Fort Wayne bests Indiana again, 92-72

It happened again.

For the second straight year, Fort Wayne had Indiana’s number. Convincingly so.

The Mastodons backed up last season’s win at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, charging into Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and shocking the Hoosiers, 92-72, Monday night.

Consider it one step forward, one giant step back for an IU team still digesting its biggest win under new coach Archie Miller, Saturday’s Crossroads Classic victory over No. 18 Notre Dame. After that performance, Miller spoke of his team’s need to “get off the clouds” and refocus for a tight turnaround against a hungry in-state opponent.

Instead, these Hoosiers simply weren’t up for the challenge.

The momentum built from Saturday’s win? It’s gone now, erased by hapless and uninspired basketball from Indiana (6-6), which has twice been embarrassed by in-state mid-major foes on its home floor this season.

“Really disappointing game for our team,” Miller said. “Give Fort Wayne a lot of credit. Executed their game plan on both ends of the floor really well. Wasn’t close in terms of the approach coming out of halftime. It wasn’t close.”

The blame could be spread in any number of directions — defense, particularly on the perimeter; stagnant, and unfocused offense that committed 18 turnovers; and hardly any fire against a Summit League opponent picked to finish fourth in its league.

“We didn’t come out ready to play mentally,” senior forward Collin Hartman said. “We didn’t do what we needed to do offensively or defensively. Give them credit, they shot tremendously and played great defense. We jus didn’t come out ready to play.”

Monday was a flashback to the season-opening loss to Indiana State, when the Sycamores tied the Assembly Hall opponent record with 17 3-pointers. The Mastodons? They also tied that mark, taking advantage of looks in transition and, most maddening for Indiana, wide-open views from the corners.

“We had lost assignments in the second half,” Miller said. “Number one in transition, we got caught not being ready a few times. Then in the halfcourt we lost our man two or three times on some of their actions.

“More importantly, I thought we were paralyzed by our offense. I thought our ineptness, guys not normally getting some of the stuff they’ve been getting in recent weeks, put us in a situation where we were going to have to claw and find a way defensively. We weren’t able to do that tonight.”

Fort Wayne (8-5) was already 7-for-13 from 3-point range at halftime and, somehow, got even hotter in the second half, when they made 10 of their 17 shots from deep. The Hoosiers held a tenuous 37-36 halftime lead, but the Mastodons made each of their first six shots from the field to begin pulling away.

Kason Harrell led all scorers with 28 points, while Bryson Scott turned in 26. Jon Konchar made six of his 10 field goals, finishing with 16 points.

“They ran a few plays three or four times in a row,” Juwan Morgan said. “People were getting lost on defense. Nobody was talking.”

Robert Johnson led IU with 17 points, but he also committed six turnovers for the second consecutive game. The errors drove Miller mad, watching as his team fail to establish any semblance of halfcourt continuity. Indiana had 12 turnovers at halftime. Fort Wayne, meanwhile, finished with 13 steals.

“They weren’t even turnovers that were, like, forced,” Miller lamented. “That’s the thing that frustrates you. It’s out-letting the ball to the other team on a rebound, dribbling the ball way too much, dribbling into defense, they can steal it off you. … The turnovers that you saw were turnovers that were just unforced errors, lackadaisical, in some cases just really mind-boggling.”

Morgan pointed out afterwards that Fort Wayne took advantage of the turnovers, scoring 29 points directly off Hoosier mistakes.

It was a deflating night any way you look at it, given all the progress this IU team has made since that opening-night loss to Indiana State.

It was the kind of night that can’t keep happening.

“We just didn’t come out ready,” Morgan said. “That’s all there is to it.”

49 comments

  1. What Archie has on his hands is a team that can’t play defense well enough to offset terrible shooting. We simply cannot shoot the ball. The FT% speaks for itself, but so does the layup %. Is that a stat? I’ve never seen a team miss so many point blank shots. But the way to beat us is with a 2-3 or 3-2 zone.

    This team simply isn’t good. They need extreme effort to win games against anybody. They get that effort against the big names like Duke, L-village, ND, Seton Hall but in reality they aren’t wired for consistently superb effort.

    We just had a guy score 34 on Bonzie Cohlson and I don’t think we fed him more than 2 or 3 times all night. In Archie’s post game appearance he said that he thought we took a lot of selfish shots, even in the 1st half. And he is totally correct.

