Nebraska knocks off No. 16 Indiana, 87-83

No. 16 Indiana opened defense of its Big Ten title with a crippling 87-83 loss to Nebraska on Wednesday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

The Hoosiers (10-3, 0-1 Big Ten) committed too many turnovers, missed too many shots and didn’t grab enough rebounds in falling victim to the upset-minded Cornhuskers (7-6, 1-0).

Indiana, which was led by 19 points from Robert Johnson, rallied from 12 points down in the first half to take the lead, then saw the same scenario repeat in the second half, as Nebraska surged from down seven to a six-point advantage, only to see the Hoosiers again regain the lead.

Only this time Indiana couldn’t handle prosperity after going up 73-70 on Johnson’s first basket of the second half with 4:39 remaining.

A Tai Webster layup and Glynn Watson three-point play gave the Cornhuskers the lead for good, and Indiana made far too many mistakes down the stretch to overcome the visitors, who enjoyed their highest scoring game of the season. Watson finished with 26 points and Webster with 21.

IU finished with 19 turnovers, only outrebounded Nebraska 43-37 while giving up 16 offensive rebounds, and shot just 43 percent from the field, including 11-of-25 from 3.

Joining Johnson in double figures were Thomas Bryant with 17 points and 10 rebounds, James Blackmon and OG Anunoby with 12 points apiece and Josh Newkirk with 11.

Blackmon had a chance to tie the game at 78 with 23 seconds left, but missed a left-handed layup, and Nebraska made enough free throws to hold on for the victory.

It was also an injury-riddle affair for Indiana, which saw OG Anunoby re-aggravate his left ankle injury in the first half before returning to the game, and Juwan Morgan was pulled to the ground by Nebraska’s Jordy Tshimanga in the second half, injuring his surgically repaired left shoulder.

14 comments

  1. IU women 1 win 0 losses in big ten road game at Penn State.
    IU men 1 loss 0 wins in big ten home game at IU assembly hall.
    T. Moren and ladies are Great.

  2. Thoughts on the game…

    I’m actually starting to laugh when I watch JBJ play defense… he does this thing where he gets into a really good stance and gives his man a death stare like he’s going to dominate him, but he’s 6-8 feet off him so it’s pointless…

    Why the flulclk does TC insist on playing zone for any extended period of time… once they score on a couple straight possessions IU has to get out of it… it was good when they first went to it, but the stubbornness of sticking to it lost them the game.

    Newkirk does nothing to help the team and plays the most minutes. It’s mind boggling… he can’t even cleanly catch an outlet pass.

    I count on RJ to be the backcourt IQ, it sucks to see him commit stupid fouls and take himself out of the game. I hope after tonight he realizes how important he is and doesn’t let it happen again.

    Our bigs did a terrible job of finishing down low… TB missed a couple bunnies, but he ended up finishing some tough ones… OG was not good within 2 ft, and he should have easily finished with the left at the end, but he decided to go with 2 hands which let the defender back in the play. Davis needs to finish with confidence – he’s too talented and strong to not shoot 60% down there.

    Hope Morgan is ok… obviously it’s tough to watch him have the same thing keep happening, but more so he is just so important to us on both ends of the court.

    Our guys freak out if we don’t get something easy and early in the offense. They just lose all confidence that they’ll get a good shot if they remain patient and low risk. They have mismatches all over with our bigs, but the offense is rarely set up to take advantage of it… TC still hasn’t figured out that they need to get that man out of the ballside corner to make it easy to enter the ball in the post.

    My theory about long layoffs is gaining more traction in my brain… almost time to do some historical research.

  3. Bet the against the Hoosiers vs the spread (and probably to lose outright) @ Michigan on 1/26 and @ Iowa on 2/2…. they come after 5-day and 6-day layoffs respectively.

  4. I have to agree this is becoming a frustrating situation. Regardless the cause, the responsibility is upon the coach to “fix it.” Unfortunately, seem to keep coming up short in that regard. We continue to see these tendencies and they never seem to correct themselves. I sure we could come up with a lot of excuses, but the simple fact of the matter is the execution on the court stinks. How do you beat Kansas and North Carolina, then lose to lesser opponents?

    The only thing bugging me is if we say TC got out coached or can’t coach, then did he out coach Bill Self and Roy Williams? I don’t think so, yet IU beat them. The is something about these type Crean teams that has never made any sense. How can they look like world beaters one game and the JV the next?

  5. I don’t understand the long stretches of zone either except maybe to cover up RJR’s weakness. I would think some pine-time, running bleacher steps and several 20 minute 1 on 1, man to man D instruction lessons would make the need to improve the weakness paramount in his mind. All the 1’s and 2’s could benefit from the same.
    It would be such a positive benefit to have 2-3 set offensive plays against a zone and an = amount facing man to man for those “have to score” possessions and the shot clock is half gone. Those could be installed upon successful completion 1 at a time.
    But I am fast believing Crean does not know how to fix the play that needs to happen to make this team elite.

    1. Pretty much. We ran the table in the Big Ten last year under an extremely favorable schedule.

      This year was going to be curious. This is a really talented team. But after a half a season, weaknesses have been exposed (most look really familiar). We don’t have reliable point guard play. As Geoff said, all the minutes going to Newkirk ensure that.

      For the rest, we can just copy and paste the criticisms of Crean’s teams again. Struggle in the half court, turnovers and perimeter defense.

      This year, we still have a pretty favorable Big Ten schedule, but not as sugary as last year.

      We should have cut down the nets after the UNC have.

  6. This team does not seem to realize that they are going to see their opponent’s best effort on a nightly basis. That’s all part of being mentally prepared and mentally tough and that’s on the coach. Turnovers seem to be a mainstay of the Crean era. That may be partly due to his preferred style of play. Let’s hope that after the Louisville game we don’t hear things like ” it’s only December. “

  7. Despite strong offense capability, IU has some glaring deficiencies. I would sit Newkirk. He is a liability handling the ball, a mediocre shooter and a poor foul shooter. I would let Johnson be the primary. DD needs to develop some post moves. I am surprised a high level recruit has so few offensive skills on the paint. I don’t know what can be done to improve Blackmon’s defense. Opposing guards blow by him as if he were standing still. The other teams know this and exploit it putting pressure on the other players. Please tell me why McRoberts is even on the floor. He hustles but he does not have Division 1 skills. Coach Crean needs to figure out some things very quickly or this season is not going to go as planned.

    1. HH, you couldn’t be more wrong about DD in the post… he is BY FAR the most skill post player. Not sure what you’ve been watching, but he is varied and has nice touch… can use both hands. He’ll end up being a better college player than TB.

        1. He’s a lot more fluid than TB for sure, and naturally bigger… he just needs a little time to adjust to the speed of the game and he’ll be good to go.

      1. Geoff,
        I hope you are right as IU is really going to need DD with Bryant gone next year. I agree DD has good hands and is a very good passer, however he misses a lot of chippies around the basket and I have not seen him hit short range jump shots. He got a late start, so maybe with time, his offense improves.

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