Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Maryland

  • 01/23/2018 9:19 am in

Indiana improved to 5-3 in Big Ten play with a 71-68 win over Maryland on Monday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The victory moved the Hoosiers to 4-0 in league play at home.

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

· Indiana’s second half defense won the game: Indiana led 42-39 at halftime because of an efficient first half performance in which it scored 1.21 points per possession. That type of production isn’t sustainable for this team over 40 minutes, especially when giving up 1.13 points per trip defensively.

The second half, however, was a different story.

Indiana did a much better job on Maryland point guard Anthony Cowan in the second half. Cowan was 2-of-12 from the field after intermission with six turnovers. And by stopping Maryland’s best player, Indiana limited the Terps to just .78 points per possession in the second half.

“They shot 31 percent in the second half,” Archie Miller said. “I thought our activity level with eight blocks and 10 steals kind of shows you how active we were.”

Even after Friday’s 28-point loss at Michigan State, Indiana still has the Big Ten’s fifth best defense in conference play after last night’s win.

· What ankle problem? Juwan Morgan left the Breslin Center on crutches on Friday, which cast serious doubt on his availability going into Monday’s game.

But Morgan emerged from the locker room about 70 minutes before tip, warmed up, was in the starting lineup and delivered a magnificent performance.

The junior forward played 36 minutes and finished with a game-high 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field and a 5-of-7 performance from the line. Despite having a distinct size advantage in the frontcourt, Maryland had no answer for Morgan as he dominated Michal Cekovsky and Bruno Fernando.

Morgan said his ankle was 100 percent by tip time.

“It was just the least I could do for my team,” he said. “The way they were going at it in practice and just really giving it their all, it was the least I could do for them tonight. And I just went out there and showed what I could do.”

· Johnson’s steady play continues … on both ends: As important as Indiana’s defense on Anthony Cowan was in the second half, the job Robert Johnson did on Kevin Huerter was just as crucial.

Huerter was an efficient 6-of-9 from the field for the game and finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but was blanketed by Johnson in the second half. He didn’t get a shot off in the game’s final 9:51 and was visibly frustrated at times.

“He’s really taken it to another level in terms of what we’re asking him to do,” Miller said. “And I think his play speaks volumes.”

Offensively, Johnson finished with 12 points in 35 minutes and committed just one turnover. He also had a team-high eight rebounds.

· Indiana continues to force turnovers: The Hoosiers are still very much a work in progress defensively, but the overall improvement is apparent.

In Monday’s win, Indiana forced 18 turnovers and had 10 steals. Through eight league games, the Hoosiers are second in the league in opponent turnover percentage and first in steal percentage. And Indiana’s opponent free throw rate, which was a ridiculous 45.6 percent in league play last year, is just 26.7 percent.

The growth defensively is a major reason why Indiana is winning close games in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

“Winning close games is about getting stops,” Miller said. “If you can get stops and you can find a way to hang in tough games and get stops and your team is believing that you can win a game without scoring points, that’s step one.”

· McRoberts, Smith give Hoosiers an offensive boost: Indiana’s bench didn’t provide much scoring – just 10 points – but the Hoosiers got significant offensive contributions from a pair of starters.

Justin Smith, who has been starting since the injury to De’Ron Davis, scored 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting and didn’t commit a turnover in 21 minutes.

And Zach McRoberts, who had scored just two points over the last five games, had seven points, three assists and was also turnover free in 31 minutes.

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  • Kwang

    Too bad the committee doesn’t put weight on how you’ve played over your last ten games or so anymore.

  • Kwang

    There are one or two ads which are uber agressive and even pull my view toward them so I can’t even read the article or the comments. When those start, I have to turn on the ad blocker – something I don’t want to do because I know Alex and company get their revenue from them, I will have to pay attention to which ads they are and report them.

  • Guyton25

    You obviously haven’t been around long..

  • Arch Puddington

    Danger, Will Robinson. Check out this guy’s other posts in Disqus. Not someone to encourage.

