Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Illinois

  • 01/25/2018 8:56 am in

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – After leading by as many as nine in the first half, missed free throws and turnovers doomed Indiana on Wednesday night at the State Farm Center. The Hoosiers fought, but ultimately fell 73-71 to Illinois.

The loss dropped Indiana to 12-9 overall and 5-4 at the halfway point of Big Ten play. Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Fighting Illini:

· Poor free throw shooting costs Indiana a win: Winning on the road, particularly in the Big Ten, is no easy task. It becomes even more difficult when you’re playing the most foul prone team in the league, but can’t make free throws.

Illinois entered the game with a league-worst 48.6 percent opponent free throw rate (FTA/FGA). The Fighting Illini had their worst performance of the season in terms of sending their opponent to the line – IU had a free throw rate of 64 percent – but it didn’t matter because the Hoosiers couldn’t convert.

Indiana finished 16-of-29 from the line in the loss and the poor performances came from just about everywhere. Most notably, Juwan Morgan was 3-of-8 and Collin Hartman was 1-of-4.

“Right now we’re not a very good free throw shooting team,” Archie Miller said postgame. “We’ve got to work on it. Like I said after the game to some guys, ‘if you’re struggling from the line, you’ve got to have some pride in your individual game and get in the gym a little bit more.'”

· Illinois gets big edge in points off of turnovers: Indiana did a decent job of taking care of the ball in the first half, but the second half was a different story.

Indiana turned it over on 28.2 percent of its possessions in the second half and the Illini turned 11 Hoosiers turnovers into 14 points. For the game, Illinois scored 22 points off of turnovers to just 11 for Indiana.

Indiana’s turnover percentage in the loss of 25 was its highest since the Seton Hall loss back on Nov. 16.

· Morgan delivers another stellar performance: Another game, another dominant performance from Indiana junior Juwan Morgan.

Illinois simply had no answer for Morgan other than sending him to the free throw line. At the halfway point of Big Ten play, Morgan is one of the league’s most improved players and he showed why again on Wednesday night.

The Waynesville (Mo.) product finished with a game-high 25 points on 12-of-14 shooting and also added nine rebounds, three assists and a steal in 31 minutes.

He finished with a plus/minus of +9, the highest mark on the team in the loss.

· McRoberts continues to become more confident offensively: The days of Zach McRoberts passing up open looks appear to be gone.

McRoberts, who had seven points in Monday’s win over Maryland, scored a career-high 10 in Wednesday’s loss. McRoberts hit a pair of 3-pointers and is now 8-of-21 from deep on the season (38 percent).

That’s the best mark on the team among players with more than 20 attempts.

“I’m just taking open shots when they are there,” McRoberts said postgame. “Guys found me when I was cutting and I was able to put it in.”

· Illinois locks down on defensive glass in second half: After allowing Indiana to grab four offensive rebounds and score eight second chance points in the first half, Illinois cut off the Hoosiers on the glass in the second half.

Indiana has typically been a solid offensive rebounding team, but the Hoosiers had just one offensive rebound in the second half. When you combine Indiana’s lack of second chance points in the second half with its inability to hit from the perimeter (0-of-4), the offense stagnated.

The Hoosiers managed just .84 points per possession in the second half after scoring 1.15 in the first half.

Indiana played well enough defensively to win, but turnovers, poor perimeter shooting, missed free throws and a lack of offensive rebounding in the second half were ultimately too much to overcome.

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  • sarge

    RoJo was always good at that, but I think he has a different role playing the best perimeter option for the other team.

  • sarge

    He is a freshman. I think he has played great this year and has certainly beat his expectations. You could be right, but usually players get better in time, not regress. I think he might be starting by his JR year.

  • sarge

    Yeah, but they got better in other areas of the game just like AD will. There are lots of great athletes that suck at basketball.

  • sarge

    We lost the free throw battle and the turnovers killed us. I don’t know about rebounds, but I thought we had to win all three areas to pull out the W. It really is amazing we had a chance.

  • sarge

    You are right Arch, you are right. I hate it when any of the players get criticized unfairly over and over. I have been a little disappointed in CH as well, but I realize him and JMo have had a difficult time with all of their injuries so I cut them some slack. But CH has been struggling with his shot and selection. He also seems to have lost a step and no longer seems to be in the right place at the right time like I was accustomed to seeing from him. DG gets some criticism because everyone can see his potential to be a difference maker. I think JN is much the same and is a senior as well. I hate posters who are only negative or who only say the same things consistently. Enjoy the game, and support your team please.

  • sarge

    I get what you are saying, but who doesn’t love any player who gives it their all? Effort and toughness have been lacking at times this season. I agree about CH, he can play much better. But it is hard to knock a player like ZMac, you just love the intensity he brings. I appreciate the players from the state too because I have come to respect them after following them. So I agree, and maybe I am guilty of being one of those people you are talking about although I don’t focus so much on whether they are white or not. I loved Yogi for the same reasons and who doesn’t love a player like Victor who wasn’t even from Indiana. They are all great Hoosiers to me. Some people are ignorant too, and they can be found anywhere, not just in this state.

  • sarge

    Damn, you guys are startin to make me get emotional for these guys. I love them because of who they are and I am proud of all of them for the way they are playing, despite the loss at Illinois. I wish they could have found themselves earlier in the season so they could make more postseason noise. But I will be rooting for them all season long no matter.

  • sarge

    VJIII was awesome. I still say we smoke UK if he plays. I miss that guy.

  • sarge

    He has played poorly for a few games now and I think most people have seen it and wonder when he will bounce back like RoJo’s jumpshot. It’s good to see him knocking down some 3’s again. He needs to share his secrets with CH!

  • sarge

    Yeah, him and DG have been clutch from the line at times. We could have used more of that anytime during the game.

  • sarge

    I was disappointed with how some treated DD too. All the guy did was work all summer for the season and people kicked him while he was down.

  • sarge

    Win as a team, lose as a team.

  • sarge

    I said at halftime we should have been up by 10-15 instead of 6. You could feel that Illinois wasn’t going to give up, and they didn’t. We should’ve put them away in the first 20.

  • sarge

    They shouldn’t. The were in the double bonus with 11 minutes to play. It was a factor in them getting back in the game when they had no offense going.

  • sarge

    good post!

  • sarge

    They actually stepped out twice that I saw on baseline drives with neither being called.

  • Bud Jenkins

    Is the NWO teaming up with the deep state and CIA to ensure the sheeple stay in line… or maybe is a series…

  • sam

    That’s mostly the reason.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I love the passion and am jealous…..the dumb comment is their fans wouldn’t know a correct call if it bit them…..they boo good calls just to boo and let’s not forget the chant they have for IU. They are dumb. Hope that helps you to understand