Indiana bests Minnesota, 72-67

When the Hoosiers returned to the defensive end of the floor Wednesday, they could hear Archie Miller yelling.

They could see him crouched, face tensed, arms flexed.

There was urgency from Indiana’s coach from the very beginning, an unbridled intensity. He wanted his players to put their collective foot on Minnesota’s throat and hold it there, suffocating the life out of their visitors.

But that’s not the way Wednesday’s game went. Like much of this season — a treacherous grind of ups and downs — it took some time for the Hoosiers to snuff out the Gophers in a 72-67 win at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

From an early 25-15 lead, it swung back to a 34-32 deficit at the half. There were several mini runs in the Hoosiers’ favor in the second half, too, but Minnesota — boosted by timely 3-point shooting and the length and athleticism of sophomore Daniel Oturu — squeezed the margin down to four points with 3:38 left to play.

The game came down to the final 218 seconds, the final home stretch of a race Miller has often referred to, leading to the home win the Hoosiers very much needed to improve their NCAA tournament odds. And just like their coach, the cream and crimson mustered the intensity to earn it.

The biggest producer was freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis, who finished with a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds — in a game Miller wasn’t sure he’d play because of a foot sprain.

There were other inspired efforts, too, including 12 points and eight boards from junior Joey Brunk. The same Joey Brunk who averaged just 3.9 points per game in his last 10 contests, or just 1.5 per outing in his last four.

The 6-foot-11 forward was one of five starters to reach double figures, including 52 points in the paint.

“Just wanted to stick with it, stick with the things that got me here,” Brunk said. “Not really switch that up.”

The game was somewhat a microcosm of Brunk’s season. In the first half, he was just 1-of-4 from the floor. That included a couple of ugly, out-of-rhythm misses.

But he stayed on the floor for 11-plus minutes, thanks to solid defense and, more importantly, staying out of foul trouble. In the second half, he was prepared to drive his team to the finish line.

Junior Al Durham shot the starting gun, leaking into the lane for a dump-off to Brunk to open the half. That lay-in opened 20 minutes where Brunk was 5-of-6 from the floor, including a myriad of strong post-ups underneath.

“I thought the whole key to the game was Joey Brunk,” Miller said. “His impact on the game on both ends of the floor, him being able to play as many minutes as he did, was huge. Finally got it going on offense a little bit, but rebounded as well.

“Big key to our team is trying to find him, getting him back into rhythm where he’s playing longer stretches.”

Brunk played nearly 28 minutes in all, logging his first double-digit scoring game since Jan. 23 against Michigan State.

Durham, who finished with 11 points, was another consistent playmaker in the second half. He threaded a bounce pass down the floor to Justin Smith for a transition dunk. He had a couple of drives for scores, much like sophomore Rob Phinisee, including a three-point play with 5:39 remaining to push the lead to 63-55.

Miller was happy to see his team attacking the rim, sans one specific result.

“Rob broke it down a few times, got a couple one-legged layups. Devonte (Green), Al was in the paint a bunch,” Miller said. “It’s an aggressive style when you’re attacking the paint — 9-for-17 from the line, that’s not good. We want to get to the line. That’s been a recipe for our team.

“It’s inside-out, attack the paint, offensive rebound, get the foul.”

IU (19-11, 9-10 Big Ten) was also just 3-of-15 from 3-point range, in contrast with Minnesota’s 6-of-17 success rate. But the Hoosiers came up with just enough defensive stops at the end of the half, holding the Gophers (13-16, 7-12) to 4-of-12 shooting in the final 7:35.

Oturu finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds, but it was on an 11-of-27 outing from the field. Minnesota’s only other double-figure scorer was Gabe Kalscheur with 14 points.

It was enough to pull out the first of two home games that could likely punch a ticket to the NCAA tournament. Wisconsin, the No. 24 team in the country, visits Saturday in the Hoosiers’ home finale.

But thoughts of the tournament aren’t what the Hoosiers are concerning themselves with now.

“We don’t really focus on it,” Phinisee said. “We focus on day by day, winning the practice. Really, we just want to tomorrow get after it in practice and do what we can so we can beat Wisconsin.”

32 comments

  1. The Butler did it! Jojo Brunk!

    Notice how much Jojo was combing his hand through his hair? It’s all in the hair! Move over ‘Mop Lady,’ Jojo B. finally starting to get some of his mop-swag back. The more hair, the better Brunk’s game. You know the next step you must take, Jojo…? Yes, the Walton headband…Seize the day.

  2. I’m glad SOMEONE could find some joy in that desultory charade.

    We are now solidly positioned to face Northwestern in the opening round of the Big 10 Tournament, and IF we can beat them on a neutral court, then we will be treated to a re-match of Iowa on a neutral court.

    Unless I.U. can pull off an upset against a red-hot Wisconsin team peaking at the right time……

    Any predictions?

