Hoosiers’ late comeback (fueled by Michigan misses) falls short

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Indiana came closer than it should have to taking the lead in Saturday afternoon’s game, and Michigan came much closer than it should have to giving it away.

But despite a miserable second-half performance at the free throw line, the Wolverines held Indiana off with a 73-69 victory in front of 13,751 at Crisler Arena.

The Wolverines led by 22 points with just 5:26 to go in the game, but the Hoosiers began attacking with a full-court press and promptly went on a 10-0 spurt that eventually extended to a 21-3 run, cutting the deficit to 69-65 with 41 seconds to go.

The Hoosiers cut the deficit to three points on a field goal by sophomore forward Christian Watford with 27 seconds to go and the Wolverines continued to fall short at the free throw line, but IU didn’t score again until a layup by freshman guard Victor Oladipo with 0.5 seconds on the clock. That made it 73-69 and the Wolverines only had to successfully inbound the ball to clinch it.

Michigan freshman guard Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Wolverines with 26 points, knocking down nine of 11 field goal attempts and four of six 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Darius Morris had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists while junior guard Stu Douglass had 13 points. Junior guard Zack Novak registered 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

The Wolverines allowed the Hoosiers to stay in it in the first half despite IU’s 10 turnovers and 37.0 percent shooting half. Michigan’s offense is mostly based around 3-point shots, but the Wolverines only attempted five in the first frame.

In the second half, however, they hit three 3-pointers in the first 2:06 and shot 7-for-10 from beyond the arc in the period. They shot 61.9 percent (13-for-21) from the field in the second frame to finish at 53.5 percent for the game.

Indiana got 14 points from Watford in his first game since surgery to repair his broken left hand. He played the game with a bandage over a pad. Oladipo had 13 oints and six rebounds. Junior guard Verdell Jones had 12 points and five assists, though he shot 2-for-7. Sophomore guard Jordan Hulls had 10 points and four assists but was 0-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Hoosiers struggled from three all game, making just four of 16 attempts. They were 47.3 percent from the floor.

AUDIO: John Belein says he’s not worried about the free throws

AUDIO: Tom Crean says the team needs to be more “combative”

AUDIO: Tom Crean Part 2

AUDIO: Victor Oladipo

AUDIO: Christian Watford


  1. Yet another “almost” game. When will this team finally figure out that we need to play like they did at the end of the game for the entire game? I , for one, can’t wait until the 2012 team arrives. I am sick of the lackluster effort for an entire game. Also I am even more sick of the officiating we must endure from the Big Ten officiating crew. They flat out suck. Nothing is consistent. And I might add, Coach Crean needs to grow a pair and get into the grill of the so-called referees. Let the players know that he has their backs.

  2. Druid, chill man. This team has played above and beyond any possible expectations the last few weeks after key injuries. You can say injuries happen to all teams and you just have to deal with it, but consider that this team is playing without 2 starters and with another 2 that are clearly battling injuries. That’s just poor luck. This team battles in the majority of games. I go into most games now thinking, ‘hey we might be able to win this game,’ whereas the last couple of years I dreaded the final score of every single Big Ten contest.

    Just my thoughts…

  3. I never realized what a cheapshot the title of this thread is. Whose idea what it to include the parentheses (because of Michigan misses?

    Isn’t every comeback, by definition, fueled by “misses” by the team with the lead (missed shots, missed defensive assignments, etc.)? Please, show me a comeback where the team with the lead makes all their shots.

    Here are a couple potential future titles for threads that follow this style:

    “Indiana Defeats Illinois (due to having made more baskets)”

    “Zeller Chooses Indiana (due to having not picked UNC)”

    “Mubarak Assents to Demands of Protesters (due to not rejecting them)”

  4. They can’t help themselves. Go back through past threads and try to find praise for the team or the coaching that’s not followed by the requisite ‘but’.

  5. Title was my call. Crabs/Lobsters, your premise is right, but I’d say 11 missed free throws stands out as out of the ordinary enough to be in the headline. You can’t explain the comeback without pointing out 11 missed free throws. It was integral.

  6. I agree, the missed Michigan free throws down the stretch were exciting!!!! If “all” comebacks are due to reasons you mentioned, then what’s wrong with mentioning it? I just love armchair QB’s that have nothing better to do than point out all the imperfections of a journalist. While sitting behind their computer making comments in a forum. My suggestion to them is to go apply for a position with the newspaper if they “know” it all.

  7. Jack, I agree with Druid in the fact if this team, the ones dressed Saturday, had exerted the type of effort for 40 minutes instead of the six that they did they would not have had to comeback from 22 down. Injured teammates have absolutely nothing to do with another players effort. Injuries are a part of any athletic endeavor, not an excuse to lower the expectations of this team. This team proved they have the desire to at least play with a team of Michigan’s caliber for six minutes, why not 40.

