Hoosiers fall at Illinois, 67-66

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — It wasn’t a game-winning play. But the one that landed Al Durham at the feet of a row of Illinois fans, lying face-down, could have been.

It was a daring effort, as the Hoosiers’ 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard skied for an entry pass headed for Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn — a 7-foot, 290-pound monster Indiana just couldn’t keep out of the paint in the second half. Durham went up, poked the ball away, tripped into the stands.

He rested there for a second, gathering himself for a jog down the floor and a spot-up 3-pointer to cut the Illini lead to 62-60 with under two minutes left.

“I’m just trying to give all I’ve got out there on the floor,” Durham said. “Whenever I step out there, I’m gonna play like it’s my last game. I’m gonna give my all.”

There wasn’t the ultimate payoff Sunday in a 67-66 loss at State Farm Center. Durham, who led the Hoosiers with 13 points, felt contact on his arm on his next 3-point attempt, which fell short of the rim. No whistle.

Trayce Jackson-Davis would draw a foul with 13 seconds left, the Hoosiers still down by two. But both free throws missed. Rob Phinisee ended up with the rebound, but he was tripped up by Trent Frazier. No whistle. Turnover. 

That left the door open for Ayo Dosunmu to extend the lead to four points with four seconds left.

That made Phinisee’s 3 at the buzzer anti-climatic. It downgraded Durham’s hero sequence to just a spectacular hustle play in a losing effort. But in a Big Ten season where the Hoosiers finished just 2-8 on the road, something can be drawn from plays like these.

While the result didn’t break IU’s way, Durham and Co. did everything in their power to put themselves in the fight late. 

That’s what this time of year requires.

“Of course we’re gonna make some mistakes, but I feel like we’re all locked in,” Durham said. “We’ve all got one goal, and that’s to win the game, on the road or at home.

“It’s March. Everybody knows what time it is and what’s at stake. We just really got going.”

As the season goes, the Hoosiers (18-11, 8-10 Big Ten) are still in it. Despite back-to-back road losses to Purdue and Illinois, each disappointing in their own fashion, IU has a chance to solidify its NCAA tournament hopes in back-to-back home games with Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“We are good enough, that if we play hard for long stretches, to hang around and find a way to get one, which is what we have done in three of our last four road games,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “So I’m proud of that. And we just have to stay with it now in this last week as we go home. There are no gimmes just because you are at home.

“You have to stay with it in terms of your effort and your attitude, and you have to be committed right now.”

The Hoosiers showed their commitment to progress by shoring up two aspects that have dogged them on the road. They won the battle on the glass, 39-31. And unlike Purdue, when turnovers cost them late in the first half, the Hoosiers took care of the ball, surrendering just 10 turnovers.

That gave IU a chance to hang around, including a 36-all tie at the break.

But the balance tipped in the second half when Cockburn, who went into the locker room with just three points, exploded for 12 more. He did most of his damage at the free throw line, hitting 7-of-10 — including 6-of-6 in the second half — when the Hoosiers failed to deny.

There were big shots to keep the Hoosiers in it, including two 3s from redshirt freshman Jerome Hunter to give IU a 48-47 lead with under 13 minutes to go. Dosunmu, who scored a game-high 17 points, just came up with clutch shots of his own, including a 3 to respond to Durham’s tip-away-and-3 sequence.

On top of that, Jackson-Davis scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half. He added 12 rebounds, but he couldn’t add those two free throws to tie.

“There’s always pressure, but those were some big ones,” Jackson-Davis said. “They looked good coming off, but they were just too much.”

Now it’s time for the Hoosiers to have a short memory.

March may have not started how they wanted, but it can end in desired fashion. As long as they compete.

“Today, we executed better, and I thought we got some better play out of guys and we were able to score a little bit better. But I’m proud of our guys,” Miller said. “We competed this week hard. Came up short. At the end of the day, you cannot budge or flinch. You just have to mow down and get ready for Wednesday night.”

15 comments

  1. How ironic that on a day when IU made 83% of it’s FTs, we lose because our best player misses two with seconds left in the game. In relative terms, IU shot well today. Looking at the number FT Attempts each team had, it appears Illinois enjoyed some home cooking. I mean IL had 24 FT attempts to IU’s 12. Looks a little lopsided to me.