    1. Odd thing is, assuming we get into the tournament, I actually think this team could be a surprise in March Madness. We’re deep…We’re solid up front…We’re healthy…We play defense far better than most of us realize (because we are facing pretty darn solid teams).
      Just takes getting through that first round game….and then you just never know. A team can gain momentum and confidence very quickly in the Big Dance.

  3. 53% FT shooting. 20% of our 3-point attempts made. How did we win this game? I guess having only 10 TOs helped. Brunk played well, but it is so painful watching him shoot free throws. Somebody please help that fine young man.

    Good God this has to be the worst shooting team in IU Basketball history. I’m delighted we won, but I’m still trying to figure out how. What is that, 19 wins and we’re 9 -10 in conference? I guess that’s progress. But if we don’t improve out shooting come Saturday, it’s going to be a very sad Senior Day. The good news is that we can win two games in the tournament. 21 or 22 wins this season would be real progress.

    1. PO, worse IU shooting team? Following review of the last 13 yrs. FG currently .445. Two yrs lower, 2008/09 @ .430 and 2009/10 @ .416. (best @ .502 15/16). 3s currently @ .320. Only last yr lower @ .312. (best 2015/16 @ .415). FT currently @ .681. Last yr lower @ .655 and prior yr @ .637. (best 2007/08 @ .759). Random look at 1986/87 – FG @ .513, 3s @ .508 and FT @ .767. Those are the yrs we remember.

  4. Gotta call out the fans. Lotta empty seats tonight. So much for the best fans in college hoops. We’re weak. Indiana is just a dying brand. Apathy, sullenness, malaise. Are there gas lines in Bloomington?

    I missed one half of one game when I found out my roommate was in a bad car accident while I had bleacher seats on the North side vs Penn State (he was ok). This was what I missed in my time as a student at IU.

    This is pathetic. We’re fighting for a tournament spot and no one shows up. Only one more game left. But who cares I guess. Probably at home watching Ohio State football reruns.

  5. California now under a ‘state of emergency’….Hard to figure if there will even be a March Madness if the coronavirus starts multiplying even more rapidly. Travel could be much more restricted in a couple of weeks….especially in the coastal areas.

    1. You know, I take that back. Hadn’t figured folks in Indiana were thinking much along those lines (hasn’t seen any cases). There are a couple hundred here. And those are only reported.

      100% wrong on my last post.

      Carry on.

      Thanks Harv.

      1. I watched the game …and I honestly didn’t see lots of empty seats. The crowd certainly seemed flat during some stretches, but that’s nothing new. I simply don’t think a lot of students care anymore….I don’t know all the reasons for such apathy (maybe it’s just all the offerings of sports on television) .
        Maybe things will be louder this weekend….

        I wasn’t implying our fans aren’t showing up because of the coronavirus. I’m paranoid…but not at that level yet. But I do wonder how it will be justified to send large groups of students and teams during March Madness into “hotbed” areas of the virus as spreading continues.

        Airports are already looking like tumbleweed towns….

    2. The NBA put out a notice, the players should refrain from ‘high 5s’. The NCAA today announced a panel to review options relating to the virus. Can the NCAA solve anything in two weeks? They also said an option – play the games with no fans in attendance. See where the President has a ‘hunch’ the virus death rate is wrong. Wow.

  6. Good game. 10 TO’s – 14 assists. Focused feeding the post. D really disrupted their guard play. Strong W by a team not shooting well. Rebound, rebound and rebound is the needed mantra when shooting % is not where it should be. These lads wearing C & C do hit the boards. Our guards were aggressive.
    Somebody please break Green’s dinner plate and tell him he doesn’t live here no more. I don’t care if he hits 4 3’s in a row the majority of everything else he does on either end of the court is a negative to the team. You can’t mix even 1 bad apple with the good 1’s.

  7. HC, this is a sincere question. If Green is as bad as you say he is, why does Archie continue to give him so many minutes? Is our freshman guard sick/injured? Is he worse than Green? I don’t disagree with you about Green’s negative tendencies and bad decisions, so why does Archie continue to play him so much? I truly do not understand.

  8. I’m happy that Richard Pitino is the dumbest coach in the B1G now that Crean is gone. He defended one on one vs the post all night. Painter has shown that you double the post vs IU and make our guards beat you (which the generally can’t). Indiana tore up the paint one on one last night.

    I expect that Gard won’t make the same mistake. The Badgers are going to come swinging into AH. We better be ready.

  9. Surprised no one is talking about the beat down that the IU baseball team put on Purdue yesterday. Wasn’t. Even. Close. The baseball team is going to be fun to watch and a lot of good young players on the roster.

  10. Since Covid-19 came up above, I want to provide everyone exactly what I received from Anthem, my healthcare provider today. Bottom line….a mutation of the common cold (which also has no cure), risk in US is low. Recommended steps; wash hands. Wow…sounds lethal doesn’t it?

