Indiana drops third straight


For the third straight game, Indiana erased all or most of a double-digit deficit only for the comeback to eventually be rendered meaningless.

The Hoosiers rallied back from a 14-point halftime deficit against Penn State to take a second-half lead, but still allowed the Nittany Lions to run away with it late for a 69-60 win in front of 14,952 at Assembly Hall.

The Hoosiers took a 48-47 advantage on a layup by sophomore guard Maurice Creek with 8:45 to go, but Penn State answered with two jumpers by senior forward Jeff Brooks who led the Nittany Lions with a career-high 23 points. The Hoosiers cut it back to one point, but Penn State went on a 10-2 run to take a nine-point advantage with 58 seconds to go, and the Hoosiers couldn’t mount a comeback from there.

The loss is the third straight for IU (9-5, 0-1), and it’s disappointing for the Hoosiers considering the Nittany Lions appeared to be one of the more beatable teams on their schedule. The Nittany Lions lost to Maine earlier this month.

Senior guard Talor Battle had 19 points for Penn State and senior forward David Jackson had 15 points and eight rebounds. The Nittany Lions shot 53.8 percent from the field, including 8-for-17 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Junior guard Verdell Jones led the Hoosiers with 15 points while freshman Victor Oladipo had 14 and sophomore Jordan Hulls had 13 to go with four assists. Sophomore forward Christian Watford, who appeared lethargic and possibly ill, had three points and was 1-for-5 from the field.

AUDIO: Penn State’s Ed DeChellis discusses Jeff Brooks, Talor Battle and his team’s win

AUDIO:Verdell Jones said this one was frustrating and embarrassing

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls says the defense and ball movement need to improve

AUDIO: Tom Crean Part 1

AUDIO: Tom Crean Part 2

31 comments

  1. two words.. pathetic coaching. the talent is there he just doesn’t design the offense to suit the players he has. This team would thrive in a motion style offense with its shooters but the dribble weave stand around scratch my butt offense just plain sucks. You have two choices Coach Crean change or fail.

  2. To put this on Crean, someone who has had to piece together IU’s basketball program back together, is as wrong as the NFC West champion deserving a home game in the playoffs. Falling behind early in games we should win is this team’s biggest problem. When you fall behind to teams like UNI, Colorado, and Penn State at home, it gives teams a sense of hope that they can win that game. I’m putting this on the shoulders of Jordan Hulls, Verdell Jones, Tom Pritchard, and Jeremiah Rivers, the four people I consider to be the team’s leaders. Hopefully, we come out a lot stronger on Friday night, because if we don’t, it could get really REALLY ugly.

  3. The time to continually defend Crean is over. He has the players to beat teams like: BC, CO, NI, PS. None of those teams are more talented player wise. It comes down to coaching and “winning time” IU has been outcoached at times and has played awful in “winning time” (the ends of close games) that is why they are now 0-5 against all teams with and legit D1 level talent. Even Crean can’t defend himself, thus sending Buckley to do the postgames.

  4. Can anyone honestly say that this team has improved over last year? Are any of the players markedly better than a year ago?

  5. I continue to be disappointed by our lack
    of execution both on offense and overall team defense.
    We just seem to lack the fundamentals in so
    many areas. We make poor decisions on offense,
    and continue to lack any true leadership on
    the floor. It is sad that Verdell hasn’t progressed
    more by now. He has the skills, but not the b-ball IQ
    that we need right now. We continue to lose games
    in crunch time because of no goto guy with leadership/tenure
    we can count on. Watford has struggled lately, but sophmores
    will do that in stretches. Creek won’t fully be back
    until next year. Hulls really needs to be at point, and
    we need to play Elston more because his offense
    is needed. Victor is playing great and has the intangibles
    we need to win over the next few years. Crean is fine,
    he just needs to keep the kids focused and make adjustments
    to see what works and what doesn’t with this group.
    Disappointed yes…but we need to take this
    year for what it is worth. We weren’t going to win
    a Big Ten title nor make the post season. We just need
    to continue to improve.

  6. In this game, we had basically no production from our “big men.” In fact, I don’t think I can’t remember seeing any box score with as little production from any team’s “bigs.” Indiana’s 4 “bigs” went a combined 2 for 12. That is 5 points! And 9 rebounds!

    Meanwhile, Penn State’s two forwards (who are not supposed to be that good) were putting up 38 points and 16 boards between them.

    Look at the individual numbers.

    Watford may have been ill, which would explain some of this, but he was 1 for 5 and had as many turnovers as points (3 points, 3 turnovers). He was even 1 for 3 on foul shots, usually a strength. .

    If he was ill, what explains Elston 1 for 6 and 2 points?