  8. Scooter, did you stop and think that just maybe…maybe…Michigan stopped truly getting after it once they were up by a boatload late in the second half. Trust me, it’s easier to show that effort when the opponent starts missing everything and fails to show up for a few minutes.

    And sorry, but any realistic fan, and for IU those are few and far between (at least the ones on message boards online), has to lower expectations when the magnitude of injuries happen that we’ve had. This teams played out of their minds for the past two weeks, excluding Michigan and the last 5 minutes of Iowa. Get a grip and relax….this isn’t a middle of the pack Big Ten team that we have here in Bloomington right now, it’s just not. Get over it.

  9. Larry- The reason I mention the parentheses is because there has been some recent history with the hard-working HT staff perhaps stirring up controversy where it may not always exist. I don’t blame the guys individually; they are part of a greater news culture in our country today which I believe often cares more about “authenticity” – that is, providing an “original” story with a signature “angle” – that reporting boring old facts and truths.

    “Angles,” “controversies,” “gotcha” stories, “Breaking News” – these are all phenomena of our commercialized American news. The stories that sound interesting sell more papers.

    Dustin and Hugh deserve our utmost respect, for sure… but as readers, especially after “Scholarshipgate” under the Korman Regime, and then “Tripgate” under the Hugh and Dustin Regime, I think it’s fair to have a dialogue about the potential impact that headlines and “angles” can have on what people perceive.

    We all know there is no such thing as “the” truth or “the” facts. Language creates its own realities, and therefore we should all be able to opine on the effects that these realities have.

  10. The scholarship #’s topic was an issue that in my eyes was something that was 1000% out of bounds. But I do not fault DD, Korman laid down the directive and Dustin was obliged to accomplish the task. It was one of the many reasons I did not care at all for CK. He followed legends(or borderline)and was hell bent on not patterning himself in the image of their reputation; he succeeded supremely. As far as the thoughts about the trip enacted by Elston, it was exactly as Hugh described it in the headline, his commentary. Right slant or wrong slant he is damn sure welcome to express his own opinion.

  11. So Jack, you seem to think it’s ok to expect this team to under perform? Me as a fan would hope your type of thinking would not seep into the minds of this current roster.

    The fact is these guys were recruited to play winning basketball at Indiana. They were not told we will be outmanned every night and your chance of beating a team of quality will be slim to none. I don’t care how bad the situation you do not give this team the idea it’s ok to lose.

    You comment about this team not being a middle of the pack Big 10 unit, why should we settle for middle of the pack. Have some pride, we know the situation with this team, it still does not make it ok to expect less because of injuries. Also you said they played out of their minds for two weeks, thats the team I expect to see, you think it’s happenstance they play that well, I think it should be the norm.

    Being realistic is to expect this team to compete every time they take the floor. They’ve shown they can do it in small batches, build on it and move forward, don’t make excuses when they backslide, don’t accept failure because the odds are against them.

    To ever allow the idea of losing is ok, no matter the situation, is absolute lack of competetive spirit. Whether your out manned, out talented or out sized, you bust your ass to the bitter end and you don’t end up down 20+ to a team with equal or less talent.

    I totally believe or would hope Coach Crean despises the losing, but does not sit around the office bemoaning the fact that injuries have taken a toll on the roster. He coaches who’s there and had better expect nothing less than 100% from every player he puts out there, we as fans should do the same.

    We as fans cannot and should not continue to enable this losing mindset simply because we think this team is incapable of success. I will back this team no matter the situation but will never accept losing due to lack of effort.

    By the way most teams do go on cruise control once they’ve gotten huge lead, it’s up to teams to take advantage of them for not having a killer instinct, which the Hoosiers nearly did.

  12. How many teams that had all the restrictions, limitations, complete loss of any previous years experienced players, apprehension of future recruits to commit these 1st cpl years have won national titles by the 3rd year?