    “About coronavirus (COVID-19)
    What is coronavirus and COVID-19?
    Coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause respiratory illness — an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a strain of coronavirus. It’s part of the same family of coronavirus diseases that includes the common cold.

    What are the symptoms?
    The most common early symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after infection. Symptoms can be mild to severe. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

    How does the virus spread?
    Like many other viruses, COVID-19 seems to spread from person to person through a cough, sneeze, or kiss.

    What is the risk?
    As of today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the risk in the U.S. is still low. It will update the status regularly on the CDC website.”

  11. Green has a different first name in my house during a game. It begins with “F” and ends in “ing”. As I’ve said before, overall he is a net 0 at best. The value he adds = the value he gives away. He had a great assist feeding the post to TJD on 1 possession. And an even better one to Oturu at the 3 pt. line. The dude has no clue. I suppose Archie sticks with him because he draws attention to the perimeter by the defense, opening up the inside for TJD. Without him, our outside shooting threat is even closer to 0 than it already is.

    H4H, Joey Brunk = modern day Samson, whose secret of strength came from his hair. I believe! I’m also liking the way Phinisee and Durham are playing right now. They’re on a bit of a roll here over the past 4 games.

    Both teams have a lot at stake Sat. Wisconsin has a chance to win the Big Ten. We have a chance to improve our seed in the Big Ten tourney & stay inside the bubble. These games ARE our tournament. If we can’t beat Wisc. @ home & Neb. on a neutral court, we don’t deserve to go to the tournament anyway.

    In my own mind, I see 20+ wins and a tournament bid as progress. It is a marker that we are back to where Crean got us with an even better basketball DNA now. Better coach, better brand of what wins and what is sustainable longer term. Archie is building a program which will be steeped in 3 & 4 yr talent with a handful of 4 & 5 ‘star’ difference makers. I’m on board & I think having our current So. and Jr. back next year will make a huge difference.

    At the same time, I want more. I want our tournament bids to be opportunities to put up more banners. But first, you can’t win it if you don’t get in it. But, let’s be honest, this team has no prayer of getting past a sweet 16. That’s the ceiling. The floor is not getting in. We just don’t have the required basketball intelligence yet to contend for titles.

    As for the Big Ten tournament, I can’t think of a team that has a better chance at making some noise that has to play on Wed. or Thr. We have the depth to spell minutes & overcome foul trouble. But is it enough to get us to Sat.?

  12. I guess I have a little more belief in this team.

    I honestly don’t want us playing deep into the BigTen tournament. It’s beyond redundant and meaningless additional basketball after a 20 game conference season.

    There is major talent on this team and I’m glad we’re flying under the radar. I don’t see an Elite Eight as out of the realm. One at a time. First kick the Badgers back to Madison….and get a bid on Selection Sunday. Play your best basketball forward…

    I do feel we’re playing far more like a cohesive unit than a month ago. That’s a big plus ….rather than fading a searching for chemistry.

    Like I said, my opinion of Green used to be skewed toward the negative (like many of you) because of the inconsistencies…I don’t get as upset about it anymore. I became a much bigger fan of the young man for how he handled a really asinine reporter. I found some qualities in that moment that made me feel he’s not such a liability. He may be setting far better examples to some of the young guys on our roster than I was ever willing to imagine.

  13. 0 sum for Green. How he handled an honest Q about his inconsistent results has 0 to do with 0. IU would be much, much better off if he were a Priller. He demonstrated consistency.

  14. AWinAZ, any additional wins this season will represent progress, and I think we can get one or two more. As for the NCAA Tournament, if we get to the dance, I’ll be delighted if IU wins the first game. I don’t think we will, but I’d love to be surprised. Unless three guys suddenly learn how to shoot the basketball, we certainly won’t win a second game in the tournament. But if by some miracle IU finishes the season with 22 wins, that will be reason for optimism that Archie has the program pointed in the right direction. And really, that’s all we can hope for right now.

    Recently read an interview conducted with Anthony Leal. What an impressive young man! He may be the brightest, most articulate HS kid I’ve come across in decades. I believe he has a 4.4 GPA at BSHS, and his intellect is obvious. I’m excited for Leal’s future, both in and out of BB.

  15. I think our team came together in that moment. I’m hoping for some more asinine questions…They could use more of that special sauce heading forward.

    Ask the coach the hard questions ….Any coward can throw a mud pie from a crowded room of his frat rat buddies part of a dying profession. The coach is the guy ultimately responsible for the daycare center.

    It’s pretty classless to not allow three young men to have a positive moment together after a positive result and win against an honest-to-goodness team. Trayce Jackson-Davis’s facial expression at the time of the asinine mud pie thrown at Green was all anyone needs to know about its appropriateness. I’ll go with the truth in his eyes and face before a reporter with no camera on his ugly face.

