The Minute After: Purdue

  • 01/19/2019 5:05 pm in

Thought on a 70-55 loss to Purdue:

The hits just keep coming for your 2018-2019 Hoosiers, the latest punch delivered from rival Purdue inside a rocking Mackey Arena on a wintry Saturday afternoon. Today’s loss marks Indiana’s fourth straight. The Hoosiers are now under .500 in conference (3-4) and just 1-5 on the road this season.

The surging Boilermakers didn’t play lights out in this one, but they didn’t need to against an Indiana squad struggling to find an identity on the floor. It remains true the Hoosiers are still among the most efficient shooting teams in the country, as they entered today’s contest with the 12th best effective field goal percentage (56.4) and seventh best 2-point field goal percentage (58.0) in the country.

But Tim Miles and now Matt Painter have laid the blueprint for how to take away Indiana’s efficient scoring around the bucket. Pack the paint, keep them out of the lane, and turn them into shooters.

While Indiana’s 3-point shooting has improved in Archie Miller’s second season, it’s still not good enough to bury the opponent. And it’s been particularly awful in its last two contests, as the Hoosiers have shot a combined 6-of-34 from distance, including 4-of-20 today. Purdue essentially dared Zach McRoberts, who hadn’t scored since November, to shoot all game, leaving him open and bringing an extra defender where needed. The Carmel native missed all four of his 3-point attempts. Though it should be noted he did make two shots inside the arc.

Romeo Langford has his worst game of the season and the “overrated” chants came from the Paint Crew more than once. Langford picked up two early fouls. And when he returned in the first half, a pass he threw got picked off, he allowed¬†Nojel Eastern to score on him on the other end, and then he turned the ball over again. He just never found any rhythm in this one, shot just 2-of-10 for four points and went 0-of-4 from the line.

Beyond the woeful 3-point shooting, the Hoosiers reverted to early season form in the free-throw department, hitting just 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) from the line. That’s just bad.

Add it all up and the Hoosiers scored only .87 points per possession for the game. Juwan Morgan (14 points) did what he could against the size of Trevion Williams and Matt Haarms, though on the other end, he got beat three times by Haarms on slips to the basket as Morgan paid a little too much attention to Purdue’s perimeter threats. Justin Smith was a bright spot for the Hoosiers on offense today, hitting 7-of-8 from the floor en route to a season-high 15 points as he scored in a variety of ways.

Indiana kept it close enough at half (33-26) to make a game of it after the break. But as Purdue came out hot from distance after shooting just 1-of-9 in the first half, the wheels pretty much fell off and Indiana never seriously challenged as it just played out the string to another inevitable loss.

Where the Hoosiers go from here is anyone’s guess. Tuesday’s game at Northwestern is certainly winnable.

But with the way the last two weeks have gone, can you really expect a victory?

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