The Minute After: Nebraska

  • 02/21/2024 11:43 pm in

Thoughts on an 85-70 loss to Nebraska: 

The Cornhuskers came to Bloomington losers of all seven of their Big Ten road games. Those losses came by an average of 12.4 points.

But tonight? They were victorious, easily leaving Bloomington with a 15-point victory.

It’s been that kind of season for the Hoosiers, where home-court advantage no longer exists. Indiana has now lost four of five at Assembly Hall, with three of those coming by double digits. Purdue thumped the Hoosiers by 21. The Nittany Lions beat them by 14. And then there was tonight’s 15-point loss.

Indiana’s first half was abysmal. The Hoosiers never led and went into halftime down 20 points (51-31), as boos rained down from the crowd.

“It’s part of it,” Trey Galloway said of the boos after the game. “I can’t really worry about that.”

Keisei Tominaga ran circles around Gabe Cupps, pouring in 18 points over the first 20 minutes of action. Tominaga shot 7-of-10 from the field, including a 4-of-7 mark from distance. Juwan Gary also got up 10 shots, hitting five, two of which came from deep. Overall, the Cornhuskers were red hot from the field. They hit 9-of-19 (47.4 percent) from 3-point range en route to 1.45 points per possession.

The Hoosiers on the other hand? They made just 1-of-11 (9.1 percent) from deep and only 12-of-32 overall, scoring .86 points per possession.

“When you give up 51 points, in the Big Ten in a half, you’re not gonna beat anybody,” Mike Woodson said.

Indiana stormed out of the gates in the second half. The Hoosiers got it going in the paint with looks for Kel’el Ware and Malik Reneau and drives for Galloway and Mackenzie Mgbako. CJ Gunn splashed home two 3-pointers. His second 3-pointer cut the lead to just three at 59-56 with 11:27 to play. But that was as close as Indiana would get. Nebraska then ripped off a 14-1 run to punch its lead back out to 16 (73-57) with 6:19 left. The Hoosiers never got it within single digits again.

With all its paint looks, Indiana had a lot of chances at the line in the second half but made just 8-of-15 (53.5 percent). At one point, Ware missed four in a row. Indiana mustered only a 14-of-24 mark (58.3 percent) from the charity stripe for the game. The Hoosiers remain the worst team in the Big Ten percentage-wise from the free-throw line. For the season, Indiana is shooting 65.7 percent on freebies, which ranks 340th in the nation. Indiana also made just 4-of-21 from deep (19.0 percent) tonight and thus was outscored 42-12 from the 3-point line.

So … where do things go from here? Well, the Hoosiers take on a Penn State team in Happy Valley on Saturday that just had a dramatic, come-from-behind win against Illinois tonight. Then it’s Wisconsin (home), Maryland (away), Minnesota (away) and Michigan State (home) to round out the regular season. Indiana is likely to play on Wednesday night of the Big Ten tournament. That’s six more games at a minimum.

At 14-12, can this Indiana stay above .500? The way things have been trending, it may be a tall task.

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