    1. This team was coming together around the premise that in not being selfish, opportunities abound in running the offense. As you said, the ball was barely fed through the post tonight. A lot of lethargic passing around the perimeter. People were saying the RJ played well in the 1st half, but I think it was a mixed bag. After he hit two threes, he then took two really terrible, contested and deep shots early in the shot clock.

      I really want to like RJ as a player as he seems like a good kid. But I guess he feels like he has to the “the man” and that means turning into the scoring machine that he isn’t. He just doesn’t have that killer instinct where he’d rather eat fecal matter than get beat. He’s nothing more than a role player.

      I’m disappointed in Juwaan tonight, too. He’s been the only real alpha dog. He should have been out there getting in guys faces DEMANDING the ball down low. I know he had foul trouble in the 1st half. However, the beginning of the 2nd half, before the game got out of control, he should have been right there getting position and screaming for the ball. Instead, our guards were over-dribbling, tossing the ball around the perimeter, driving into traffic, bricking jumpshots and missing layups when they were getting open (Newkirk).

      These guys better rest up. They’re going to be running a lot tomorrow at 5 am.

  2. I think we have to face the terrible truth that this team simply does not have the right ingredients to win on a consistent basis. It is just a bad mixture of misplaced parts. May take a couple recruiting classes to get enough of the right chemistry for the program to be successful to the standards expected by Hoosiernation.

  3. This game just proves how far away this team really is. They have to learn to build off of their momentum and they just can’t do that. This game is almost a mirror image of what happened versus Michigan after being competitive with Duke. Come out flat and little life when they should have been full of confidence and enthusiasm. I bet ND looked at that game last night and tried to figure out how the hell they lost to Indiana. This is how the Big Ten season is going to go from a schedule standpoint and they will have to figure this out. There are many weeks where there is only one day rest in between games due to the compact Big Ten schedule.

  4. I think we should just send 5 players out there without a basketball …they cant shoot so why even give them a ball to play with.

  5. While I was in Bloomington last night to watch the I U BASKETBALL game, I thought it’s an absolute shame that Coach Tom Crean isn’t in Bloomington coaching his 10 years worth of recruiting and having to see the results of his efforts this year, Coach Miller has a REAL BIG job in front of him to get this train wreck back on the tracks.

    1. Yup, he had 38 vs the Celts last night. Thought he lays an egg in big games. Almost single-handedly won the game for them last night.

      Narratives. 🙂

      1. Per usual….When Hoosier fans have nothing to prove with regard to any positive movement in basketball(e.g. No Elite 8 appearances since Mike Davis’s bunch made a Cinderella run to a title game with, basically, a team full of Mitch McGaryesque players who played with gumption and grit and knew how to perform in the clutch), what’s a Hoosier fan to do? What’s a Hoosier fan to do with their free time other than talk of former Coach Galileo’s great undiscovered star from Maryland who we had the fortune to experience his baby basketball steps on McCracken?
        Oh, what fun…while we watch 19/20 of his recruits bring a satirical version/tragic comedy of the game to Assembly in what could only be described as something out of a Mel Brooks film for hoops…
        Yup, all of the Establishment loves ’em some Oladipo and some Brad Stevens. Meanwhile, the paying customers at the comedy theater now at 17th and Fee Lane get to watch a marvelously entertaining couple of hours of bricklayers and pieced together rosters in a Hoosier version of ‘Young Clankenstein.’
        Yippee..Victor has convinced the ESPN dimwits and a bunch of shallow salivating Envyanapolis voters he is the next Dr. J.

        1. Mitch McGaryesque?

          Naw, all those Hoosiers graduated. Plus, they were Hoosiers. We know you only cheer for Illinois pro teams and Michigan college teams. Why do you post here, anyway?

          What is your fascination with bowlers?

      2. By the way, playoff games are big games….And they get bigger with each succeeding round. There are a 1000 Micheal Jordans and Larry Birds until it gets to Game 7 of an elimination game or an NBA Finals.
        If(a very, very big ‘if’) and when that day ever comes for any of the current headline acts getting 30 seconds of recognition on SportsCenter to play in conference finals and NBA finals, we’ll see how smooth the jumpers fall with the sorts of weights and chips on shoulders on the biggest proving ground stages.

      3. Don’t forget the 33 he put down on the Cavs the other night when the Pacers ended Cleveland’s winning streak.

        But LeBron probably wasn’t trying.

        1. So funny. You can’t go a week without bringing up a nothing guy who couldn’t even make anyone’s roster, Mitch McGillicuddy, but turn right around and claim that nothing Victor does matters unless it’s in the 7th game of the NBA finals.

