Notebook: Green leads way for Hoosiers in wire-to-wire win

  • 02/09/2018 11:34 pm in

Led by sophomore Devonte Green, Indiana dominated Minnesota at Assembly Hall, 80-56, sweeping the season series in convincing fashion.

The Hoosiers (14-12, 7-7 Big Ten) got out to an early lead and never trailed en route to their second consecutive victory.

In his second straight start, Green was sensational. The sophomore put it all together – handles, passing perimeter shooting and defense – to record the best performance of his Indiana career. Green only needed seven shots to score 19 points and added seven assists, four rebounds, and three steals in 31 minutes.

Instead of the frantic and risky playmaking Green has reverted to at times this season, he was calm, cool and calculated on Friday night. When he did take chances, they were high-percentage ones, like the picture perfect one-hand outlet pass to a wide-open Juwan Morgan for a layup.

“It’s not always a home run,” Archie Miller said of¬†Green after the game. “You can go for the single every once in a while, and I think he started to go for the singles. He’s starting to make some really good decision on pick and roll situations. He’s starting to be a guy that has his head up and is looking for people, and then every once in a while, you’re going to see him make a couple plays that a lot of people can’t make because he’s really talented.”

It’s not just Green’s offense that has been the catalyst for Indiana’s two-game winning streak.

His on-ball defense,¬†along with the rest of his team’s, has been superb. The Gophers were held to 33 percent shooting as a team, and not a single Minnesota player shot even 50 percent.

“The energy level is up,” Miller said. “Guys are really working on the ball, which is something we struggled with at times this year, just not tough enough on the ball. From a positioning standpoint, from an energy level off the ball, guys are really aware. You see a lot more deflections, a lot more blocked shots. I think defensively we’ve done a better job just understanding how we play. We’ve got more experience playing with one another now.”

As Indiana continues to improve on defense, the advanced statistics have begun to make the difference measurable. According to KenPom, the Hoosiers now boast the second-best defense in Big Ten play, holding opponents to 0.99 points per possession. That number represents a complete turnaround from 2016-17 when Indiana allowed 1.11 points per possession in conference play, dead last in the conference.

If the Hoosiers defense remains on this trajectory, it could be a scary sight for the rest of the conference.

“It was just finally breaking through that door (defensively), and once we did that, we’ve just been on a roll now,” Morgan said.

Johnson’s louder leadership

Although reserved at times, senior Robert Johnson has grown into a leader Indiana can count on. Johnson scored in double-figures for the second game in a row and the 19th time this season, putting up 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Johnson’s 11 points bring his collegiate total to 1,325, good for 27th in program history.

Perhaps more consequential than Johnson’s shooting was his ability to impact the game in a variety of facets. The senior has been a leader on the defensive end throughout the season, and that was the case again tonight, as he blocked a shot and recorded two steals.

“Rob guards the other guy’s best player the whole game,” Miller said. “He’s locked in on that end, which is great to see. I think tonight if you look at him, he made a lot of really good passes — four assists, zero turnovers, he was unselfish, and he defensive rebounded for us.”

Archie Miller said in his first days as the head coach of Indiana, he found Johnson to be more reserved. Now, he says the senior has blossomed into a true vocal leader.

“(Johnson is) way more vocal than he’s ever been, just in terms of being able to talk to the players, being able to communicate in huddles, the practice reps that he gets, he’s been a stud in that realm,” Miller said.

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  • Ole Man

    Excellent write-up, Josh.
    Reading that was watching the game play out again in my mind.

  • Tenacious Newt


  • JimmyChittwood

    this dude…

  • ChitwoodIN

    This Green guy…he could be something special. LOL.
    I’m just being facetious for those who will read that in a serious manner.
    Absolutely LOVE the defensive side of Archie!
    I’ve never been a big fan of the 102-98 scoring type of game. I’d much rather see a team get smothered by D. I guess I’m just old school.
    Side note though….free throws ?.