  13. Scooter-

    The margin of error is much slimmer for a team in the thin stages of mixing in a higher level of talent has faced the setbacks that have hit the Hoosiers(primarily Guy’s ineligibility and Creek/Watford injuries). I don’t think anyone is making excuses for the few games we all wanted better effort(personally, I think this team has put forth tremendous heart in most games). What team is without a few lackluster outings over the course a 28 game season? And can’t there be many instances where questions/assessments/accusations of a lack in effort may be blurring into lack of quickness, size, and athleticism? Finally, let’s face up to another truth. All the talk of overall parity in college hoops doesn’t always show up on game night. When teams stacked with thick talent have mental lapses, don’t execute to the coach’s exacting wants, have poor communication on the floor, get the wrong whistle some foul calls, take the occasional bad shots, fail to go to the glass hard, there are far less repercussions when one set of 10 on a team is overwhelmingly more skilled position-by-position another set of 10. Do the experts microscopically examine every single ugly wart after the game when there is a big fat happy ‘W’ as the end result anyway? And as the blogger “Crabs walk sideways” stated above, there are no shortages the manufacturing of controversies and “gotcha” moments thrown like shark bait to a circling fan base tired of losing. You have to try and keep some amount of perspective in this time of rebuilding. It’s tough for a coach to keep kids motivated when the losses mount. It’s probably even more challenging when the fans begin to question effort and hints of names that no longer deserve our cheers are given permission to pack their bags by an ex-Hoosier TV/radio personality that averaged 4 points per game in his heyday. Can it sometimes be possible that a tireless defensive workhorse like Daniel Moore is still always going to look like a petting zoo pony on offense compared to E’Twaun Moore… even when through the objective crystal-clear lenses our “Because its Indiana” goggles? Again, that’s not an excuse, it’s just an understanding we’re still a few Clydesdales in the paint, and Calipari Kentucky Stallions on the perimeter, shy of where all-out effort has a much greater probability hooking up with desired result in the “Win/Loss” column.

    Bottom Line: I admire this team. They have lost some heartbreaking decisions, taken beatings from opponents that pack a roster with a mightier punch, get below the belt cheap shots from journalists and brass-knuckled fair weather fans….Yet, when most of us think they’ll finally call it quits …go into the next fight and drop to their knees a canvas too familiar, they surprise with the unintimidated poise and pride of a Buster Douglas looking in the fierce eyes of Mike Tyson. “Quit” is not in the vocabulary this bunch of Hoosiers.

  14. oops..

    “The margin of error is even slimmer for a team in the thin stages of mixing in a higher level of talent when faced with the setbacks that have hit the Hoosiers(primarily Guy’s ineligibility and Creek/Watford injuries).”

  15. C Hogwash, I don’t disagree that the majority of time the effort is there. I am also clearly aware of the fact that this teams margin for error is razor thin. The post presence of Michel(sp?) alone would likely be worth 2 or 3 more wins in itself.

    What I no longer condone is the excuses for this team. We all know wins are going to be hard to come by. That does not release the responsibility of this fan base to settle for losing. This team should expect to win every time it takes the floor, knowing it will take a monumental effort doesn’t mean they should take the attitude of we just aren’t there as a team yet, our fans expect us to lose, look at everything that has gone against us. I don’t think this team feels this way and really don’t think they want the pity of fans making excuses for them.

    Saturday night I expect them to defeat Northwestern and will be thrilled if they do. If they happen to lose I will be pissed and grouchy but will still expect them to beat Purdue on Tuesday.

    The effort it will take to win one of these games will be hard to grasp, but thats the expectations we must have to get this program back to where we all believe it belongs.

  16. Chet- I am glad you see the same thing I do. I mean, it would be one thing for the Ann Arbor newspaper to allude to the misses. But a hometown paper?

    Even the ESPN story simply said “Michigan Holds of Hoosiers” in the title.

    I guess our glass is always half-empty.

  17. Scooter-

    I don’t think the fan base is settling for losing or has pity on them. I certainly don’t feel that way. I’m hopeful we’re turning the corner on this thing. At times the constant whining and negative tone from some bloggers(not saying you) and the subtle cheap shots in headlines makes me a bit snappy in over-defending this bunch of Hoosiers. I can’t be too hard on myself. I’ve been around long enough to have seen some extremely talented teams/players representing the Cream and Crimson..There is bias eye on both sides of the fence a passionate fan’s perfect 20/20 of wants and expectations. I don’t think our last Final Four team(the group of Hoosiers Mike Davis took to Atlanta) was anything near the talent level seen on many teams I’m watching today. Duke, OSU, Kansas, Kansas St, Syracuse, Texas….They’re completely stacked. What a “pity” to not have their worry..What a travesty to afford never selling yourself short any opponent you face. Maybe a younger eye sees clearer than I..Maybe the undaunted fight to see all is right for this soft heart has worn as razor thin our margin for error..I’ve been spun around enough and road the roller coaster this theme park many times before..I don’t get exceedingly dizzy from the banners, candy-striped pants, and savior recruits from cornfield towns in Indiana, when I look at the state of our team’s progress. There’s a whole lot of packaging going on right now in Bloomington..”Doing things the right way”…”Recruiting Indiana”…”Because it’s Indiana”…”There’s a culture here”..”Some kids don’t understand what it takes..they don’t get it”..”19 Fs!”…”This program was decimated”… Do you think the excessive packaging can contribute to falsely elevated expectations? I think Crean has done a great job selling Indiana to recruits..But can he get it done fast enough? Is he contributing to the backlash aimed at players when the product doesn’t quickly live up enough to the wrap, ribbons, and bows. I think that can be disrespectful and unfair to the Indiana kids currently giving it their all. When someone lightly criticizes Crean’s coaching, there’s always a tendency to protect him and claim he’s done a marvelous job considering the talent he had to start with, injuries etc. But where do the players get their immunity from excessive criticism on effort and claims of not getting it? Can they say, “We’re doing the best our untalented asses can do, but the man in charge is too thin on coaching talent..We’re not Duke, but we’re damn better than he’s making us look..I puked my guts out at halftime…he lets VJ stagnate the offense..
    and then my coach gets to tell Hugh Kellenberger we don’t now what it takes to get over the hump..and then Hugh writes a story saying our comeback was fueled by Michigan misses”?