  • unclekerfuffle

    I have been experiencing problems with some sort of a Amazon ad highjacking my reading of ITH on my iPhone6. Don’t seem to have any issues on my MacBook. This has been going on for about a month and the only way I can clear the ad is to shut down my phone and come back to ITH but the ad still pops up as I start to navigate the site.

    Any ideas?

  • TomJameson

    chuck, I’m the same way. It was a great win, ugly or not. I am extremely happy with what Archie is building, and even more so that it looks like the players are buying in to what he’s selling. BUT ….

    Can they please improve their “last-in-the-B1G” free-throw rate? And, can they please start making their layups and dunks? Especially the uncontested ones?

    But even at that, one can’t point to any one place and say “that’s why we won”, or “that’s why we lost” …. and that, my friends, is one of the strengths of this team (emphasis on the word “team”).

  • TomJameson

    I agree too, Hoosierkamp. Devonte has some very quick hands, and I couldn’t tell you how many times he knocked the ball loose, or made Cowan lose his handle. BTW … Cowan acted like a punk, no respect for him from me.

  • TomJameson

    RJ’s defensive assignment in the second half probably wore him out, but as usual, his defense was fantastic. Plus, his rebounding was fantastic as well.

  • Ivan Renko

    LOL advice taken. yikes. i need to start doing that before replying to unknown folks on here.

  • Ivan Renko

    I was just thinking the same thing! dozens of random trolls raiding this site and posting nonsense.

  • PalmettoHoosier

    It’s a sign the PU fans are getting nervous!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I was just at Smackey Arena to watch PUke play against Wisconsin (the only team in the B1G I hate more than PUke) and there’s a key to guarding Haas. That key is leave him open because that dude has a better chance at hitting his FT’s than wide open dunks and layups! I’ve never seen a player that large miss so many bunnies!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Their guard play is pretty impressive and they can put 4 guys on the floor who can shoot. Haarms can actually shoot too but it’s discouraged. Our best chance is to force them to throw the ball to Haas then get out of the way and let him miss uncontested layups.

  • kennygeorge

    Yes, I remember laffy. There are a few commenters on the scoop now and I quit reading H4H quite awhile ago. He got just nauseous.

  • I was very glad to see Cowan lose his cool. Our guys, getting all kinds of crap called against them, didn’t.

  • And that’s on offense. His defense is coming around, and he played some great minutes last night on Cowan.

  • 2020HoosierFan

    I feel like he also helped make some key stops near the end with a couple of blocks and decent all around defense on Cowan. He missed the free throws to leave the door open but also helped close it shut on the other end

  • HoosierDawg

    Maybe if they were whoopin uk…

  • Kevin

    Exactly. I thought the same thing about that quote. “…the least I could do for them…”

  • Kevin

    Good victory. LOVE the D and valuing the ball.
    Morgan is so tough. Happy to see Rob grab 8 boards and play solid D.
    I really appreciate Smith’s improvement.
    Zach is fun to watch.
    I wish Moore was ready for minutes

  • sarge

    Illinois played MSU tough. They played really hard, we will have to battle for 40 minutes as always on the road. Nothing is guaranteed.

  • Dereck Johnson

    Its been a fun season so far. My expectations 4the year were average. I really hoped that the team would improve throughout the year. Juwan & Justin Smith have exceeded my expectations. Davis & Green have fallen short & everyone else has been about what I expected. I had very high expectations for CAM & I believe he’s exceeded them. His post game pressers are so refreshing. He’s always spot on in his observations & even brings light to something I overlooked throughout the game. I figured they’d lose some games they shouldn’t & win a few they shouldn’t. My hope was 4 improvement throughout the season & 4some guys to play above their rankings. JS,AD,JM & Juwan all have & hopefully Davis comes back better than ever next year. Next year should be just as exciting & I expect to have a deeper more talented team. I’d also like 2say how proud of Rob I am. The guy stuck with it & competed, became a really good defender, he should be able 2earn a living playing basketball if he wants. Hopefully Newkirk comes into it & finds his role. Either way i love the direction CAM has this team headed in.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    well before conf play started i said that IU wouldnt win more than 5 games and gladly they are proving me wrong!! defense is doing it for them and wow how long has it been since i could say that about a Hoosier team. BEAT THE ILLINI!!