    Or Pritchard 0 for 0 and Capobianco 0 for 1. Zero points between them. Of course, in fairness, they were only in for 4 minutes each.

    Holy ship, batman! You can’t win with that!

    Interesting to note that the production was from the “little guys” in this game. The same was true against Colorado in the second game in Las Vegas.

    But in the first game in Las Vegas against NIU, Elston played his best game, Watford played well and it was the “bigs” leading the way while the “littles” did nada.

    And what happened to the defense? We were looking pretty good on defense for a while there – it looked like it would become this team’s “signature.”

    But for the last 3 games, every bad team seems to have someone having a “career day” and the team as a whole just happens to shoot over 50% for the first time this year.

  7. Mother of God, get us out of this hoops nightmare. I can’t take watching VJ bring the ball up the court anymore. I wholeheartedly want to be supportive of the kid, but I just can’t take it. He is a miserable excuse for a point guard. I’ve seen more sense of urgency from homeless people strolling like hopeless zombies through shopping malls. Somebody light a match under his damn slow rear! I’m convinced I’d rather watch Rivers try to play point while smiling up at papa in the stands if Crean insists on forcing Hulls into the two spot.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually beginning to miss guys like Devan Dumes, Nick Williams, and Malik Story. I’m even missing Finkelmeier’s defensive tenacity! At least they showed some urgency and determination. This team(especially VJ)is lethargic and uninspired. It’s time to quit screwing with lineups and pampering these kids.

  8. These last few games have shown we need more 2011 guys. Go after Kelvin Amayo, Michael Chandler if he qualifies, or a JUCO big.

    We can’t be saving 2012 schollies anymore.

  9. Agree. The link provided by Dustin should say “Coach Crean on Penn State“. Understandable why some have joked that certain journalists have been banned from Cook Hall.

  10. IU86,
    I hate to say it, but honestly, no. IU has maybe three legit big time players on the team. Watford, Oladipo and Hulls cause he just knows the game well.(creek is still hurt). At a top ten school which IU could be again, these guys might be lucky to be a sixth or seventh man. They are just sophs. and a frosh. I’ll even give Watford the benefit of the doubt and say he would start. If these guys can’t bring it every game IU struggles. IU is just not good enough to force things. They did do some good things tonight, unfortunately when they do, it is at the expense of somthing else. They just are not that talented overall to recover. No one can break down the opposing defense to make the d react(which Battle does). That kills this offense. Zeller might help some, but he isn’t going to be rolling off of picks with the ball twenty five feet from the basket or running the weave. They better be looking at point guards to bring in with Zeller. And the question is, do you see them getting better for next year? I am not b!@#$ing nor am I drinking Kool-Aide here. Just calling it as I see it. I support this team and always will. But a good team finds a way to win tonight. It’s up to Crean to decide if he wants to keep playing this way, or start running more motion to help open up shooters that way. Either way we are going to be slow. Plus no legit center. Just enjoy it people, think of it as an investment that will pay off in a few. One more question, do you think that Crean might know they are not overly talented. And that he and us expected a little too much from this core of kids at this time?

  11. I fully support Tom Crean, but it is really time to make an offense and a defense for THIS team. His stlyes may work with players who have the strengths to run it….but not these players. We also don’t have a center. No center in the Big 10 = very few wins if any. I don’t understand how teams like Northern Iowa can put a half way decent big man on the floor and Indaina can’t. Cody Zeller will be a program changer for this team. He can rebound, score, and his stats alone will beat Pritchard, Elston, and Bobby C. combined. If Cody Zeller didn’t commit to the Hoosiers…..well Indiana basketball wouldn’t of improved at all next year. Thank you Cody Zeller.

  12. Who cares if they say “Crean” or “Coach Crean”?!?!?

    I have a PhD but I don’t go around asking every student or person to call me “Doctor.”

    Put this one in the “get off my lawn, boy” category.

  13. I wish IU would run a motion offense. That would play to the talent level of this team it would also provide picks and cuts to free Roth and Hulls. Hulls should play the PG but he is also one of the best shooters IU has and needs to get open to score for us. IU buries itself by consistently shooting long range jumpers. You live by the 3 pointer and die by it as well. It seems to me why not get inside, force the opposition to play “D”, get to the foul line a bit more often & have a better chance for kick outs to THEN shoot the 3. Until Jones gets his hand out from underneath the ball, stops stumbling around, and gets a basketball IQ his playing time should be greatly reduced. Sitting on the bench can be a great motivator!