    As I said, I admire this team. Their coach has placed quite the heavy jersey on their shoulders…Tradition…Honor…Effort..Duty…Culture..Flags…Flags..Flags! It’s all great to this Hoosier fan, but by God also give them some munitions.

  18. Hugh didn’t write that the comeback was fueled by Michigan misses. I did. Eleven missed free throws in five minutes is a lot, and it was a very significant part of the reason IU was allowed back in it. If Michigan had only missed, say, four or even six free throws in that time, I might not have mentioned it in the headline. Missing that many is out of the ordinary. Pointing that out is not a cheap shot. That is all.

  19. Eleven free throws Chet. That’s the operative point of the argument. Maybe I could have put that in the headline, but it was getting long already. That kind of free throw futility stands out and was critical. Thought it should be pointed out.

  20. Isn’t every comeback, by definition, fueled by “misses” by the team with the lead (missed shots, missed defensive assignments, etc.)? Please, show me a comeback where the team with the lead makes all their shots.

    Lobster brain, if I may have your attention for a moment:

    Let’s say team A plays team B and A leads by 6 points. On the next 14 possessions each team makes their shots. But while A scores in the paint each time, B scores from the outside. Game ends with B coming from behind and beating A by one point despite both teams going 100% from the field during B’s “comeback”. Something like this almost happened when we played Iowa away on Jan 2nd, 2008. Do you not remember Justin Johnson’s surreal shots?

    Anyway it’s clear that you are to logic what Tom Crean is to coaching: a sad, discordant [blip]. You and Chet, man,
    together, have enough brain for a mollusk (a very small one too). But you’re not using even the little that you have!

  21. Dustin-

    Sorry I gave Hugh credit for your work. The tripping up was “fueled” by thoughts telepathically sent to my brain by Derek Elston…I swear it was unintentional.

    Interesting Stats:

    2nd Half: 7-10(70%) 3-point shooting for Michigan.
    Bench points-IND 30(mostly Watford), MICH 3

    I like this headline:

    Hoosiers furious comeback(energized by Watford’s return) falls just short” What do you guys think? Not objective?

    Another interesting tidbit from the game…Michigan had 4 turnovers in the course of 1 minute and 43 seconds(between the 4:24 mark and 2:42 of the Hoosier run). Another Michigan turnover occurred at the 1:17 mark..FIVE TURNOVERS BY MICHIGAN IN BARELY OVER THREE MINUTES! Are turnovers caused by intentionally fouling? Defensive tenacity was turned up by the Hoosiers and Michigan was choking in more ways than the 42% shooting at the charity stripe.

    I can see it deserving the headline more if IU was simply fouling as a strategy directed by the bench throughout the last five minutes. We’ve all witnessed those kind of games..I believe this was a little different. I think it’s also pretty commendable to stay in the game when Michigan was on fire(7-10) from the perimeter in the second half.

    You can put whatever swing you want on it to defend your totally objective journalistic approach. If not “cheap shot”, I still believe there was an undertone of mockery involved. But where is the mockery for the mugging that occurred against Rivers without a whistle? Where is the “Oh, brother” roll of the eyes(sort of like mocking) for the unconscious shooting by Michigan from the outside after being an ugly 1 for 5 in the first half? Where is the mockery for Michigan’s five turnovers in 3 minutes? Where is the mockery of their post players unable to stop a determined Hoosier with a cast on his hand in his first game back in three weeks? Shouldn’t an objective eye find equal mockery when it mocks or is this a different “situation” altogether?

  22. Bullchet- Great. You’ve come up with an exception. Miraculous. Now, apply your formula to a 20 point lead. I’m sure you have plenty of time on your hands and plenty of brainpower to do so. You are to blogging what Richard Simmons is to bodybuilding.

  23. Bullchet,

    Hell 9 year olds can figure out that scenario. Your post absolutely identifies that a lobster brain can navigate a keyboard.

  24. BC, read a little more slowly this time. It’s easy to make these mistakes, I’m sure. I didn’t say ‘theoretically’. Tell me more about this game.

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