IU can’t spoil Purdue’s title celebration in 86-75 loss

WEST LAFAYETTE — Gold and black confetti fluttered from the rafters at the end of the night, commencing a celebration that had been years in waiting.

The party for Purdue’s Big Ten-best 23rd conference championship began as soon as the clock expired, forcing Indiana to walk through the mess of paper scraps on the way back to the visitor’s locker room in the bowels of Mackey Arena. The Hoosiers had a chance to play spoiler on Tuesday in a hostile building. Instead, they played themselves out of an opportunity to upset their in-state rival in an 86-75 loss to the No. 16 Boilermakers.

While Indiana (16-14, 6-11) retreated to make sense of another defeat, the program’s eighth in the past 10 games, Purdue players got their hands on the Big Ten trophy — the same award IU paraded around this time last year.

The Hoosiers have fallen far from that peak in the ensuing 12 months, unable to keep pace with a Boilers’ group that was focused on clinching the conference crown.

Indiana was once again prone to the kinds of ridiculous and unfocused turnovers coach Tom Crean has lamented seemingly all season, committing 11 errors in the first 20 minutes. IU didn’t shoot its first free throws of the night until the 11:02 mark of the second half and saw both of its primary bigs, Thomas Bryant and De’Ron Davis foul out.

“I cannot tell you how bad it hurts as a human being, as a leader of them for them not to get the results a lot of times for the work that they put in,” Crean said. “It hurts everybody.”

During the last month, as IU has played tight games against the top teams in the middling Big Ten conference, Crean has spoken about how his team is only a few plays and a couple possessions from getting over the hump.

In front of a raucous Purdue crowd, the Hoosiers were unable to take the steps necessary for finding that breakthrough — even as Purdue (24-6, 13-4) struggled early to find its offensive footing.

Indiana offered virtually nothing new in its penultimate regular season game, save for the revelation that little-used scholarship forward Tim Priller was capable of providing decent minutes in a pinch.

Otherwise, Indiana once again looked the part of a disconnected team unable to string together enough stretches of decent play.

James Blackmon Jr. led IU with 16 points, while Josh Newkirk and Devonte Green each added 13 points. Caleb Swanigan led Purdue with 21 points, while Dakota Mathias scored 19.

Green’s 3-pointer at the 11:05 mark gave IU its first — and only — lead at 17-14. From there, Purdue swung back with an 8-0 run fueled entirely by Mathias, who had 17 points at halftime. Mathias’ scoring swing forced IU coach Tom Crean to call time out just prior to the under-eight media time out, at which point Indiana had more errors (eight) than field goals (seven).

Mathias was a central part of IU’s game plan, with IU leading its film study in the buildup to Tuesday’s game with clips of the Purdue junior guard.

It didn’t seem to help.

“As good as Swanigan is and the rest of them, Mathias is the key to their team,” Crean said. “We did a great job against him at our place and then today … he got hot and we lost him a couple times. I think that hurt us.”

Crean used another time out at the 5:24 mark after Purdue made its seventh consecutive field goal attempt and opened a 33-23 lead. The Boilers’ first-half lead grew to as many as 15 points late in the period. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers went into halftime trailing 40-32 without having shot a single free throw.

Just like last week at Iowa, where IU was also on the wrong end of a glaring free throw discrepancy, Crean declined to discuss the difference in free throws, which saw Purdue go 28-for-33 at the line and IU merely 13-for-17.
Newkirk, however, offered a blunt assessment.

“I thought we were getting fouled, but I guess they didn’t call it,” Newkirk said.

The Hoosiers hit three early 3-pointers to start the second half, including two by Blackmon that helped get Indiana within 45-41 three minutes into the period.

That was as close as IU would creep.

A sky hook from Priller, who replaced Davis after he fouled out midway through the second half, got IU within six with 10:09 to play.

Even as Priller gave IU some decent minutes in an emergency role, Purdue answered with a 12-5 spurt and essentially salted the game away when Bryant fouled out with 5:45 to play.

At that point, the Purdue celebration was a mere formality, and a tough season for Indiana, got a little tougher.

“Our guys are positive,” Newkirk said. “We’re gonna keep fighting, keep working.”


  1. CTC, check your voice messages, to see if your agent has returned your calls with an escape plan from Bloomington for you.

  2. I listen to Sirius/XM on my way to and from work each day. In the last week there’s been 2 separate accounts of Crean looking for a landing place……where there’s smoke there’s fire. We can all only hope.

    Again, nice guy, did his job of getting us back to competitiveness from the ashes. But both sides now agree it is time to move on. I believe Crean is a bright man. His son is coming to IU to play baseball; a son once booed at his Bloomington North high school game. I think he’s smart enough to know nothing good can come of this.

  3. AWinAZ, I always have enjoyed your posts! But I question your assessment of Crean as “nice guy”. The play that exemplified our season was Richland Texas native Priller’s thug foul (4th) against the marvelous Fort Wayne native Caleb Swanigan.