  14. Crean is the right way to address him. He obviously can’t coach so why call him something he isn’t?

  15. on the bright side, i don’t have to listen to people here worrying about creek and watford leaving early for the nba. as i’ve said all along, no chance. and as i’ve said all along, creek needs to be taught to shoot properly. i guess now that he is statistically the worst 3 point shooter on the team, i won’t have to listen to a dozen people tell me how full of it i am.

    as for dr. crean, is anyone else having a hard time with understanding what he’s trying to say at his post game presser? he must have used some form of the word belief about 40 times tonight. mostly wrong. and coach, as for your main offensive principal: our defense needs to create our offense”, that’s why our offense looks like hell.

    defense doesn’t create offense. it creates some fast breaks. a good system, movement, fundamentals, discipline, screens. this creates offense. by the way, it is not illegal to set a screen away from the ball.

    we’re going to get our asses handed to us by osu on friday. in creanspeak, “there’s no doubt about that.”

  16. I’m as tired as anyone with the play of this team lately. They seem to be lost most of the time on defense and have no idea of what to do offensively. With that being said, I still support this team 100% and always will. All these people calling for Tom Crean’s head are way off base. He took over a program that had nothing in the cupboard and has started to restock the best that he can. Are we always pleased with the results we see on the floor, no, but if you can’t see the improvments from the past couple of years then you haven’t been paying attention. Things are getting better and will continue to do so. I believe this team will get things back together and have a decent year. I never expected a Big Ten title or a NCAA tournament berth but the NIT was and still is a possibility. Go Hoosiers. The real Indiana fans are behind you.

  17. Look, I played and coached for years and I used the motion game of coach Knight and when I had the players I used man to man and if not I played Zone. Here is the thing… that is not coming back and for you guys who keep bringing it up will not help a thing. Here’s the real deal top talent does not want to play that style of basketball anymore. It’s all about the dribble drive, pick and roll and kick the ball out to your shooters. Coach Crean got these very talented future players because they want to play that style of ball similar to what they have played together in AAU ball. That’s the facts guys. Think about it in Knight last years and those to follow IU lost to players in this state. Coach Crean has changed that. Now we get to our current problems and we all see its not working and its not working because we don’t have the talent level needed to make it run like it should. So what can Coach do? 1.Defense,defense,defense,rebound,rebound,rebound,run,run,run. This will ease us away from half court ball where we are getting killed because we don’t have players that can run coach’s half court offense yet. 2. Press,trap and zone to try and create easy baskets thru turnovers. 3. Stop allowing our guard who has 49 turnovers in 14 games from playing the point. 4. Encourage the kids who can shoot the ball to shoot! 5. Play our best defenders and the kids who still believe that basketball is a team sport.
    Coach sees it but getting them to believe is a good couple of wins against more talented teams. At this level heart and toughness can still win games.

  18. Quit whining about Crean people. If C. Watford only scores 3 points we will not win any game no matter what the team is we play against. Crean can’t put the ball in the basket for goodness sake. The coach gets too much credit and often times too much blame.

  19. This is the 2nd game I have went to this year (and oh by the way only the 3rd in my lifetime of 54 years of living in Indiana) – but both games this year I have seen flashes of brilliance; and flashes of ugly. Going to be a long year. Players need to take responsibility for not performing IMHO. Shooters need to run hard to spots and make hard cuts to get open – our shooters jog to a position –

  20. Southport65 and DM nailed it. Just because the Notre Dame box was successful in the 40’s doesn’t make it viable now. The biggest part of collegiate success in revenue sports is recruiting. The schools with the best recruiting classes win the most games with very few exceptions. Of course you have to coach them up but Joe B. Hall won a national championship at Kentucky with talent He couldn’t coach a lick. I’ll be as disappointed as everyone else if we look no better in February but look at our starting five. We expected to have a 7 foot center…gone. Mo Creek was supposed to be our dynamic scorer..on the mend. That’s 40% of our anticipated starters on a team made up primarily of freshmen and sophomores. North Carolina is two deep at every position with McDonald’s All Americans spread out over four classes and can barely stay above .500. The margin is very slim. I do wish Santa had sent us a lightning fast PG, though.

  21. I can’t emotionally invest in a train wreck of a season such as we’re now realizing this will be.

    This kind of losing just makes me an incorrigible grouch to everyone around me and humiliates me every time I see one of my numerous colleagues who knows how much of a college hoops fan I am and how hard I cheer for Indiana. It’s just demoralizing and belittling. I cannot do it.

    As such I withdraw from this and all other discussions of Indiana basketball until such time as it’s not humiliating and seemingly hopeless.

  22. “The real Indiana fans are behind you” What kind of crap is that? All Indiana fans are behind the team.Does that mean that we don’t expect them to play up to a standard that we all can be proud of? NO.The reason we don’t sugar coat the situation is because we are REAL INDIANA FANS.

