Turnovers sink IU in 66-57 loss to Huskers

LINCOLN, Neb. — Somehow, Indiana held the lead.

Albeit of the one-point variety, that the Hoosiers held any halftime advantage seemed a tribute to this team’s ability to grind through a game where little went right.

But by the end of Tuesday night, IU had no solution for covering the old wound that reopened during its regular season road finale.

Indiana tied its season high with 19 turnovers in a 66-57 loss to Nebraska before an announced crowd of 15,177 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

IU (16-13, 9-8) struggled with poor play from the point guard position, while feeding Nebraska (21-9, 12-5) too many free opportunities to take control in a rock fight of a game. Down the stretch, the Cornhuskers seized command and snapped the Hoosiers’ four-game winning streak in the process.

“We had a really hard time all night taking care of the ball,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “We’re slow to second shots. Played hard, had some guys do some really good things and thought we were right there for a good portion of the game, but you can’t do that on the road — 19 second shots, 19 turnovers. Just not gonna get it done.”

After rightfully praising his backcourt after Saturday’s come-from-behind win at Iowa, Miller watched it stumble through a winnable game against a Nebraska team fighting for fourth place in the Big Ten standings.

Devonte Green and Josh Newkirk combined for eight points and nine turnovers, driving a dagger through the Hoosiers’ chances to continue their recent run of steady play.

Many of IU’s turnovers were unforced errors. There were passes that went were no passes should go, along with busted halfcourt sets that killed opportunities for Indiana to stretch any lead beyond four points.

And yet, even as IU racked up nine turnovers in the first 20 minutes, it held onto a 26-25 halftime lead.

Then, after committing four quick turnovers coming out of halftime, the Hoosiers kept the game within reach thanks to eight straight points to start the second half from Justin Smith, along with some big 3-pointers from Robert Johnson and Juwan Morgan.

Smith and Johnson each finished with 16 points, while Morgan posted 13 points. No one else scored more than four.

James Palmer Jr. led Nebraska with 15 points.

“With all those mistakes we were making, we felt confident going into the last four minutes,” Smith said. “But we couldn’t pull it out.”

That’s because the mistakes didn’t stop.

Trailing by five with four minutes remaining, IU entered the final media timeout by losing track of the shot clock. Shortly after play resumed, Johnson dribbled onto the baseline for the team’s 19th turnover of the night.

For a team that entered play averaging 12.2 turnovers per game, Tuesday was a dive off the deep end.

“It’s very frustrating,” Johnson said. “To go through all that and still have a chance to win, and then kind of self-destruct like that at the end, we have a blueprint that we usually follow throughout the game, and we got away from it a little bit.”

The Indiana turnovers led directly to 26 points for the Cornhuskers, who outscored the Hoosiers 10-4 over the final 4:21. Nebraska also outrebounded IU, 39-33, while grabbing 19 offensive rebounds.

“Just a lack of toughness, a lack of confidence,” Miller said. “I don’t know that it was maybe the road environment that scared them a little bit. I’m not sure, but some of the plays just didn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

There wasn’t much else for Miller to say after the game. His team was willing to battle, but it was ultimately unable to play crisp enough to steal a game away from home.

Now comes one final opportunity to regain momentum entering next week’s Big Ten Tournament, with a Senior Night showdown with No. 16 Ohio State looming on Friday.

“I expect everyone to be hungry, to compete and try to do everything they can to help the seniors go out the right way,” Johnson said.


  1. This year’s team will not have one quality win away from Home. Our vaunted 4 win streak came against teams who will play on opening day in the Big Ten Tournament. (Rutgers Minn Illinois Iowa). On the road this year we beat Minn, Rutgers, Iowa. And some on this site wonder why our students didn’t get behind this team! Still, I’m old and look forward to us playing Wisconsin on a neutral site!!!!!

  2. Sort of an off-topic question(in the news but not pertaining to our ugly game)…

    Why were Kelvin’s players thugs and Pitino’s players “kids?”
    I realize they all didn’t sleep with prostitutes, but I’m sure enough did. Shouldn’t you sort of lose the “kid” designation once you do it with a hooker? Jason Williams all night long: “The kids…the poor kids…why are we penalizing the kids.” Dear Jason, they weren’t being drafted to fight in Vietnam….The “kids” were having sex with prostitutes….or maybe enjoying lollypops while watching teammates have sex with prostitutes. Later, they broke out the play dough.

  3. Nebraska looked so beatable but once again our guard play was just abysmal. I just hope we can turn around quickly with OSU on Friday night. Can Josh Newkirk please leave after his speech. I just don’t see what anyone saw in that guy. Crean was normally a fairly good judge of talent, especially on the under the radar guys but this was a miss. Besides the Indiana State and Ft Wayne game, this season has pretty much gone as expected. Love Coach Miller though. Only good things to come.

  4. My wife, a native Hoosier and an IU alum, who is as passionate about IU basketball as anyone alive, but a person who prefers to keep her comments positive before, during and after games, turned to me at one point during the first half and said, “I think our guards are the dumbest players I’ve ever seen in IU uniforms. Did Newark suffer a concussion recently?”

    I was in the kitchen when the second half started and I heard my wife scream. That’s very unusual, so I rushed back into the TV room and I ask her, “what’s wrong?” She responded, “our guards just started the second half with two stupid turnovers. They’re just terrible!” Since we began watching and attending IU basketball games together in 1979, I believe that is the most negative thing I’ve ever heard her say about IU basketball or any IU player, which indicates just how bad our guards played last night. Not even my “keep it positive” wife could keep it positive while watching the absolute stupidity that was display last night. It boggles the mind how guys who have played together for an entire season, and who play for a good coach and former guard, can make the kinds of stupid mistakes we witnessed last night. Finally, after changing the channel with about two minutes left in the game, my wife turned to me and said, “do we really want this team to play more games in the NIT tournament?” OUCH!