  16. Big fan of Archie….but OUCH! Talk of Dayton being a potential #1 seed. On Hoosier forums we currently find our “highs” by talkng of Green being a bad seed. Compare and contrast. Bloomington job sure pays well….but my goodness. This place grinds up reputations better than a woodchipper. Crean was a bit more of a stubborn log at Indiana. 30 million dollars later he’s found a peach with a major pit at the bottom of the SEC.

    Did anyone see the shots of Bob Knight at the OSU reunion of their 1960 championship team last night? Bobby hanging his head for almost the entirety of the ceremony. OSU fans did give him the biggest of cheers. Very heartbreaking…..It’s so sad that we didn’t get him back to Indiana sooner (when he was working for ESPN). He just wouldn’t do it with charades of the coach-in-charge before Archie. Bobby simply loved Indiana too much to endorse any of it.

    1. H4H,
      I’m going to go out on a big time limb and predict Dayton will be out by the 2nd round. If you look at their schedule, especially the A10, they really haven’t played that stringent of competition. In the B1G that record would probably have at least 5 more loses. May be mistaken, but I don’t think so. A lot will depend on the luck of their draw.

      1. Early NCAA exits aren’t predictions….34 teams are gone in the first couple days. A prediction is telling me an unexpected team who won’t exit early. Next, find me a prediction in August of ’19 where a prognosticator had Dayton anywhere remotely looking like their success occurring at this time.

        NCAA tournament? Give me an under-the-radar team who you think may surprise. There are many every season….They may not win it all, but they bust up many a bracket. Obviously, Dayton isn’t under the radar…..They are in the constant headlines…That’s gotta really damage recruiting.

        1. Please don’t interpret this as me being a huge fan of this team because I’m not…

          But my “somewhat under the radar” team to go deep into the NCAA tournament is (drum roll), once again, Michigan.

          They have a damn good point guard. They have decent strength inside. Moritz Wagner’s brother, Franz (not of Hans & Franz) is coming on….They have another “it factor” guy in Isaiah Livers getting healthy.

          I’ll pick them as my “dark horse” Elite Eight…and potential Final Four team.

  17. Harv, as always you look at “the big picture” and I for one really appreciate your last post.

    As you probably are aware, this concept of (camera) perspective during an Interview was explored in the great movie “The Passenger” (Jack Nicholson, Maria Scheider, directed by Michealangelo Antonini, 1975).

    Thank you for always bringing intellectual-ness into these blog discussions! I hope you’re right on this amazing (possible) “Final 8” NCAA prediction!!

    Let’s HOPE you are right for a Final 8 performance in the Big 10 Tournament!!!!

    Beat Wisconsin.

  18. Thanks, Rock….

    I’ll have to check out your movie recommendation. I’m a pretty big movie buff, but I don’t believe I’ve seen ‘The Passenger.’ Love Nicholson.. I’ll put it on my list for this weekend…(maybe even tonight!).

    I have a recommendation for you….It’s a very early Al Pacino film. “The Panic in Needle Park,” directed by Jerry Schatzberg….Have you seen it? I’m not the best at writing movie reviews, but it instantly became one of my favorite films. I’ll warn you…It’s graphic without really being graphic. It rips at the heart. The heart is always the best lens for a camera. I love the performances by all…Al Pacino and Kitty Winn were both fabulous….and so, so young.
    Saw “The Panic in Needle Park” on TCM a few months ago. Had never known or seen the movie until then. So glad it was just another dull evening for me and I stumbled upon it while up at a very late hour.

    Take care, Harvard

  19. I’ll make a prediction that we do not beat Wisconsin.
    And lose in the 2nd round of the Big Ten Tournament.
    Depending on where we play in the NCAA, we might win the first round (if we play out West, we’ll win, any other region will be a first round loss and a merciful end to this season).

    I’ve been wrong before….let’s hope I’m wrong on these predictions as well.
    (But I’m not making the predictions lightly. I firmly believe that we have a team that simply cannot shoot the ball and that will be exposed in any “away” game, and I don’t think the Refereeing can cover us against Wisconsin like it did against a horrible team from Minn. Wisconsin CAN shoot the ball, as they proved last time we played them).

  20. Beg to differ, Rock. I think we take it to Wisconsin tomorrow. Our inside game is much more difficult to plan and adjust for with Race Thompson making great strides.

    I think our guards are still shooting the ball much more relaxed and in better position than early in the season (facilitated by a deeper inside game).

    Trayce Jackson-Davis keeps getting better and better with each passing week.

    I think we may even win by double digits. Wisconsin will be heading back to Madison as “blue” cheese….courtesy of Brunk, Trayce and Race.

  21. My final prediction: I predict the Harlem Globetrotters will defeat the Washington Generals.

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