  23. I will continue to support the individual young men that continue to go to class and practice and play at Indiana University; no matter what also. However; try something new – new lineups; new positions – don’t sub 3 players at a time (especially when one player only makes 1 mistake but gives you his all) and others make numerous mistakes.

  24. This is not about a loss or three. This is about the gradual erosion of the culture of the great “Hoosier” basketball nation.

    It began with the tragic selection of Greenspan/Sampson and the corrupting of the heart of Hoosier basketball tradition and its integrity and unrelenting will to ‘do it right’.

    We have now reached a point at which everyone- including Coach Crean (or Crean)-needs to stop, google “ESPN interview with Bob Knight and Mike Kryzewski” and give some deep, deep thought as to what the nature of basketball is and to the teaching that must take place to recreate its core Hoosier values.

    In particular, the conversation between Knight and Kryzewski pivots on “roles”, “taking care of the ball” “focus and awareness” and is critical of the individualistic, showboating that is so common today, the collapse of “team basketball” and the “selfishness” of contemporary players, even on defense.

    Basketball is a relatively simple game …if you have the mentality and will for it. That is totally missing in the present version of Hoosiers. I say this without intending any disrespect; but Coach Crean either does not understand it himself or is proving incapable of transmitting it to the players.

    It is not only tragic and sad, it is counter-productive to see this at Indiana University, where ‘basketball correctly played” was synonymous with our ‘Hoosiers’.

    The challenge for Coach Crean will be to accept this and understand that the Indiana fan is an educated and sophisticated fan with low tolerance for sloppy, undisciplined basketball without vision. The hyping of 8th, 10th and 12th graders and the superficial excitement created by media over the importance of recruiting belies the fact that those truly knowledgeable and respectful of the game never gave the current fad of idol-worshiping pre-puberty ‘stars’ more than 20 percent of the equation. It is is not only a false premise, it is one that is barely tolerated by the majority of knowledgeable Hoosier fans.

    Unfortunately, the media…including the Herald Times writers all too frequently have turned recruiting into the ‘second tournament’. In the process, they contribute to the erosion of the values that make Indiana University the home of The “Hoosiers”. The outcome…what we see on the floor today. Even the scheduling and the ‘justification’ that it allows players to build confidence is cynical and false.

    While accepting that Robert Montgomery Knight is not returning, the culture of basketball at Indiana…from President Michael Mc Robbie, A.D. Glass through Coach Crean need to return and refocus on the basic values that made the Hoosiers great: Integrity, Discipline, Uncompromising Tenacity, Focus, the Will to Win and the unrelenting, uncompromising seeking of perfection as the basic quality in achieving a vision of team basketball.

    Please take this seriously Coach Crean…we Hoosiers do!

  25. Gosh, don’t know what to say about last night. You can shoot this stat and that stat out and talk about no low post production, bringing back motion offense, leadership and many other things but the bottom line is that this team sucks on defense. They look like 5 Jobe’s late to recognize anything! I hope they can improve!

    Did anyone ever complain about Creek’s shooting form last year??? Just curious..I think the injury has changed him a lot and he has trouble lifting off the bad leg, so in turn his form is thrown off…especially when tired. I also think he was asked to play too many minutes at the beginning of the season and it could hurt him for the year. Feel bad for Creek, kid shattered his knee cap and cannot get back to form…

  26. Tsao Tsu Gonzalez-

    Home run. Not sure I agree with all, but definitely a deep drive to center in the seats. Especially agree with your assessment of the recruiting hype/”idol-worshiping” surrounding children and the false hopes and diversions created away from the games’ true beauty hidden in its simple purity a team sport. Great writing. Nice job.

  27. coach is a snake oil salesman,his gift of gab far exceeds his coaching ability I seenothing that exceeds a junior high program coached by some father. He doesn,t even know who his best players are ,runs up and down the sidelines like a man possessed. Its a sad time for i.u. basketball and its not going to get any better for a long ti,e

  28. Comparing the program to a junior high team may be a little harsh but… If you want to score when you have the ball down low you have to jump higher the you did in high school.You can’t throw that dangerous cross court pass and get by with it like you did in high school. You can’t slack on defense like you did in high school.This is not high school.How many times do you have to get burned by a three point shooter before you realize you have to get out and get a hand in his face? These are things that anyone who grew up playing basketball should know let alone anyone playing major collage basketball.

  29. TTG’s post is one of the best I have ever read. To be honest, I haven’t derived much enjoyment from IU bball since about 1995. Thankfully there is real basketball still being played here in Indiana…it has just moved to West 49th Street in Indianapolis and is being taught by a very bright young man named Brad Stevens.

    Basketball is a wonderful sport and I enjoy seeing it played well. Just hope it doesn’t take too many years for that to happen again at IU.

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