Notebook: Johnson’s 3-point barrage lifts Hoosiers to victory

  • 02/17/2018 7:41 pm in

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Behind a record-tying performance from senior Robert Johnson, Indiana overcame an early 13-point deficit to topple Iowa 84-82 on Saturday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

In the 114th start of his Indiana career, Johnson had his best offensive performance as a Hoosier. Not only did he put up a career-high 29 points, but he tied a program-record with nine made 3-pointers.

“It just felt good,” Johnson said after the game. “The coaches and the team never (lost) confidence in me. So I just have to always have that in my mind. I think it really worked for me today.”

Although the nine 3-pointers stand out most, Johnson had a sensational all-around game. Besides the 29 points, the senior dished out four assists, grabbed a clutch rebound in the final seconds and only turned it over once.

The Hoosiers(16-12, 9-7 Big Ten) needed every bit of what Johnson gave them to earn the victory in Iowa City, especially because of their dreadful start.

After a series of brief delays in the opening seconds due to a faulty PA microphone and an errant horn, the Hawkeyes (12-17, 3-13) came out firing. Iowa hit its first 10 shots, jumping out to a double-digit lead before the first media timeout. Of the 10 makes, five were layups or dunks, two were two-point jump-shots and three were three-pointers.

“We (were) in big trouble,” Archie Miller said of Iowa’s hot start. “They shot 71 percent for the half. You couldn’t shoot 71 percent in shoot-around. It was forceful the way they were playing. They were manhandling us around the rim in the first four minutes. They used their frontcourt to really space us out.”

Iowa’s first missed shot came with 13:17 to go in the first half when Hawkeyes held a 23-10 lead. Indiana responded with a barrage of buckets to trim the deficit to a single possession going into the break, including two 3-pointers from Johnson in the last 80 seconds of the half.

The Hoosiers comeback set up a thrilling ending, as there were six ties and three lead changes in the second half. Indiana looked to have the game in hand with 11:06 to play and a 13-point lead, but unforced errors, including a 2:14 span where they had three turnovers, allowed Iowa to tie the score at 82 with just 1:50 left.

Green sets up McSwain for game-winning layup

The winning play for Indiana didn’t come from Johnson. Rather, it was two other starters, senior Freddie McSwain and sophomore Devonte Green, that were behind the game-winning bucket.

With 50 seconds left and the game still even at 82, the duo executed a flawless pick-and-roll, with Green feeding McSwain with a bounce pass for an easy layup.

“Being able to get a little bit of space, (McSwain) got a nice little break when Devonte made a heck of a pass to him on the roll late in the game,” Miller said of the play.

After the game, McSwain thanked Green on Twitter for the dish. Green, who finished with a team-high six assists. responded with a gif of an insurance ad titled ‘Droppin’ Dimes’ featuring NBA players Kevin Love and Damian Lillard as children.

Smith gives Indiana a bench boost

Not to be forgotten in Indiana’s win was the play of Justin Smith. With Juwan Morgan, Freddie McSwain and Zach McRoberts all picking up two first-half fouls, the freshman was called upon to produce inside.

That’s exactly what Smith did in his 12 first-half minutes, scoring 10 points, grabbing two boards and recording an assist.

The freshman also showed resiliency, throwing down a furious slam 29 seconds after being blocked by Iowa’s Jack Nunge on the previous possession. Smith finished with 15 points.

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  • Bill Graham

    Youre comment is hypocritical… think about it

  • Bill Graham

    Good one.

  • Bill Graham

    I’m not going to enter a pissing match with a skunk… I’m done with you

  • Bankshot

    You can’t beat me in any contest, especially basketball knowledge. Skunks are smarter than you. Haha

  • Neil Dixon

    No matter what happens this year now, I don’t think this team gets near the credit they should. I read the writers of the articles and commenters and none of them seem to acknowledge the huge handicaps IU’s team is operating under.
    IU is by far the shortest team in the Big Ten. Many times yesterday and in many games when the fouls add up they are playing with one forward and four guards against some fairly large opponents. Even the lowest rated teams in the Big Ten have more larger players than IU does. And they aren’t poor players either. Archie has done wonders with what he has. If they can continue to improve who knows what they might be able to do. They may even overcome their own conference’s biased treatment toward them. With the kind of work they have been doing and with even more improvement they might just surprise a few people.

  • CWheels

    Romeo hasn’t dangled anything. The impatient overzealous fans are the ones creating the issue. He has said from the beginning he’d announce after the season is over. He wants to watch the 3 teams and their coaching staffs for the season to see which fits him best. He’s an 18 year old kid about to make his first major decision of his life why shouldn’t he take his time and enjoy the process.

  • Ms hoosier

    I totally agree Vicbert! If he don’t come to IU so be it!! IU has the better coach and is a much better basketball program to play for!! With or without him IU will be a good team next year! I like what we got coming back and what we got coming in and we also don’t know who Archie will find with the scholarship he has available

  • Bill Graham

    I have some positive thoughts as well. I just happen to acknowledge the negatives as well…and look what happens. Really everyone is proving my point- nearly all of these replies are directly opposing the negatives… it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and just because I mention something needs improving does not mean I am attacking Archie… I’ve listed several good things also

  • vicbert caladipo

    Exactly and why I said he’ll be watching next years tourney from his couch when he could be going dancing with the players you mentioned. Not to mention having Archie as a coach. Vandy is so bad that 4 highly recruited freshman(3 5 star including him) aren’t going to make them pass more than half the conference. He is making a poor choice but it is his chcoice. If playing with your buddy is more important than winning he’s not the kid I want anyway. I will harbor no ill will towards the kid but I’m not every IU fan. He’s going to disappoint a lot of people in this state

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Awesome comment!!!

  • Mack

    I was comparing archies coaching to creans. If there was an area in which I thought Crean was a better coach I would have shared it. Are there areas we need to improve on, yes, but those areas are free throws and shooting and we are improving in those areas. Be it somewhat painfully slow. Our team hasn’t been taking bad shots all season though, we’ve been executing offensively and missing open shots. And free throws are of course really open shots. That has more to do with individuals working on their shooting mechanics and particularly their confidence. The team looks more confident in their shooting now then they have all season and I’m looking forward to the Hoosiers playing their best ball at the end of the season for a change. I was upset in the first half of the season like others and wanted to see green start over newkirk and see Smith get more time. Archie made them work for the job and they’re playing hard. Everyone is playing hard. I would have rather seen the changes sooner, but if he is trying to create a culture of working hard playing simple team basketball then go for it.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I agree and didn’t want my post to seem entirely critical of the kid. It’s the fans fueling the hype that I am tired of hearing about. I wish it was just done already. The only criticism I have of the kid is why wait? You know he knows already, that is why I said dangling the carrot. This drove me nuts when Crean got fired. There were sightings of Donovan in B’town…..Stevens getting a carryout Mother Bears and all the other rumors. I think it’s safe to say RL knows he is making us squirm and probably likes it. Who wouldn’t want that kinda power? I think if a kid TRULY doesn’t know who he’s picking is one thing but I’m sure he knows and should just come out with it instead of fueling the rumor mill. The more he fuels it the angrier IU fans are going to be when he announces Vandy. I don’t think KU fans will be that disappointed….one they always get 5 stars and lose 5 stars and he isn’t playing HS ball in Kansas. I honestly think he enjoys being pined over(who wouldn’t) and IU fans have the most to lose. So many I know are just dead set that he has to come here

  • coachv

    no. it’s a question. i don’t care what he was considered when he was in high school. what is it you expect from a point guard that green can’t do?

  • Tommy Morrsion

    I do appreciate your rationality and the fact that you are trying not to follow the herd mentality of praising the team without truly weighing it.

    I happen to think that this season has been very positive for the reasons I stated above.


    Like your comment and agree with a good portion of it, but I’m firmly in the camp that says that we’re not in the top 4 talent in the B1G.


    Agreed. Myself, I’d rather spend more time discussing the things that aren’t great/ need to be worked on, than the things that we are doing well. Not disregard the good all together, just not spend the whole time discussing the good.


    The, ” are the problems we are seeing just because of a first year of a really different style of play or is it going to be associated with the way that Archie coaches/recruits “, part is what intrigues me the most.

    Excellent comment.


    He has glasses heavily tinted cream and crimson, but also with a shading of having a complex.


    I want him to sign with us just as much for the precedent that it starts to set when it comes to instate talent as the fact that he would greatly help us….for one year.

  • Arch Puddington

    And if you had to guess, what is the answer? Is Archie the real deal, or just another mirage?