Sycamores spoil Miller’s debut, blow away Hoosiers 90-69

A thud arose from in front of the Indiana bench early in the second half.

It was Archie Miller, pounding his fist against the scorer’s table as he watched one of the many Indiana State 3-pointers fall gently through the net.

Months of anticipation pointed to Friday night — Miller’s debut as IU coach and the beginning of a new era of Hoosier basketball.

This, however, was an occasion all involved would rather forget.

The Hoosiers couldn’t defend, initiate a halfcourt offense or do much of anything to fight off the Sycamores in a 90-69 loss at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Indiana State (1-0) set a new Assembly Hall opponent record with 17 3-pointers, controlling the contest from the opening tip-off through the final buzzer. Most discouraging was IU’s lack of response — because on this night, it simply had none.

“You know, you’re not going to give up 90 points at home in your home opener if you’re playing hard as hell,” Miller said. “You’re just not. And that’s where we’re at.”

Miller, who became the first IU coach since Everett Dean in 1924 to lose his first game, spent his postgame press session offering an honest assessment of his team. The gist? The Hoosiers, as currently constructed, just aren’t very good right now — or mentally tough enough.

The good news, of course, is that there are still four months to nurture growth.

This was always going to be a flawed team, especially one that would require patience on the offensive end. But it was the defensive showing that produced arguably the biggest let-down, particularly after Miller focused so much of IU’s off-season work on developing better defensive fundamentals and teaching the principles of his pack-line defense.

Indiana State shot 65 percent from 3-point range and finished five players in double figures, led by Brenton Scott’s game-high 24 points. The Sycamores hit open shots, contested attempts and even sank a few desperation heaves against dying shot clocks.

Leading 54-33 at halftime, the Sycamores came out of the locker room and continued to work the Hoosiers. Five minutes into the half, ISU’s lead was 30 points.

“I think in the first half a lot of the 3-point shots came from us just not playing hard enough,” senior guard Robert Johnson said. “I can’t necessarily put it on a coverage or a scheme that we didn’t do. We just didn’t have the carryover that we do in practice every day by taking things like that away.”

Offensively, Indiana was a mess. Friday was yet another example of what can happen when a team built to make 3-pointers doesn’t hit them.

While the Sycamores deployed their long-range assault on the other end of the floor, IU hit merely 4 of its 18 3-point attempts. The Hoosiers were void of any halfcourt flow and saw their guards struggle to spark their sets. Johnson finished as a minus-24, Devonte Green finished as a minus-23 and Josh Newkirk finished as a minus-16.

“It’s an unsure team of when to pass, unsure team when to shoot and it’s an unsure team of how to dribble,” Miller said. “When you have that, you are going to have wasted possessions. Combine that with some inexcusable not running underneath the out-of-bounds play properly and getting the turnover, and we’re just a hodgepodge.

“I have got to do a better job of emphasizing and teaching. That’s what it will come down to: How good can we teach these guys? They’re only going to get better if we teach them.”

The only bright spot Friday was the offensive presence of center De’Ron Davis, who supplied realistic hope for an inside game this season. Davis finished with a team-high 14 points, making six of his seven shot attempts.

Aside from that, there was nothing else to celebrate.

On a night the Hoosiers had hoped to fete the beginning of a new chapter in their storied history, they instead supplied a list of warts that their new coach must now fix.

They won’t have to wait long for the next chance. Howard, one of the lowest-ranked opponents on this year’s non-conference schedule, will be in Assembly Hall on Sunday night at 8.

“We’ve got to get some guys playing at a consistent level,” Miller said. “When we do that we’ll be better. We’ll get better. That’s the one thing I think I have confidence of. We’ll get better. The guys on the team understand right now it doesn’t feel good. But the only way you can get rid of that is to find a way to get the next one.”

10 comments

  1. Wow but can’t say I’m too surprised. The article is spot on when saying this year will require patience. Old habits are hard to die especially when you inherit the previous regimes players.

  2. I’m sure that Indiana State would like to purchase the rims from I U, their three point shooting was out of site. ISU guards were quicker than any of the I U guards and shot the lights out. Nothing out of the I U guards tonight, no real crisp ball movement and nothing from the wings, Davis was the only I U player that was in the game tonight. Wasn’t a fun sight to watch tonight for the IU fans, as the game was over by halftime. CM will have to work real hard to get this team going in the right direction.

  3. Wow….Being reported by ESPN that the three arrested UCLA players will not be accompanying the Bruins team back to the United States. They are going to be held in China(for the alleged stealing of sunglasses) for two to three more weeks.

    What an utter mess….And to think some of these kids were in line to get multimillion dollar NBA contracts in one or two years? Theft? Really?

  4. 2016 IU Basketball: This loss to Ft. Wayne is probably the worst loss ever for this program. 2017 IU Basketball: Here hold my beer.

    1. Darn….I thought you liked the artwork. Check out the Live Ticker…That’s where the “best point so far this season” was made.

      Funny …Visited ‘Inside the Halitosis’ last night(formerly Inside the Apologist…formerly Inside the Hall). First time I’ve read anything from that zombie land in years. It appears they have a ‘Scoop Chet’ and a ‘Scoop Geoff’. Because they use “Scoop” in their screen names, I would ban them as traitors from ever participating here again.

  5. One game does not a season make, but…..It is going to take Archie two years to have a very competitive team. I would like to think last night’s performance does not deter Garland or Langford from choosing IU. To no ones surprise, this year’s team is terrible. Johnson had his good year when Yogi and Blackmon would carry the load. The other guards are mediocre at best. So much of this year’s success seems to be on Davis turning into a dominating force. He has improved, but it really is too much to ask. The complimentary players are below standard to compete in the top tier of the Big 10. I think Archie is a good coach. This will be an ugly year that requires the fan base to be patient and believe better times are ahead. That being said, I have to believe the defense will get better as the year progresses. If it does not, Ouch!

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