  2. Podunker..we also see WHAT might have been with ROMEO if he had stayed extra year at IU like Ayo Dosunmu has done with Illinois. As far as Im concerned ,IU has its foundation firmly planted. I thought we played very well and yes it was MORE than obvious to “home cooking”; good luck to Illinois where they wont get that “cooking” on neutral court.

  3. let me be the first to say i was wrong…..I truly believe this game would be a blow-out…Illinois winning by double digits. In really the team,IMO played a very good game. Personally I was just upset with Archie Miller substitution pattern. Just seem like Indiana had a very poor match-up with Illinois at certain times during the game. A win here would have basically guaranteed Indiana a place in the NCAA tournament, now I am not so sure.

  4. I was finally yelling at refs instead of our own team and Archie. I have waited forever to do this again. Maybe on right track?????

  5. I’m glad we stayed in it, but we had a chance to win this game & just didn’t execute in crunch time, for various reasons. Not only did TJD have a chance to tie, but he battled for that rebound & then Phinisee was flat out tripped. No foul called. Then the ball was tied up, which wouldve been our possession. Ball up for grabs & the tripper calls & gets a timeout during the battle. Their ball. It wasn’t the fouls that were home-cooked. Most were well deserved fouling Cockburn. He hit ‘em & TJD didn’t.

    We’re going to need that kind of home cooking this week. I don’t like these 2 match ups. MN is going to be hungry for blood & fighting to play on. WI is as hot as anyone & they are savvy. Straight up we have to win 2 games over the next 10 or 11 days. We can’t split this week & lose in game 1 of the Big Ten tournament. I’m still not sure that we are THAT team that can win by just being pissed & refusing to lose our next one.

    Win 2 this week & game 1 next week & we finish no worse than 21-12.
    Split this week & lay an egg in game 1 & we finish 19-13.
    Our tournament life begins or ends this week.

  6. I fcuking hate refs. Honest to god. For the life of me I can’t figure out why they’re so incompetent. It’s like a prerequisite for the job… “are you dumb as rocks and enjoy ruining perfectly entertaining basketball games?”
    Yes…
    “You’re hired!”

  7. Did I hear correctly…? DeRon Davis and Devonte Green could be the first Hoosiers since 1972 to complete four years in candy stripes without seeing an NCAA tournament? Wow…just…wow.

    How’d you like that footnote next to the five stars of your Hoosier short’s waistband upon graduation?

  8. Another year of possibly no March Madness…Concerned.

    Question: Will I live to see “Miller Time” before dying from a Corona?

  9. H4H Cockburn gives TJD a good reason to stay for 4 years because hes the SIZE he will see in the NBA; also Cockburn is a reason NBA teams going scouting around the world for draftees. For all the One and doners; there are a lot of European players and Australian players chosen ahead of them.

  10. No sugar tonight in my Kofi….No sugar tonight for the ‘t’…No sugar to stand beside me…No sugar for a tournament run with me.

    No sugar for AWinAZ. No sugar for mister Archie. Guess who’s not going to March Madness? Guess we’ll all soon see. Lonely feeling deep inside…..Geoff. Find a Maine corner where I can hide…Silent footsteps crowding me…We’re outside the bubble… It’s Joe Lunardi …Sudden darkness…I sure miss Bobby.

    1. ^^^ quality post.

      But you forgot the chorus….
      “Da da da da da da da devante, da da da da da da De’Ron”

      1. Good one, AWinAZ!

        Lonely feeling, we don’t post inside……Hoosiers find a a corner, with their offense to hide. Silent footsteps on the carpet of sky boxes in Assembly…Prima donnas…EVERYWHERE I CAN SEE! No sugar tonight in my Kofi…No referee’s whistle for Durham’s three! No technical ever from Archie? No chair to throw from Bobby? No water bottle to hurl at fumbling Phinisee… ’cause Crean took all the Dasani!

        BREAKING NEWS: We now know what LeBron said to Zion after the conclusion of last night’s Lakers vs. Pelicans game.

        Zion: “LeBron, I can’t believe you still have such amazing handles.”
        LeBron: “I can’t believe you still have amazing love handles…If I’m lyin’ , I’m Zion.”

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