          You know who will never, ever play in an NBA finals? Mitch McGillicuddy.

          You’re always good for a laugh.

          1. You know who will never play in an NCAA championship game? Brictor Oladipo.

            You’re better for a laugh….Wrestlers are always experts at watching hoops.

          2. And you boys are the one’s who never stop bringing up Mitch McGary….I merely respond that he was a young man from Indiana who put his team on his back, took the NCAA tournament by storm, and led his team to a title game. Zeller and Oladud were embarrassed at Sweet 16’s. Is what it is….

            Sure, they graduated. Sure, they make millions….But they sure did nothing in living up to their college hypefest. The banners are as dusty as ever. The Final Fours are only of McCracken, Knight, and Davis. A decade of ugly hoops from a very challenged coach and his next D-Wade…Yippee. You share the storied college basketball dominance of something far less than Crean achieved when he was at Marquette. All you have is slobbering over somebody jacking up 30 shots a game on the Pacers. What a storied tale you cling….

  6. Excellent post AWinAZ. You nailed it.

    This roster is going to struggle to produce a winning record this season. No matter how much effort they put forth on defense, or how much they reduce turnovers, they’re simply not good enough on offense. They can’t shoot! They are terrible from 3-point range (4 of 24), they’re bad at the FT line, and they are horrible at the rim. And while they elevate their energy and effort for big name opponents, they can’t sustain that effort from game to game. It is painful to watch this team try to score points.

  7. Watching the game last night I U ‘s guards are too slow, when you get quick guards that are also good shooters our guards are way too slow to keep up on defense. Fort Wayne and Indiana State’s guards brought out that weakness out big time. Fort Wayne other three point plays happened when their shooters had plenty of time to spot up and shoot wide open shots. I U looked tired and mentally unfocused last night. Some of the I U players( I won’t call out by names) need to just complete a simple play, and not try for a show off play.

  8. Make no bones about it. Sans those first three Crean teams, this might be the most embarrassed I’ve been watching Indiana. No one brought any heart last night. It isn’t just that they were playing selfishly, it’s that the effort was a zero. Especially in the 2nd half.

    We have Tennessee Tech next. I’d start all the walk-ons, managers and maybe even Priller.

  9. DD, I’m glad you brought Priller’s name up, I guess some thought we getting Texas’s version of Larry Bird, when he joined the team.

    1. We played in the second game of the Crossroads that went into overtime. Those Hoosier legs had less than 48 hour turnaround to play in front of a Christmas break retirement home crowd at the Assembly Assisted Living Center. And we didn’t even have the clapping sideline clown to startle the old fogies out of their halftime naps.

      Clank was to be expected. And the Mastodons..? Oh, yes …they were fresh as springtime daffodils playing at a place they still believe to be “storied.” A team full of homers came like a tidal wave of 10 Jordy Hulls against a very tired team. They found inspiration under a begone era of banners in front of a flat crowd filling up space.
      Big ass deal.

      Crean’s great bunch of NBA Hall of Famers(after gloating and hitting Top-10 rankings lists like they belonged under banners) laid eggs at every Sweet 16.
      I can live with Archie’s team of leftovers from the recruiting genius stumbling in a meaningless game at the ‘AARP Classic’ vs a team named after a horny dinosaur.

  10. Forget all the 5 and 4 star “recruits”..get to college and what your highschool ranking is …is pretty much junk. I bet IPFW didn’t have over a 3 star recruit starting and more likely 2 star…regardless they can shoot the GD ball better than the 4 stars that Crean recruited. Some of our players shoot so bad they should have their driver’s license revoked for unsafe sight. TO the TEAM I say this::: Whether the odds of you winning a game is 100 to 1 or your opponent beating you 100-1; the INDIANA across your chest makes you a TARGET. The Legacies of Bob Knight teams, Branch McCracken teams seem to be foreign to all of you. Take another tour thru the Museum and LEARN what and Who you play for and the Heart of a State that desperately wants you to SHOW some UNDERSTANDING (by HOW you play) of that Legacy. You all played like you didn’t have a clue , including those of you FROM Indiana.

  11. Think the demographics of our ‘McCracken in December’ fan base is changing…? I believe its all moving in exact fashion to parallel a group, on average, 15 years younger than ‘The General.’ Every night is ‘White Out Night’ at Assembly in December.
    I witnessed a bigger under fifty crowd in the stands of the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s playing of ‘A Christmas Carol’ this past weekend.

