Highlights from Archie Miller’s weekly radio show

After the Hoosiers snapped a seven-game losing streak on Saturday at Michigan State, Monday’s edition of the Inside IU Basketball radio show was upbeat.

Here are some of the highlights from Indiana coach Archie Miller’s hour on the airwaves:

— On breaking the losing skid: “We obviously had a very, very rough stretch. It starts to compound, not only with the quality of your play, but the quality of life around you. It becomes very difficult to work yourself out of that. One of the most important things we can do as a group is you only have a second half of conference season to focus in on. If we’re gonna be better, we have to start simple and focus in on a few things. … We got a lot of different contributions the other night. It’s evident that Devonte and De’Ron are important to what we’re doing. To get those two back and inserted into the lineup with two older players who have experience in big games (was a good sign). We had more contributions across the board. A lot of different guys had opportunities to make unselfish plays. It was a hard-fought battle that our guys were ready to play.”

— On tallying 21 assists on 28 field goals: “It’s amazing that the balls that go in are supposed to go in because you know the pass is correct and the player made the right read. It’s amazing how those balls always have a chance to go in, as opposed to the other ones that are one-on-one. We’re trying to make our teams harder to guard. I thought that assist total was a positive part of the game. The balls that were going in were going in off assists.”

— On De’Ron Davis’ impact off the bench: “He rehabbed really hard with Tim (Garl), did as much as he could conditioning-wise. You could see his mobility was back. Now it’s a matter of getting his wind. He was huffing and puffing for 12 of the 25 (minutes), but it’s a good sign he’s feeling good again. That’s important for him to feel like his legs are under him, his ankles and Achilles are strong.”

— On Justin Smith’s production: “I told him today in film he played the most complete (game) and his best game of his college career, by far. Defensively, he continues to be a guy we really trust. He battled on hard plays, the shot blocks he made, the timely plays he made. You can tell he’s engaged. Offensively, he really helped us in this game not by scoring points but by creating actions, moving and screening. … He was more agile, mobile. He created stuff and good things happened for us. No question, he played a good game.”

— On the team’s cohesion at Michigan State: “To win in there, you have to have a lot of things in check. One of the things is (making sure) nobody is straying very far from what we’re talking about doing, concentrating on defense and rebounding the ball. On offense, don’t lose your poise and patience. In the first half, we had one segment where we got worn out inside and we started to allow our offense to not move. We took some tough shots and took a timeout … to get us regrouped to say, ‘Hey, we gotta stick with it here.’ … We were able to fix that and finish the first half strong. At halftime, we felt good about where we were in the second half. It was clean play, for the most part.”

— On getting the team to understand how it needs to play: “Our film against Rutgers was (about) accountability. We go through it and talk about it. We have to say to ourselves that the first half of Big Ten is over. This is what we are. Can’t change it, but it can’t impact the back 10. Let’s just make sure, win, lose, or draw, that these are the things we have to do well. I think they saw the production go way up in a lot of areas when we do these three things: get back and play as hard as ‘you know what’. No. 2, move the ball. Get the ball moving. We’ve got to become a team that, when you watch film, we don’t say, ‘what are you doing there?’ The third thing is togetherness. Through the highs and lows of the game, you’re stressing to the bench and (during the) huddles positive communication. That was the disappointing thing through our rough stretch there. In that rough stretch, you lose your confidence in terms of just togetherness and points and positive encouragement. We let the negative really start to steamroll us for awhile. We didn’t do that Saturday, so hopefully we understand you have to take it play-by-play and make sure you’re not going off the script.”

— On his impressions of Iowa: “They really run. They’ve got an unbelievable break and pace. They have arguably, maybe one of the best one-two punches in the league in Luka Garza and Tyler Cook. … Their break is really tough to deal with. They have great shooting and they run motion. The thing that’s different about them is defensively, they’re the one team in the league that will play long stretches with different types of zones. … Offensively, you have to attack the different types of defense they toss at you.”

— On the play(s) that helped IU turn the corner and beat Michigan State: “There were a lot of big plays there. There were a couple times in the game where we had to step up and make some timely shots. I thought we had a run in the second half where Michigan State would score and get fouled, then we’d answer. Eventually, we made (four consecutive) 3’s to get the lead back.”

— A listener asked what Miller meant when he said the team has achieved leadership clarity: “I think it’s clear. At the end of the day, our leadership has to come from our older guys. You can ask your younger guys … (but) you need your oldest guys to have a voice of calmness and poise, and I think that just in looking at it, you want all those guys to be engaged here. I think Juwan (Morgan) and Zach (McRoberts) and De’Ron and Devonte (Green), I think those guys are in their third and fourth years of college. They have to be a rock, saying this is how it’s gonna be. We can’t have those guys not as engaged. I thought our Rutgers game, in particular, we needed better body language on the floor, better communication on the floor. I thought we did a much better job of having connection (at Michigan State). … We had a much different alertness about winning the game. It wasn’t about what was going on. It was about winning the game. There’s a difference in playing to win and trying to play well. When you play to win, you’re playing fearless. Romeo’s 3 off the loose ball rebound, he didn’t think one second about hoping it goes in. He shot it with confidence.”

— On the senior year development of signees Trayce Jackson-Davis and Armaan Franklin: “They’re both having a wonderful senior year. Armaan is having a wonderful season. He had a big win Saturday and won the city championship. He had 20-some (points) in that one. He’s a great kid. He’s really developed over the course of 20 months. … Trayce is really doing a nice job. I think he had 31 and 15 vs. Warren the other night in a really hard-fought game. Playing in the MIC, he’s playing against the best teams in the state of Indiana. He’s motivated right now. Listening to his coaches, talking to his dad, the thing that comes out is how he’s really embraced the hard work that’s needed to be a guy who everyone’s looking at going to Indiana.”

— On getting Evan Fitzner back on track: “Great kids, great workers, great team mentality guys, it can come back around for them. When you’re a fifth-year grad guy and you have one opportunity, sometimes when it doesn’t go well for you, they can shut down. He hasn’t shut down. … He’s always played hard defensively. I keep trying to get him to rebound the ball better, but the biggest thing with Evan here is can he continue to help us offensively by being the good offensive player he is, and not just shooting. (It’s) passing, catching, moving the ball.”

— On his feedback for Jake Forrester: “I think Jake has stayed the course. He’s got great spirit. He’s one of our highest-energy guys. He’s champing at the bit. We always stress to all the guys, hang in there. … I think he’s on pace right now to set the NCAA record with fouls per minute. I think he has nine fouls in the last four minutes of play. We have to find a way to get Jake experience. He’s learning how to play college defense. He’s got to use his quickness and show his hands in the post where he’s not wrestling. He’s learning the ropes. It’s a positive sign to see a young player in February get in there in big games and be able to contribute. I think our entire team should feel that way, but in particular Jake. He’s got a really bright future.”