continues to get through to him. Knowing the problem is most of the battle and it showed last night.

    5. Looks like I am true to my form by making lousy predictions. My 6 wins should be exceeded and will be conceded if we beat Northwestern, which we are fully capable of doing.

  • inLinE6

    And turn over less than 10%?

  • inCMitrust

    Not sure if we are better overall without Davis, but I believe we are better defensively. Davis was having problems with switching, hedging and recovering. That thru the whole defense off. I’m not sure if if he was late to understanding the new system or what, but he had the same problem last year.

  • vicbert caladipo

    His vertical and conditioning hype led many to believe he was going to be a star this year. I have seen no increase in his vertical and no better movement. Sure it’s nice to have a big body and I’m not a fan of addition by subtraction, but we move so much better when he’s not on the floor. The hedging is just part of the point I’m making. He’s just not very fleet of foot. JM and JS move with so much better fluidity. Coach made a good point about JM creating mismatches for opposing 5’s without having Davis

  • Tommy Morrsion

    I probably have an unhealthy obsession with IUBB, but I can’t get too high or low on this team. Attending the Duke game was a highlight of my year and they will play some teams tough, but I this team will have some head scratchers as well. As long as they continue to show grit, toughness, focus, and intensity I will be pleased! Much hope for the future under Arch.

  • Bill Shomaker

    I love the fact that they can play poorly in some aspects of their game and yet still find the grit and determination to win the game. We will see over time how well they improve overall, but the ability to find a way to win when things are going against you is something that has been missing of late.

  • vicbert caladipo

    If you look at the boxscore it appears RJ had a bad game. 3-13 with 4 TOs is not good, but the eye test showed he helped us win. Nice to see CLUTCH FTs go down!! Our rebounding has been the key the past 2 games. I know Coach wasn’t pleased with the rebounding effort a week ago. Question now is can we have some consistency or revert back to a game like UW or FW? We should beat Northwestern. The main concern is going to be…..we are playing a very hungry team who needs a win badly….a team that was predicted in the top 4 of the bigten and we are rolling along. FOCUS fellas. This game is yours.

  • iugradmark

    I agree with your points. The short-hand terms like addition by subtraction seems to create a visceral reaction from some. Bottom line is that this team doesn’t have the right talent to play with a big that needs to play down low with their back to the basket. With this year’s team, our best chance is to spread the floor and use Juwan in as many situations as possible from the 3 point line to dunks. It also allows our poor shooting guards to cut to a more open lane. My gosh, if we could only hit a few more shots.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Juwan has to be the unluckiest guy in NCAA. I have seen a lot of games and NO ONE has had more lay ins roll out than Juwan. He would be averaging over 20 if he got a few rolls. Seems the only time he misses anything is a 3 short or having a layup roll out. Some are half way down and spin out. I said a few weeks ago if he develops an outside shot the NBA will come calling. I haven’t seen a more well rounded player this year. OG got his confidence going and that’s all he needed……well….and being healthy

  • Colt

    It is no sin to win.

  • iugradmark

    Regarding missed inside shots, the coaches have to address that at practice. I assume they do all the normal stuff where managers use pads to bump players while trying to finish, etc. but what the heck is going on with missed layups and dunks.

  • Ole Man

    They do. I’ve seen videos of just what you speak of.

  • iugradmark

    I assume they did, but whatever they are doing, it doesn’t seem to translate into the game. I am still trying to figure out how Justin misses so many inside ones (the missed dunk aside).

  • weitrhino

    Justin Smith was outstanding against Minnesota and showed us a glimpse of what he’s capable of doing now that DD isn’t sucking all the air out of his game time. So he struggled a bit last night against Penn State, it worries me not. I predict the kid will be able to use his frustration over that game to come out strong against NW on Sunday.

  • Koko

    Aside from possibly playing them in the B1G tournament, I’m glad we
    don’t play them again this season. Penn State is a good team. We gutted
    out this win. We are seeing quite a evolution from the first game of the season.
    Really fun to watch.

  • IUBizmark

    Watched several of RJ and JN’s layups roll out this season. The past two games I’ve watched RJ cut to the rim from the right side, go to the LEFT side of the rim with the ball in his right hand and literally try to lay it up. It’s an almost impossible shot and it drives me BONKERS when he does it over and over.

  • GiantsFanSince52

    Takeaway Six… It was so pleasurable to watch this game without having to listen to that annoying little gnat, Dakich…

  • IUBizmark

    Just think if they could shoot 30% from 3. I know our average is there, but we haven’t shot that in a game since Youngstown State and before that, ND.

  • sarge

    He played hard, had some unfortunate calls that limited his impact. But he finally looks comfortable on the court, and that is great to see. He will only get better from here every game.

  • Pat Smith

    I enjoy Dakich. Not sure why you all hate on him. Just calls it and tells it like it is. Refreshing.

  • sarge

    We have to prove to be hungrier. When we relax, we suck. If we don’t bring maximum effort for every game remaining, it is going to continue to be a rollercoaster. I want to see them prove they are tougher than their opponent every time, not just against good teams.

  • Ms hoosier

    I really liked the move he made on the baseline when he missed the dunk. I know he didn’t finish with the dunk but showed that he can get his shot in the post

  • IdahoHoosier

    He is at times critical of IU, mainly because he played and coached there and feels he has the right to do so (not to mention he literally gets paid to critique and analyze games/teams). Many fans unfortunately can’t handle any negative commentary regarding IU, regardless if it is the truth and, heaven forbid, one man’s opinion.

