Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss against Kansas

  • 12/16/2023 8:26 pm in

Indiana led by as many as 13, but couldn’t hold on late and fell 75-71 to Kansas on Saturday afternoon at Assembly Hall.

Here are five takeaways from the loss against the Jayhawks:

Indiana’s offense sputters in the second half

It was a tale of two halves offensively for Indiana.

The first half saw the Hoosiers shoot nearly 54 percent and score 40 points against one of the nation’s best defensive teams. Those 20 minutes helped Indiana build a lead and momentum in front of a raucous Assembly Hall crowd.

The second half, however, saw Kansas tighten the screws defensively and the Hoosiers wilt down the stretch as a result.

After a Trey Galloway layup made it 50-37 Indiana with 15:07 to play, Indiana scored just 21 points the rest of the way. The Hoosiers shot just 11-for-33 in the second half and were just 8-for-24 on 2s.

As brilliant as Galloway was – he finished with a career-high 28 points – Indiana’s frontcourt didn’t provide the offensive help necessary to win.

Kel’el Ware was just 1-for-6 from the field in the second half and Malik Reneau was 2-for-9. A combined 11 second-half points from its two leading scorers wasn’t enough for the Hoosiers to get it done against the nation’s No. 2 team.

“You could tell they were more urgent in their defense,” Galloway said of Kansas. “They were kind of really more focused and in a stance kind of doing more things to disrupt us, maybe trapping the handoffs, doing certain things to take us out of our rhythm.”

Defensive intensity wanes down the stretch

Both teams rode their starters for heavy minutes on Saturday. Kansas had four guys play 35 or more minutes. And Indiana had three guys play 37 or more minutes.

But only one team, Kansas, was able to dig in defensively when it mattered most and get stops.

Indiana, meanwhile, couldn’t do the same. Kansas scored 38 points over the game’s final 15:07. The Jayhawks shot 51.9 percent and scored 1.19 points per possession in the second half.

“I don’t think our defensive intensity was there the second half like we started the game and finished the first half,” Mike Woodson said postgame.

Fatigue likely had much to do with Indiana’s defense faltering in the second half. Kansas played four of its starters all 20 minutes in the second half.

But the Jayhawks, used to playing a short bench, seemed to get stronger as the game progressed.

Indiana, conversely, did not. Kansas got better looks in the second half as the game went along. Indiana wasn’t nearly as sharp contesting shots or making the Jayhawks work for the shots they got.

“For the most part I thought we played a solid game, but they made the plays coming down the stretch,” Woodson said. “The two threes they made were huge. Then the two buckets (Hunter) Dickinson hit in the paint was kind of the difference in the game coming down the stretch.”

Trey Galloway delivers an exceptional performance

It’s been a difficult start to Trey Galloway’s fourth season in an IU uniform.

But Galloway put those struggles in the past and played his best game as a Hoosier on Saturday afternoon.

The senior from Culver Academies scored a career-high 28 points on 12-for-17 shooting. He made two of his four 3-point attempts and took those perimeter shots confidently, which has been lacking early in the season.

He was also excellent getting into the lane to his floater and driving downhill at the Kansas defense.

Indiana has to hope Galloway can build off this type of performance, especially as Xavier Johnson remains sidelined with a foot injury.

“He had a hell of a game tonight. I was happy to see that,” Woodson said. “I just hope he can build on it.”

Kel’el Ware struggled from the field but still impacted the game

It was a challenging game offensively for Kel’el Ware, who shot just 3-for-12 from the field.

He never seemed comfortable with the ball in his hands, as Kansas brought pressure every time he had the ball. Ware turned it over three times, missed both of his 3-point attempts and never found a rhythm.

Some of Ware’s struggles in the second half might have had to do with the minutes he played. He didn’t come off the floor in the second half.

Despite his poor shooting performance, Ware still found a way to notch another double-double, finishing with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

He added two blocked shots, had two steals, and shot 5-for-6 from the free-throw line.

Indiana won’t have a non-conference win of note on its resume

Saturday’s matchup was Indiana’s last chance to record a non-conference win that will stick on the resume.

For more than 35 minutes, it looked like the Hoosiers might be able to knock off the nation’s No. 2 team.

But as it faltered down the stretch, Indiana now faces the reality that it didn’t accomplish what it needed in the non-conference.

By losing to 20 to UConn, 28 to Auburn and by four to Kansas, Indiana now has a non-conference resume without a win against a team likely to make the NCAA tournament.

That puts even more pressure on IU to rack up quality wins in Big Ten play. In a typical year, that wouldn’t be a problem. But this year’s Big Ten isn’t shaping up to be as strong as it typically is.

The Hoosiers are off to a strong 2-0 start in conference play, but will need to be several games over .500 to even get into the NCAA tournament picture.

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