Notebook: Hoosiers get revenge on Illini in ugly affair

  • 02/15/2018 7:40 am in

With 33 combined turnovers, 47 fouls and a whole lot of whistles, the crowd at Assembly Hall was treated to a slog of a contest on Valentine’s Day.

Most importantly, however, was the result. Despite how hard it was to watch, what matters is that Indiana picked up a key win over Illinois, 78-68, in the late stages of Big Ten play.

The Hoosiers (15-12, 8-7 Big Ten) received an enormous boost from the reserves, particularly from freshmen Justin Smith and Al Durham. The duo scored 27 of Indiana’s 38 bench points and were active on both ends of the floor.

“Now that we get game reps and practice reps, we are able to see how things are maneuvered throughout the defense,” said Smith. “We’re just getting more comfortable in the defense, we’re knowing where to be at the right times, when to do it. It’s just confidence building.”

“Freshmen, they go through ups and downs and good starts, bad games,” Archie Miller said. “That’s what a freshman season is. But moments like tonight, hard-fought win where guys make winning plays, they stick with you — that’s how you learn how to win. And these are experiences that will help them develop into really good Indiana players.”

Both drove into the teeth of the Illini (12-15, 2-12) defense often, drawing fouls and hitting shots inside. Add to that Durham’s 2-of-2 night from beyond the 3-point arc and Smith’s two offensive boards, and it was enough to help lift the Hoosiers to their third straight win.

It wasn’t just the pair of freshmen that were instrumental. Junior Juwan Morgan, like he’s been in nearly every game this season, was phenomenal. Although he didn’t have his best offensive performance of the season, putting up 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting, his defense was at an All-Big Ten level. In 37 minutes, Morgan collected five blocks and four steals. And those stats don’t quite do justice to his impact on the defensive side of the floor.

“(Juwan is) out as reliable as you can get,” Miller said. “He’s been a stud for us all season, especially as you come through these February games, he’s still playing really hard, really well. If he’s not a first-team, all-conference member maybe it’s because of our record. But I have a hard time imagining there’s an impactful player on a team that’s done as much as him for us.”

Turnover woes

Indiana has shown significant improvement this season when it comes to taking care of the basketball. Tonight was an exception.

The Hoosiers turned the ball over a staggering 18 times, tied for the game at Illinois for most turnovers in Big Ten play.

Many of the turnovers weren’t just unforced, they were inexplicable. Passes made way too late, failure to read the defense, and carelessness were the reasons for many.

“I thought we had some good possessions,” Miller said. “I thought we did some good things, but I thought we had some sloppy turnovers. And both games (against Illinois) kind of played out a little bit the same way except I thought we were better on the glass tonight and we made our free throws.”

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  • Bill Shomaker

    Nice win by the boys with some of the breaks going against them. Love to see how AM is keeping the bench engaged and different players are stepping up when others falter. This is the type of team I thought we would see this season and it is fun to watch.

  • TomJameson

    Turnovers were bad, probably the worse thing about this particular game. So many were just unforced … Bad passes mostly. But the defense is keeping this team in games, and in this game, the free throws probably won the game.

    B1G officials are the worse. I am convinced of that. Not going to say that IU was hosed, especially at the end of the game when they were seemingly called for a foul on almost every Illinois possession, but because they were just bad. Was also two goaltends that should have been called, and weren’t. Wow, can’t imagine what would have been if TV-Teddy were there. lol

  • HoosierBballNut

    I felt the same way about the Refs favoring Illinois toward the end of the game.. So much for Refs favoring the home court team :-/

  • BruceA

    Really enjoyed about 10-12 minutes of the game…the rest was hard to watch. But a win is win! Part of me wants to tell Juwan to “slow your roll” as his play is becoming next level stuff. I want him to be back next year! Go Hoosiers!

  • Banned on the Run

    I don’t get the “hard to watch” comments. THIS IS BASKETBALL. And Hoosier basketball, to boot. Sometimes it’s a ragged affair, but that’s part of the beauty.

    The stuff on the news channels yesterday…now THAT’S hard to watch.

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    This has been touched on multiple times this season. Juwan will be back. His game does not translate well to the NBA. His shot needs work. Hes too undersized for the post and too slow for the wing. He’s one hell of a worker and he deserves to make the leauge but he’ll just have to do it the unconventional way. Next year he can continue to dominate and be our stud senior anchor.

  • BruceA

    ALL FOR THAT!

  • VOXAC30

    The BTN jumped the shark last night maybe its just me but they said if your rooting for the BIG 10 in the tournament then you want the top 6 teams to win out…… WHAT! NO FLIPPING WAY! I want my team to win out and to go to the tournament I could careless about any BIG10 team other than my Hoosiers. When the last game is played by the Hoosiers is when I will care about the rest of the BIG10.
    Did anyone else see that and I’m just making a mountain out of a mole hill?

  • coachv

    was wondering if anyone else noticed the goaltends. even the stupid announcers didn’t

  • Ugly win but no panic from our squad just tenacity in getting it done. example: ZM did not have a typical game, but fought through to contribute with his D. I like this teams confidence in each other!

  • Alex Goodson

    I heard the same thing and just started laughing.

  • Hoosier in the Bend

    I hope you are correct. I read somewhere that OG was telling him to hurry up and get there. That is why I have been concerned we may lose him.

  • Lance76

    I heard the same thing about OG, which is why I think JMo is so motivated. I would be surprised if he did not get NBA feed back this year. Hope he does well what ever feed back he gets. He is a joy to watch on the court.

  • TomJameson

    They were both pretty obvious. The first one hit the backboard first before the “block” bounced it off the board and away. That “double bounce” off the backboard is sooooo easy to see, even in “real time”. Those officials were pretty incompetent. Just my opinion.

  • TomJameson

    Of course can’t say for sure, but they sure acted like they had a bet based on the spread. LOL

  • HoosierBballNut

    Haaa haa

  • coachv

    i think morgan needs to lose the baggie t-shirt. hard to look athletic in that. show your pipes. scouts want to see and you just appear to be more fluid and athletic in my opinion