  12. Schools like FW don’t get 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 star recruits. There recruits are unrated. Schools like Indiana State except for a couple exceptions rely on 2 star and unrated recruits. However, star rankings do matter very much. Just play the percentages; players and teams who have them (coach who can coach them) vs. players and teams who don’t have them. Last night’s game had 0 to do with star rankings

  13. There’s only one legit Mastodon to ever shake the grounds of Assembly….. Masta Don Fischer!

  14. To suggest that Tom Crean did not leave Indiana with enough talent to be Fort Wayne and Indiana State is complete nonsense. We had enough talent to beat Notre Dame. Guess that was superb coaching. When we lose to Fort Wayne Archie gets a complete pass. I hope Archie can put together something in the future, but the early returns are pretty poor. They say Crean couldn’t inbound the ball, I say Archie can’t defend the three.

      1. ^^^Excellent.

        But no worries…For every 50 bricklayers from the East and A-Hope projects Crean experimented with on McCracken’s NBA audition stage, one gets noticed in the six years. Thus, we are a huge success…..with no deep tournament runs to speak of.

  15. Indiana State was a debut game with very few of the pieces figured out….FW was the first game of the AARP Classic with all the students absent(plus no clapping clown to wake up the old fogies).
    I wouldn’t flush the season. ND lost to Ball State. Kansas barely escaped Nebraska. Boston College took down Duke ( plus numerous other upsets/ near upsets during the last two weeks that I’ve already disregarded/forgotten).

    Archie is a coach. Crean was an act. Let’s not confuse the difference. Archie will own his losses and own any stumbles by a team containing zero of his own recruits. AM will not chase excuses or blame “program wreckers.” That, in itself, is the fresh air and “dignity” any legit Hoosier fan should relish.

  16. A TEAM will beat a bunch of individuals often. That is what happened last night. I truly DO hope that we play with non-current starters against Tennessee Tech! I hope we play the entire game without those who played against Fort Wayne. Let them watch a game.

  17. Yesterday was the first time I’ve turned off an IU game, but when you look at this season so far:

    IU has made 894 points – Opponent – 905
    Field Goal; IU .468 – Opponent – .451
    3 pointers; IU .312 – Opponent – .413
    Free Throw Attempts: IU -174 – Opponent – 161
    Free Throw %; IU ,659 – Opponent ,722
    Turnovers; IU 156 – Opponent 153
    Turnovers per game; IU 13.0 – Opponent 12.8

    Only teams IU had better than opponent 3-point shooting was South Florida and Eastern Michigan.

    Otherwise, what a bad showing by everybody last night. Party all night after the ND game? The ND game had a handful of open shot opportunities that were passed up. Maybe with the emphasis on taking only ‘good’ shots players may be confused if the open look will be classified as ‘good’? Josh maybe trying too hard? Nice to see Johnson’s shot returning, but 6 TOs negates the effort,

    Gonna be an interesting next 4 months and yes, Archie gets a complete pass for this season.

    The stats above, I started to not count the cupcake games, but realized IU may not any opponent anywhere that could be classified as a ‘cupcake’. Those days may be gone for awhile.

  18. to remind people there was a critique of CTC’s recruits that he recruited athletes and not basketball players. Trying to teach athletes how to play AS “Basketball Players” ..we see the work in progress …Athletes cant shoot..they can run the floor and look amazing dunking but shooting and passing and making “creative” cuts just in their nature.

  19. It might be debatable about how good T.C. athletes were. However, example: Troy Williams would look great on some of his plays but still would only count for 2 points. No extra points for spectacular acrobatics. Just 2 points (unless 3 pointer). In his case and others followed by dud plays that resulted in 0 points and lousy defense.

    1. Let’s give credit where credit is due. While he was never consistent as a college player Troy was pretty darned good. Troy has also had some very productive efforts in the NBA. Most players never do. Coaches had to game plan for him.

      On the other hand, Hanner was an athlete, not a gifted basketball player.

      Tijan looked the part. Couldn’t play a lick.

      Victor is a remarkable player and athlete who seemed to get better each time he took the floor.

      These guys ran the gamut. You really can’t pigeonhole the lot.

      1. “Tijan looked the part”…..? For what…? To replace Richard Kiel in a remake of Moonraker.

