Saint Joseph’s 80, Indiana 54

Here’s a sneak peek at the game story that will run tomorrow.

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By Chris Korman
331-4353 | ckorman@heraldt.com
LAHAINA, Hawaii — Second half breakdowns are not a football-only problem at Indiana.
Tom Crean’s inexperienced basketball team wilted Tuesday in the latter half of a second-round game in the Maui Invitational, as Saint Joseph’s went on a 23-2 run to win 80-54.
The sequence that sparked the Hawks (2-2) could only befall a team as young and uninitiated as the Hoosiers (2-2).
Freshman forward Tom Pritchard, who showed fatigue after playing 33 minutes against Notre Dame Monday, slipped free under the net and took a pass from Daniel Moore curling through the lane. Pritchard’s dunk with 18:05 left cut Saint Joseph’s lead to 34-33 and seemed to predict a heated back-and-forth finish.

But on the next possession Indiana could not get out to guard Darrin Govens, who’d hit all five of his 3s in the first half.
Govens hit again, and IU was sent reeling. Having the spurt of momentum provided by Pritchard’s dunk stolen was worse than never having gained the momentum at all.
Over the next four minutes, the Hoosiers turned the ball over six times and St. Joe’s scored 19 unanswered points.
“We came out strong, got a couple of baskets early,” Indiana senior forward Kyle Taber said. “But we made too many turnovers and that was the key. They scored off those turnovers and we really had a hard time recovering.”
The Hoosiers finished with 23 turnovers, but that was hardly the sole difference in the game considering the Hawks gave it away 19 times. Indiana also wasn’t beaten on the boards (each team had 29 rebounds) and improved in an area important to Crean, deflections (the Hoosiers had 36 compared to just 13 against Notre Dame).
What Indiana did fail to do was stay in defensive coverage — for instance Govens, who finished with 23 points, sprung free for a 3 on the break in the second half — or generate consistent chances on offense. Pritchard got into early foul trouble and IU did an admirable job of spreading the scoring as he sat; and though nine players scored, none reached double digits (Malik Story led the team with 9).
Indiana’s problems are too widespread to be properly defined by statistics. St. Joe’s shot 72 percent from the field in the second half because IU was lax in coverage and because it made too many turnovers that led to transition buckets. The Hoosiers hit only 32 percent of their second half shots because some were ill-advised and some were shots that would have been finished by a more experienced player.
Unlike more veteran teams, IU does nothing extremely well and does everything just not quite good enough. But Crean said he continues to see improvement, and implored his players to continue working hard.
With Taber sitting to his left in the post game press conference, Crean said, “Kyle, somebody as a player, or as a group, has got to bring the team together knowing, as we said, the first eight minutes of the second half are going to determine the game.”
Crean did not mean to call out Taber, who had seven points and six rebounds off the bench. Nor did he mean to make excuses. He was merely trying to find a way to explain his team’s deficiencies, a necessary chore that has not gotten any easier as the season has progressed.
A sampling of his thoughts on that subject from Tuesday:
“We are making progress. It’s just not enough right now to compete against older, experienced teams that have physical mindsets.”
“No one is trying to turn it over. It’s just a different level game right now. We can’t mirror that in practice. We can’t. We’ve got freshmen guarding freshmen, freshmen guarded by walk ons. In games, were guarded by grown men.”
“Look at the shots we had at the rim that a strong, aggressive team (would make). We don’t have the strength yet to do it. Their hearts are in the right place. They worked extremely hard in this game.”
St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli was typically blunt in his assessment.
“Just older against younger,” he said upon taking his seat at the post-game podium. “Obviously the Indiana situation is like starting over.”

9 comments

  1. Scott,
    I agree. As long as they continue to give their best effort to do what CoachC says and play together as a TEAM, and I believe they will, then I’ll take them over the one-year wonders and prima donnas every time.

  2. While I didn’t have the opportunity to see the game today, I am right there with Kevin and Scott in that I love this team and want to see effort and them growing each game as building a team.

    This marathon starts with a single step and with a few miles behind us, the NCAA sanctions FINALLY laid down, we can watch Coach Crean and his team blossom into the top tier NCAA program that we once were and will be once again….for the glory of old IU!

  3. This team is like a nice hot shower. you just feel so good and clean when ya watch them. To see the effort put forth by these young men is refreshing. Have not seen that in a long time at IU. Keep up the good work coach,

  4. Chris,

    My local fish wrap (The Courial Journal)says we play on ESPN2, I noticed that you mentioned that we play on ESPNU, can you please verify?

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