    There was something very ugly in that geek’s butt-first ‘tackle’ on a player going up for a close-in shot. Ugly and only allowed because it was a flushed “white” showing the only way he could ‘compete’ with an athletically superior “black”. In our sick society this type of behavior is rationalized and not awarded the proper punishment (in this case, ejection from the game).

    Great camera work from ESPN showed Priller smirking as he made his way to the bench, “I got him good” he seemed to say. Yee Haw!

    If anything has been a lasting legacy of Tom Crean’s unhappy tenure here in Bloomington, it has been the allowance of gloating, taunting, stepping over inferior players, screaming in ecstasy after individual plays, and now the penultimate moment, the geek being given the chance to try to injure a candidate for National Player of the Year. And in the post-game, Crean crowed how Priller is “getting better”.

    I might be alone on this website, but I admired Swanigan for focusing on winning the game instead of retaliating. But (again, great camera work) showed Swanigan’s initial reaction to this white boy mugging him.

    We look like a bunch of yahoos. Time for the Exodus.

  4. Swanigan is a class act from the get go. I remember the first matchup this year. TB was whining about…well…everything. Swanigan got completely hosed on a foul call and he trots back down the floor with a smile on his face and an almost imperceptible shake of his head. Reminded me of Magic.

    He’s a helluva basketball player, too.

  5. There’s an old country song title, Thank God and Greyhound, she’s gone”, maybe a new title “Thank God and Mayflower, he’s gone”

  6. IF you want to send a message to other possible coaches and to players …..Fire Crean today!!! don’t allow him to finish the season…appoint martin or Judson to finish out. Makes the kids decide if they want to stay or go…tell the coaching world there is an opening for a TOP tier program. And Glass can start looking for replacement.

  7. TJ in Texas don’t do anything rash that will cost I U a bunch of dollars, CTC could see the light(or the Darkness of his situation and leave on his own) the Myles Brand way of getting rid of a coach is real ugly and will linger. Don’t burn the bridge while CTC is still on the bridge and have his supporters have an ax to grid, and the AD is a lawyer first and likes to have settlements and not legal issues to confront. A new coach would be real concerned of what treatment the guy he replacing received going out the door.

  8. There were two columns in the Indiana Daily Student regarding the loss to Purdue. At the end of one column was a quote by Josh Newkirk stating something like, “I thought they were fouling us, but the refs did not call it that way.” (I don’t have the paper in front of me but could get it if anyone wants a perfectly accurate quote).

    In any event, here you have the Coach whining about the calls, and when a reporter asks a Player, the player cannot (as normal) not comment or (better) state something like “you have to play the game how it’s called”..but must follow the Leadership of his Coach and ALSO whine about not getting the call. FANS can bitch about the call, it’s what FANS do.

    However, Players MUST accept the call and play according to it…in every huddle I have ever been in during a competitive basketball game, this is what my Coach directed me/us to do. It’s called adapting to the circumstance and competing.

    To whine is Despicable. So THIS is Indiana? Sadly, it is what we have become.

  9. I U South…I thought about that very thing AFTER I posted. I guess what I would hope for is CTC take an early exit after tournament (NIT) determinations are made. It would make it much simpler for all concerned especially the players that may be sitting on the fence as to transfer or not.

  10. You guys are in a dream world. Crean will not walk away and he will not be fired.
    No OG? No Hartman? Blackmon only coming to full strength recently? Fred wouldn’t fire Crean without those excuses, but he’ll certainly use them as a defense of the coach who had a significant role in putting him into his AD chair.

    There will be no easy transition. There will be no firing. There will be no buyout in July…or anytime sooner. You’ll have this coach until Fred is removed(or leaves on his own accord) as AD.

    There is too much in the form of loyalty/relationships between these two. When Crean was facing heavy criticism at Marquette, Joey Glass(Fred’s son), in a letter-to-the-editor piece for the’ Marquette Wire’ vehemently defended Crean as a top basketball coach(just before Crean was hired by IU). These men will not abandon their loyalties at any cost.

  11. I don’t think ‘Pinball Screening Wizard Priller’ intended to hurt Swanigan. If you want to hurt a guy, you take out his knees. You don’t go high. Or, you slam his hand against the backboard as a Purdue defender once did to end Scott May’s ’75-76 season.

    I do agree that there is way too much whining on the team. Bryant whines over every single call….You’ve got to do better than that when wearing the candy stripes. The perpetuation of this results from the lack of mental toughness and the immature smirking constantly coming from the whiner in charge of the entire team.
    I’ll never forget the smirk Crean was giving Knight after ‘The General’ sent Crean all the appropriate body language signs that he just wanted to be left alone. Back when Crean had an active twitter page, he constantly praised and made glowing comments about Knight and Knight’s leadership/coaching philosophy. How quickly Crean’s smirk erased the sincerity of his mountain of twitter praise for Knight. The man has absolutely zero class. Never has. Never will.
    This labeled “disconnect” on the team is because there is no class, leadership, maturity, toughness, sincerity with out cynicism that has always been signature Crean.