      2. And most took two years before they even had one lick of basketball IQ ….Yes, we can ‘pigeonhole’ the lot. They were raw talents…And if they had semi-developed shots and dunk skills, they lacked severely in team skills and game IQ. They were Jeckyll and Hyde players because of the rawness. It’s now only the NBA gaining the products of these “athletes” finally getting beyond a raw middle school mentality for the game when they were on our stage.

  20. Yeah, let’s be fair…

    Peter Jurkin …clank
    Miniru Bawa… clank
    Jeremiah April…. clank
    Tim Priller….clank
    Hanner Perea….clank + kicked off
    Guy-Marc Michel…clank + foolishly recruited/ineligible
    Ambi-Stan Robinson…clank + kicked off
    Emmitt Holt ….kicked off
    Jeremiah Rivers….clank + charity scholarship to keep East Coast relationships

    Three gritty/baller transfers (Remy, Beilfeld, and Zeisloft) ….and the last remnants of the last Indiana kid to stay from the “Movement” generated by Zeller, Yogi Ferrell, all pretty much saved Crean’s butt from his NBA experiments/disasters who would have been sinking his teams year…after year…after year.

    Wonderful…We were a mini camp for one now lighting it up on the near-hapless Pacers.

  21. What amazes me is what the nba gets away with selling their kool-Aid. As good as MJ and others are….. for pros, coaches, other execs making multi millions they can’t have team defenses to hold these guys in check to the tune of a very good player over course of their careers. To many times I have seen defenses hardly contest these during season (where does definition of game being fixed begin). Oh, I forgot pro sports is entertainment and MJ types running rough shod during their careers sell many more tickets, beers, cokes, merchandise etc than MJ types who look more normal than super human. (Big Time Wrestling)

  22. It’s hard as an Indiana fan to watch this team go from beating a top 20 team to loosing at home to Fort Wayne…again. This team lacks consistency and the only way this team can stay competitive is to give 100% effort every game. Coming off an overtime game Saturday afternoon and the playing Monday I feel like this loss was a mixture of not having the intensity and legs mixed with egos that felt they didn’t need to give 100% effort to win. Fact is if note dame hit 1 of the last 2 free throws in regulation…iu looses. A win over #18 was treated like some sort of national championship or break through. It’s going to be an up and down season.

  23. We played the #1 team, Duke, pretty darn well. If we had more than one semi-decent perimeter shooter, we likely beat the Blue Devils.

    I think most of us were celebrating the effort against ND and the willingness to fight and claw in a game the Hoosiers were constantly down. ND does not have the team, talent, nor the depth, they’ve had in the last 3 to 4 years. Butler is also down. Purdue is its usual clumsy self with a formula/roster too slow to work in March.

    If Archie can make some additional inroads on the Indiana/Midwest recruiting fronts, there is an opportunity to initiate some positive forces/momentum back against other state programs which have fared far better than the Hoosiers in March(thus making them attractive to the best recruits the state/Midwest have to offer). Defeating ND was more of a symbolic win and a sign of hope…Maybe Indiana can become a primary destination for Mr. Basketball’s and the top players from the state(and many of our bordering states) again.

  24. And, thankfully, the ND game was more of a national market televised game…..(and not the games against ISU and Fort Wayne).

    How bizarre that two of the teams playing in the prestigious ‘Crossroads Classic’ have now had losses against Ball State, Indiana State, and Fort Wayne(IPFW)? Meanwhile MSU is bubbling over with athleticism, size, and seasoned talent. Tough times in Indiana hoops….Tough times for sure.

  25. Hypothetically speaking…I think if Romeo Langford were on this current squad this team would be undefeated. We’ve got a couple bangers down low..and Langford would be option 1 offensively each time down the court (and the kid doesn’t disappoint). Say he Averages 16 points a game on top of better defense..less turnovers…better rebounding at his position. I honestly think IU would be 12-0. This group is a solid bunch of role players but the team lacks that go to guy. That is how important Langford is. On that note I think this team would be around 10-2 or 9-3 had blackmon stayed.

  26. Ben_M-
    Agree. This team is one go-to/true scorer shy. Bryant and Blackmon returning would have helped immensely as well. One shooter who can light it up..and Bryant’s versatility(running the floor and taking his game outside).

    Personally, I don’t think any of three(OG, Blackmon, Bryant) were anywhere near developed to play at a high level beyond college. But it just doesn’t matter. The potential dollars is just too enticing….and, I suppose, banners don’t mean enough to compete with that sort of money.

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