Indiana falls to 1-5 on the road with disappointing defeat

WHAT HAPPENED: For the second straight road game, Indiana took a double-digit lead in the first half only to lose it in the second. After taking a 13-point first-half advantage, the Hoosiers were outscored 36-24 in the second half by Minnesota to fall 66-60 to the Golden Gophers in front of 14,625 at Williams Arena.

The Hoosiers opened the game on a 14-4 run, allowed Minnesota to cut it to 15-13, then went on an 11-0 run to make it 26-13. They were still up 36-26 with a minute left in the first half before the Gophers got a pair of buckets to cut it to 36-30.

The Gophers opened the second half with an 8-2 run, however, and from there it was bucket-for-bucket the rest of the way. The Hoosiers had an eight point lead with 13:56 left, but lost that on a 13-1 run. The game was tied 56-56 with 5:24 before two free throws by Mathieu and a layup by center Elliott Eliason made it 60-56 with 3:14 left.

IU sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell hit a turnaround jumper from the wing to cut it to 62-58 with 1:26 left, but Minnesota’s Joey King hit a jumper to make it 62-58. The Hoosiers missed a jumper but freshman forward Noah Vonleh grabbed a steal off the rebound and scored to make it 62-6- with 41 seconds to go. 

Minnesota called timeout with 34 seconds to go in the game and 27 seconds on the shot clock. Indiana opted not to foul and Minnesota guard DeAndre Mathieu crossed over IU senior guard Evan Gordon for a layup to make it 64-60 and effectively clinch the game.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Mathieu was the toughest player on the floor for Indiana to guard. The Central Arizona College transfer scored 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting and also dished out five assists, carving the Hoosiers up on the dribble drive. Junior guard Andre Hollins did much of the same with 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting.

Minnesota big man Maurice Walker was also a problem for the Hoosiers to deal with, posting 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting with eight rebounds.

Ferrell hit a pair of acrobatic three-pointers that indicated he might be in for another lights-out shooting performance like he did against Michigan. Not quite. He still finished with a team-high 14 points, but he was 5-for-16 from the floor and 2-for-9 from the 3-point arc.

Freshman forward Noah Vonleh had his 10th double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman forward Troy Williams scored the first nine points of the game and finished with 11 for his first double-figure scoring effort since Dec. 10. Senior forward Will Sheehey added 11 points.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: On the offensive side of the ball, the Hoosiers ran into turnover problems, the one thing that absolutely could not happen against Minnesota’s defense. Richard Pitino’s Golden Gophers full-court press just like his father’s Louisville team and they were leading the league in steals coming into the game. In the first half, the Hoosiers didn’t have many problems dealing with the traps and the press and had just five turnovers. In the second half, they gave it away 11 times. Some of that was because of the traps, some of it was because the Hoosiers simply drove into traffic and didn’t draw foul calls (yes, some of the no-calls were questionable.). Still, the Golden Gophers turned those into 20 points.

On the other side of the ball, the Hoosiers had defensive breakdowns late in the shot clock. They got beat off the dribble drive and off of pick-and-rolls. Mathieu and Hollins proved nearly impossible for the Hoosiers to guard and the Hoosiers twice allowed easy buckets when no one either followed or rotated to the roll man on the pick and roll. Both Elliott Eliason and Maurice Walker got easy layups that way. All of that allowed Minnesota to come back while the Hoosiers were wasting possessions on turnovers as well as some quick, ill-advised shots.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: This is another significant blow to the Hoosiers NCAA Tournament hopes, which were starting to gain momentum after the win over Michigan on Sunday. This loss sends Indiana back deep into the NIT back and to climb out of it the Hoosiers have to start winning games immediately. Indiana’s 1-5 road record doesn’t look good in the minds of the selection committee and losses to Northwestern, Nebraska and Minnesota don’t make the Hoosiers look like even the best of the Big Ten’s middle of the pack. The Wisconsin and Michigan wins still look good, but it’s probably going to take at least 20 wins and a 10-8 conference record for the Hoosiers to get into the tournament. This was one more missed opportunity to come closer to that threshold. To make it now, they need at least two wins in their remaining games against Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa, plus they need to take care of business against Penn State, Purdue, Nebraska and Northwestern. If they have any leeway left to lose games to the likes of the middle to back of the pack in the conference, it isn’t much.

Tom Crean on whether he thought about fouling:

“There was enough time. We wanted to trust the defense on that. … What we wanted to do is get into the zone. The bottom line is that’s as quick a guard as you can face, but he’s that much quicker when you reach. You’ve just gotta do everything you can do right there to keep the ball in front. … If that would’ve been under five seconds, then you’ve gotta foul early, and you really want to stretch it. But I think right there, you’ve gotta trust your defense. I wouldn’t change that. You’ve just gotta keep that kid in front of you, and you can’t let him go right.”

On Defensive breakdowns in the second half

“Sometimes, it’s just one person not being in the right place,” Crean said. “Those are things that are practiced and covered. I think when there’s some youth like this — we didn’t have those issues a Sunday ago at home, you know — in a situation like this, if you don’t have everybody locked in all the way through the very end, things like that can happen, because they’re good. They know how to find their spots. But I think it’s just a couple of rotations where we didn’t rotate inside on the roll, and we got screwed up on the switch one time.”

On Turnovers:

“Coming out of a timeout knowing that the trap is coming, still turning it over. Going into the lane a little bit much, driving into a crowd rather than drawing the crowd and making the kick. I think that was it, trying to do a little too much. Not trying to do too much for ourselves, but trying to do too much creating. We want to create contact, we want to get to the line. We just gotta make the simple play. I think we’ve been getting better at that and when you don’t make the simple play, we turn it over.”


  1. I believe Goldy Gopher and his family live in the 4700 sq. ft. luxury crib under the hardwood.

    All kidding aside…There actually used to be a hockey rink underneath and the floor had to be raised because the cold ice too close to the warm maple would cause moister to sweat through…Needed about a 3-ft elevated air gap with a circulating cold air return venting system. The cool air is sent to the upper levels of the stands and serves as cooling supplemented by an AC system.

  2. I just made all that up….

    How can we forget the scene of George Bailey dancing with Mary in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life?’ Remember how the gymnasium floor begins to open up to expose the swimming pool underneath? George dancing and showing off his steps right on the edge of a drop-off while completely unaware he’s on backward step from taking a dive..?

    1. From a 2007 story in the Minnesota Daily:

      The feature that makes the Barn most unique is the raised floors. Michael Dale, a facility manager for Williams Arena, said having a raised court provides for a better view of the action.
      “The floor was raised to increase sightlines in the arena,” he said. “Naturally, it also creates a buffer zone between fans and court.”

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