    1. I completely agree that Priller was not doing anything intentional. It was an awkward move by an awkward player — he was in the air before Swanigan even turned to the basket. And it was his fourth foul in five minutes, so coordinated defense is not his strong suit.

  12. First of all, Crean won’t go anywhere of his own volition. If he leaves, he will have to be fired. Second of all, the buyout really isn’t an issue. Right now, it’s at $4 million and falls to $1 million on July 1. That doesn’t mean Glass can’t make a switch before that. If he wants to make a change, all he has to do is say that Crean won’t be back after the 2017 season, then keep him on the payroll until July 1. But Glass is in a very sticky situation right now. He needs to either cut bait, or extend Crean’s contract by a year. Because after this season, CTC has three years left — and having three years on your contract can hamstring you as far as recruiting. So it will be VERY interesting to see how Glass deals with everything.

  13. CalCheaneyfan, which brother-in-law are you? I think CTC is in the very sticky situation now.

  14. Both Crean and Glass are in a sticky situation. But thanks for the snarky comment.

  15. Glass will feel the heat IF he does nothing at seasons end …meaning by July 1st….with caliber of play this year very similar to the 2014-15 season of “matador Defense” and Turnovers equal to 1/2 the game possessions. I would think the Alumni wont tolerate “ground hog day” performances. NO excuse for matador defense….and the turnovers have ALWAYS been an Achilles heel of Crean’s teams. Those 2 areas has very little to do with injuries “hampering us ” Its ALWAYS the same excuse by Crean and I would think THOSE are wearing VERY thin on Fans and Alumni’s ears…Appears the only one wearing “ear muffs” is Glass.

  16. Agree with TJ to a point. Glass is holding the best cards in the game but he will not tip them to us. I’d bet a $k boy he is as we speak busy as hell behind the scenes planning the direction of the Hoosiers 2017-18 BB season and the future of the program beyond.

  17. HC, I imagine you are correct. Despite all his critics here most rational people see the tremendous improvements in the IU athletic department during his tenure. He is a smart dude who loves IU as much as the rest of us. He didn’t hire CTC in the first place.

    I have high hopes.

    1. Harvard, you must have really long arms. Because that’s the biggest reach I’ve seen in years.

  18. h4h, you provide an idiot statement saying nothin about your ranting claim. But you scheme however you wish as it is obvious some 1 has to think up fairy tales for children.

  19. You provide idiotic denial to support your narrative. The details are out there. These men on our so-called committees during the hiring phases of Crean and Glass had relationships that should have recused them from input or sitting on committees. Conflict of interest. Gonso and Glass had worked as legal counsel between state and city(Indy) government respectively. Glass worked with Mayor Peterson’s office and advised Peterson to give full concessions to the state of Indiana (Daniels represented by Gonso) in controlling the building of Lucas Oil Stadium.
    Flash forward a couple years later. Gonso is picked/selected to head up the IU committee that would soon hire Crean. Crean had already been pegged as a favorite of Joey Glass. The dots are pretty simple to connect. Crean is subsequently placed on the AD hiring committee and picks Fred.

    No AD should have escaped accountability for the results of the Indiana University basketball program. The AD should have been selected before the head coach. The AD should have subsequently picked his choice to head our basketball program. If that would have been Crean, the so be it. I am saying the got to same ultimate place via a foolish waste of money/process and backdoor politicking. They knew who they wanted but they wanted to buffer themselves from risk and accountability. It’s what lawyers are experts at.

    You may want to claim it’s all coincidence. That’s fine. But these people(primarily our AD and the lawyer, Gonso, who headed up the committee to hire Crean) were far from strangers. A son of Fred Glass wrote a rather extensive defense of Tom Crean as a great coach said son was attending Marquette. I don’t think the dots are so difficult to connect.

    Indiana fans were sold that this was all a diplomatic and investigative process for multiple candidates. From my vantage point, that’s absolute hogwash. These are very prominent positions at Indiana University.

    You’ll have Crean for a very long time. We’ve already had him for far too long. We hear arguments against buying out contracts and the dollars we don’t have. You want to talk about integrity and dollars? Crean had just signed a 10 year contract to stay at Marquette before his name would surface in a committee room at Indiana. If these boys weren’t lawyers, they’d be professional money launderers. Why would he want an escape clause? I’ll tell you why. Maybe because this very mediocre coach already knew things were on the horizon.

  20. HOWEY Political Report
    Weekly Briefing on Indiana Politics
    Page 4

    Thursday, April 28, 2005

    Capitulation Week Part 2: Peterson’s stunning stadium
    concessions a reality in power
    -Josef Stalin

    Here’s the link. http://www.in.gov/library/files/HPR1133.pdf.pdf

    You can find the details that will show the meetings between Glass and Gonso in the article by Stalin. I’m not saying that Gonso owed Glass a favor of sorts…but isn’t it interesting that the state got everything they wanted while Glass was representing the city and Peterson?: And isn’t it interesting that Gonso was on the committee to hire Crean instead of the committee to hire Glass? Isn’t even more interesting that Crean was on a committee to pick his own AD. You can’t write fairy tales this good.

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