  • VAHoosier

    So there is something a bit “refreshing” about his candor. But he is opinionated, and in an abrasive way, which I find unpleasant. And I think he throws out sensational claims with no support of evidence (e.g., DeRon is lazy, as he claimed during the Wisconsin game).

  • Kyl470

    I don’t agree that we are better without Davis. Wait until we play MSU and Purdue. We are going to wish we had a big body Davis to bang with their post players. We just played a team in Minnesota that just lost two of their post players and luckily Penn St. post guy got in foul trouble because in the 2nd half he was 4-4 from the field because we had no one with size to stop him.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i’m with you. yes, he tends to find ways to focus the spotlight on himself, but i think that’s part of your job when you’re a radio personality. gotta be loved or hated to get the ratings. and giving credit where credit’s due, i like that he’s bold enough to call people out. the alternative is dickie v, who pretty much kisses every coach’s backside.

  • myrddin

    His analysis of on-court play is good. Everything is is basically the id of Random Intarwebs Bro.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    if DD does get back for those games he will be in foul trouble and on the bench anyway

  • inCMitrust

    I read on another site that Smith got in a refs face in the second half after a foul and Coach pulled him immediately. He never came back in the game. I did not see this, did anybody notice that happening?

  • IU1972

    Does anyone else think Archie over-reacts when players get into a bit of foul trouble? IMO he sits people way too long. Get into foul trouble, you sit down and disappear. JS finished with 3 PFs and played only 6 minutes last night after scoring 20 the game before. What was he saving the kid for? Lent?

  • Fifer39

    The schedule gets pretty brutal after Northwestern. We could realistically continue to play pretty well and go 0-6 in the next stretch. Going 2-4 might be a decent outcome. The key will be how Archie keeps everyone bought in and motivated when times get tough so that we are ready to go in the last 6 all of which are winnable and which will define our season.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I was thinking the same thing. Crean would do the same thing as well as 90% of other coaches and it drives me nuts. Archie is locked on if you get 2 in the first half and if you get 3 early in the 2nd, you sit. I think he may have wavered one time with Morgan and an early 3rd in the second half a couple weeks ago but has stayed consistent with that approach. Crean would let key guys steal a minute or 2 here and there which I was ok with. I am not a fan of the sitting rule with 2 fouls. I panic at 3 or 4 in the second half, but having 2 fouls doesn’t worry me. You have to know your player though. There were times when he sat RJ all half with 2. I think your vets and smarter players should be allowed to come back trusting they won’t get #3. If anyone else gets injured CM is going to half to roll the dice with 2 fouls

  • IU1972

    To be clear, that is my ONLY bit of nitpicking with Archie. To see an IU team that can’t hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle for a 3…. but still win because it values the ball, plays D and rebounds is sooo refreshing.

  • iugradmark

    If you don’t already subscribe, follow the team over at Assembly Call where they have been discussing this for a while now. Jerod feels like you that Archie is taking players out of the game more than if they were to foul out. The counter argument is that the very things that are causing the fouling are the reasons they are not playing e.g, bad defense. I do think it is tough for players to sit out an entire half and then sit out again early in the second and ever expect to get anything out of them. It is an interesting argument but probably moot since Archie ain’t likely to change.

  • IUBizmark

    Seems like our margin for error is razor thin as evidenced by our season and the last few wins. If you have a guy who’s going to keep fouling and put the other team on the line, we can’t afford that. Second, he’s said if you can’t value the ball, you can’t play, so this is likely a part of that. Third, he’s probably keeping the replacement guy on the court as a way to reward him for not fouling and for consistency. Seems to make sense to me, though, I agree I’d also like to see Justin Smith playing in the second half.

  • Eric Oglesbee

    I think it is more a function of that Archie substitutes until he finds the lineup he likes in a particular game and then he goes with it. Early foul trouble makes it hard to have a guy out there much once he goes to the bench. Unlike Crean, Archie doesn’t seem to like running guys in and out and (most of the time) lets guys have a chance to get into the flow of the game – unless they do something truly boneheaded.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    A win is a win.. gotta keep grinding

  • Colt

    Dakich does some make some good points. He rambles at times but I will take his act over Dickie V anyday.

  • mharv2631

    That’s what I was thinking. I thought Archie would put him back in no later than the 5 min. mark, but he went with the guys who got them that far.

  • Mark Bando

    Yep, for the second straight game IU won with defense. So good to see us playing good defense again.

  • RonMlarkey

    Finishing layups has little to do with “luck”.

  • Kwang

    Archie gave him the zip the mouth sign, I think it was JS.

  • Kwang

    Archie’s philosophy about fouls is that if you are getting them, you are not playing the way he wants you to, so you sit. He said something like ‘fouls are caused by not being in the right position or not having the right mindset’.

  • HoosierPat

    Not sure what eye test you’re referring to. If RJ isn’t hitting he’s not bringing much. Plays defense about half the time and can become a black hole on offense.

  • Kwang

    Archie seems to see the same eye test, as RoJo plays as much as anyone.

  • Kwang

    I like him too. He is very good at riling up local fans for his radio show, which I also enjoy.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Love Rob’s comment about Zach. Sometimes all it takes is one player to set an example or sacrifice themselves for the team and the other guys will take up the charge with them.

  • RDD#76

    Agree Justin is making some cheap fouls and getting in early foul trouble like Juwan use to get in his first two years last night 38 minutes 0 fouls.