    1. I rushed back into the TV room and I ask her, “what’s wrong?” She responded, “our guards just started the second half with two stupid turnovers.

      You can’t be serious with that fun little vignette above…? Your wife must have never watched a game during the entire Crean era. If she did, she would have become “Scream” the movie. Hoosier basketball with never again see anything approaching the shattered record-breaking numbers for turnovers than the yearly averages under Crean.

    2. Also, remind your wife they are Crean recruits and they were either (a) desperately recruited as transfers, (b) not from anywhere near the Hoosier state, (c) recruited because top performers from our state like Kyle Guy would never consider playing for Crean even if our former bozo gave a halfhearted effort, (d) recruited for “upside” capitalized 6 years out rather than refined skill sets now, and (e) brought by Crean as a form of nepotism to remain connected to NBA names(for future job prospects once the clown’s “wrecking” of Indiana was over).

      Any other questions?

  5. I sort of wish they would bring something from NHL hockey to college basketball…Instead of simply jacking the turnover-happy guard out of the game and ordering him to the bench, place the perpetrator in the ‘Penalty Box of Shame.’
    I mean, they handle the ball like they’re playing one ice (never to be analogous to Nate ‘The Skate’ Archibald of Boston who could do it pretty well back in the day).

    Archie needs to find a way to build some confidence back into Josh and
    Devonte for these final games. Maybe a game of ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ before practice….? (a) playing blindfolded at anything has to be an improvement…and (b) something else looks more the ass in a moment of missing the intended target.

    Devonte…? Sounds too much like Desani. Now I know why Crean recruited him. Still don’t know who shoots the ball better when comparing our famous two Crean recruits with NBA family ties…Devonte Green or Jeremiah Rivers? if only they would have been in Bloomington around the same time…We could have settled it by dismantling a rim from the backboard and attaching a hula hoop.

    to be cont.

  6. With regard to Miller, I loved when the cameras showed him getting really fired up during the game last night. Unfortunately, he was getting fired up for negative reasons. He had to have been incredibly frustrated watching his guards make so many stupid mistakes. I give him great credit for keeping his head from exploding. He gets real hot real fast, and then regains control very quickly. But I’d love to have heard what he told Newkirk and Green after pulling them from the game after each had made one of their bone-headed turnovers.

    I had the “pleasure” of sitting fairly close behind IU’s bench on several occasions when Bob Knight was coaching IU, and in those situations when he was displeased with one of his players during a timeout, for about 20 rows back from the bench he turned the air blue with some of the loudest, nastiest profanity I’ve ever heard in my life. The first time I ever heard Knight go off on one of his players, I remember looking around the seats in my immediate vicinity and wondering if any young children were hearing his maniacal outbursts, and hoping that no unsuspecting parents would ever allow their children to sit within earshot of IU’s bench. I was no choirboy, and had been on the receiving end of my share of profanity laced butt-chewings from an intense HS football coach, but I had never heard anything like that in my life. To this day, I still haven’t! Knight displayed a world-class combination of profanity, rage and vocal chords to communicate his displeasure to his players. And what struck me as most unusual was that the first time I witnessed/heard Knight behave that way, IU was ahead of its opponent by about 20 points in the second half of a game that Iu won going away.

    1. Never worried about what my sons heard the half dozen or so times we were behind the IU bench. It’s life, like it or not. I am certain they were hearing worse on the bus. Today as adults they deal confidently with the real world.

  7. Everyone needs to remember that these players were selected by Tom Crean. I don’t know if Green will ever stop being a turn over prone player. Nebraska was a beatable team, but our guards gave away any chance for a win last night. Po’s wife wasn’t the only person to scream at the TV after watching Newkirk’s and Green’s error prone display. I watched, as Coach Miller talked to Green after replacing him for making repeated turnovers during the first half and knew that Coach Miller was really steamed. Did any see Dan Dakich’s son senior long winded speech prior to the I U game? The Ohio State coach gave him the lets cut it off sign and he still talked for additional five minutes. The other Ohio State seniors looked on, and wondered if Dakich would ever shut up.

    1. ^^^Exactly.

      Didn’t see the Dakich speech…That’s funny. How heartwarming for a kid who pogo-sticked around the Big Ten. #1 Son must have certainly picked up on Dan’s limitless supply of narcissism. He’ll soon be known for being faster than a speeding bullet..or more powerful than a locomotive…or stopping the next MJ.

  8. Crean left the profanity to his coaching….The rest was all Bible verse.

    Very easy(and I’m as guilty as the next guy) to attach many of these returning lapses and dysfunctions to Archie Miller. We all know what he was dealing with and what the returning young men had as a basketball teacher before Archie.

    They had a bad outing…and some ugly habits die very hard(some may never be put to rest for recruits that simply never had the mindset from the beginning).

    Before last night, I think we ranked 3rd in the conference for creating more turnovers than we committed(something like a + 2 margin). That speaks volumes with the sort of limited talent in the backcourt Archie is working. It also speaks of defense ….And that’s one of the most undeniable traits of all Knight teams that was non-existent until the change to Archie Miller was made.

  9. IU South, given the talent Archie is bringing in next fall, especially at guard, if Green does not figure out how to stop making such stupid turnovers, he’s not going to get on the court for anything other than “garbage time.” And if that turns out to be the case, and I hope it does not, he’ll likely transfer after his sophomore season. You simply can’t continue to make those kind of mistakes and expect to get playing time.

    As for Newkirk, I see him listed as a “redshirt Senior.” