Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Ohio State

  • 02/24/2018 4:07 pm in

Indiana’s regular season concluded on Friday night with an 80-78 double overtime loss to Ohio State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The loss dropped the Hoosiers to 16-14 overall and 9-9 in the Big Ten.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Buckeyes:

· Poor free throw shooting again proves costly: Indiana has been the Big Ten’s worst free throw shooting team in conference play all season and on Friday, the Hoosiers once again struggled from the line.

Indiana shot just 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) on free throws on Friday and it was one of the reasons the Hoosiers were unable to get over the hump.

With the regular season complete, Indiana is 338th in the country in free throw shooting (64.7 percent) and last in the conference. For a team with little margin for error offensively, consistently bad performances from the line have often been too much to overcome.

· Durham and Smith provide major lift off the bench: Like most freshmen, Al Durham Jr. and Justin Smith have had their share of ups and downs in their first college season.

On Friday, Durham Jr. and Smith showed why they both have a chance to be major contributors the rest of the season and in future seasons in Bloomington. Smith finished with 16 points in 37 minutes and Durham Jr. had seven points in 11 minutes.

The 6-foot-7 Smith has scored in double figures in four straight games.

“I think you’re seeing a guy with a lot more confidence,” Archie Miller said. “I mentioned he’s playing tougher on both ends of the floor. He had some moments tonight where he had a hard time guarding (Jae’Sean) Tate.

“But as a freshman versus a senior, you hope one day you look down the line and he’s able to do that to somebody. But he’s building confidence that in the offseason that he should go into the offseason ready and motivated. And I think he can obviously be a game-changer as a sophomore with the amount of experience he’s gotten.”

· Morgan battles through foul trouble for another productive performance: Despite foul trouble that limited his minutes in the loss, Juwan Morgan put together another solid performance in Friday’s loss.

Morgan played 35 minutes and finished with a team-high 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals, two blocks and four turnovers. He struggled from the free throw line (5-of-12), but managed to play the game’s final minutes and two overtimes with four fouls.

“He’s given everything he has,” Miller said. “He’s probably running on fumes right now here at the end, the amount of minutes he’s played, what we’ve asked him to do defensively and offensively. He’s had a great year. I hope he’s rewarded for that in the next couple of weeks because he’s earned obviously an All-Big Ten player. If there’s a guy that’s more valuable to their team than he is to ours, that’s going to be debatable there.”

· CJ Jackson made a great play to win the game: When Morgan scored a go-ahead bucket with just over seconds to go, it looked like the Hoosiers would seal up their 10th Big Ten victory.

But as it has all season, Ohio State made a winning play when it mattered. Junior CJ Jackson, who has been terrific in Chris Holtmann’s first season, launched a 25-footer with just over three seconds remaining and connected to lift the Buckeyes to their 15th Big Ten win.

“I haven’t seen the film yet to see what we could have done better,” Miller explained. “That’s a special situation type of thing as a coach that will haunt you for a long time; that with no timeouts, or a made basket coming down full speed, you weren’t organized or weren’t able to get the spot, looked like a broken play.

“But credit him in making a great shot. And they’ve had a heck of a season.”

· Robert Johnson’s heartfelt senior speech: Senior speeches are always a special moment at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Friday night was no different as five seniors were honored following IU’s heartbreaking loss. Most of the speeches were brief, but the most memorable of the night came from Robert Johnson, who spoke for seven minutes and showed plenty of emotion.

You can watch the complete speech from Johnson below:

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  • coachv

    right about newkirk. osu player showed drive to the basket, then pulled up, leaving him off balance long enough to get the long 3 off. not his fault

  • Oldguyy

    Wasn’t that fun? I enjoyed that more than the unbeaten ’76 team, both because they improved so much, and because they were so dominant in the tourney. I’ve hoped so many players would have the light bulb turn on like Landon Turner’s did that year, but it’s never happened to that extent, although Troy Williams after the Michigan State game a couple years ago came close.

  • Ivan Renko

    Nothing personal, but go to ESPN or CBS Sports if you want clickbaity articles and uncorroborated BS.

    The ITH crew does a great job covering all aspects of IU basketball in a way that upholds journalistic integrity, not to mention they all exhibit extremely strong understandings of the game’s intricacies and nuances. I can’t think of more than a few other sites dedicated to a single college basketball team that provide such detailed and expert analysis. Hard to find at the major news outlets nowadays

    And I’ll end by saying this site’s value lies almost just as much in its community of regular commentators and discussors as it does in the content that Alex and his team provide. Very special community here ITH

  • IdahoHoosier

    ITH does a great job of wisely avoiding political, unsubstantiated, and speculative journalism. If you are interested in IU basketball and topics related, I haven’t found a better site than ITH. I personally come to ITH to read solely about IU BASKETBALL, which is conveniently what the site purports to be about. If you want sensationalized drama stories, you won’t find many here.

  • Brad Antcliff

    Couldn’t disagree with you more, and find it a little disrespectful you posted this here for the editors to read (just criticizing without a constructive element). Of all the sports teams I follow, this is by far the best fan site in terms of quantity and quality of content, and probably the only site on the planet I find it fulfilling to read the comments section, as there is such a great community of informed Hoosier fans posting their opinions as well.

    You don’t have to like ITH, but you also don’t have to insult the crew that puts so much effort in to maintaining this forum. One of my favorite sites, man.

  • RbnsnCrusoe

    Where else can you find coverage like this? I’d like to read that too, cause I love this site. I find the editors here to be fair and objective. They focus more on the actual sport, then the political drama. ESPN, etc has all that well covered and, frankly, I find that boring. If you want more critical/negative analysis, simply scroll below each article. The comments sections are filled with discontent that should warm the cockles of your hungry heart. Keep up the good work ITH!

  • coachv

    what about it? i am not the ghost of jim valvano. not that i would mind

  • coachv

    the dilly dilly part. don’t be a shill for bud lite. the best beer to have around when you run out of water