  • ChitwoodIN

    Addition by subtraction?
    Heck, at this point, I’ll try that! ?
    Thanks for the tip.
    I’m gonna see if that’ll apply at work as well!!!
    I’m excited now!!! Bahahaha

  • sd chuck

    An amazing job by Archie, to stick with his vision of what he wants his team to play like. IU basketball is in good hands and will only get better as time goes on, and more talent comes in. This defense is great to watch! Love the motion of the offense and now they are moving and looking for each other in a more timely manner. On to wed night and Ill!

  • sarge

    But he interviews everyone, players, coaches and recruits. The guy is everywhere and really has to be a big help to Alex and Co. He seems to be everywhere all at once, on here and social media and at games. This guy must be related to Zac McBobs!

  • Koko

    I got upset a couple times this game… a good way.
    I wanted them to hold Minny to under 50 points and was
    disappointed when they went over but then felt holding them
    to 53 would be great then they pumped in a three at the buzzer.
    It has been a while to see an IU team play like this…I’m giddy really.
    If there is an award for team improvement over the course of a season
    I think IU should get the trophy. Hard to pick one player’s improvement
    because it is a total team effort….sure Freddie and Devonte have come
    on strong but overall this team effort could take us to an NIT championship.
    And I’m not just blowing smoke….I think we can win the NIT this year with
    this team playing as it is. Unless of course we do something we have never
    done….win the B1G tournament. Then on to the NCAA tournament where we
    could make life hard for some higher seeded teams. It’s all good at this point.
    And next season can’t come soon enough!
    I have attention on New Albany…..It’s IU Baby!

  • vicbert caladipo

    Excellent well written article Josh.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I got that upvote…maybe cuz I’ve been saying it since last year. Josh is an excellent Journalist. Has been one too. His pieces flow so smoothly

  • vicbert caladipo

    I was in the journalism school. DR Burton was unbelieveable. A legend. Doubt he’s still with us…he would be 116

  • Mark Bando

    Wow, second best defense in the conference.

  • Mark Bando

    Wow. Amazing.

  • Ole Man

    thanks, if you’re referring to me. lol.
    but josh is becoming a heck of a reporter/commentator.

  • Arch Puddington

    Jaw dropping.

  • Kwang

    If you take KenPom’s numbers over the last ten games, we have the #3 defense in the country, behind only Virginia and Cincinnatti. So, technically, we have the best defense in the Big Ten right now.

  • AndyCapp

    Great input Kwang, thanks for that!

  • coachv

    thanks for that. things are looking up. a loss to illinois spoils the fun, tho

  • dennis powell

    The defense has become very good. It reminds me of the old days when you had as much fun watching them play “d” as you did offense. Thankfully Miller has finally seen what a few of us have known all along. We need DG on the floor and JN needs fewer minutes. Two months ago I would never have imagined how important McSwain would become to the success of this team. He can jump out of the gym and he gives us a quickness in the post that has been fun to watch. This has become a team of scrappers and I like it. If we had an outside game we would be really good.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Can’t wait for the next two IU wins,,,,then the Daytona 500!!!!

  • Bill Graham

    There has been one common factor when we play well and that is newkirks increased role. We need to start building for the future and newkirk is a big part of that. Also Freddie needs more of smiths minutes. Freddie is easily the most skilled player on the team and I just don’t see smith having that big of a role in the future. Also anyone who criticizes or had criticized mcswain or newkirk… you need to check yourself… criticizing their game and the amount of minutes they get is a direct attack on who they are as people. It’s also extremely disrespectful to coach miller because he is flawless and if your criticism obviously means you love purdue and pUKe… so please do us all a favor and stop posting/trolling on here. Josh will always start, devonte will never be given the keys, and we will continue to turn the ball over and lose in competitive games due to sloppy pg play.

  • Arch Puddington

    Man, what has happened to you? You used to make sensible posts, or so I thought. These days you seem determined to do battle with some generalized “you” with whom you disagree about everything. I’m not even sure what or whom you are denouncing in this case.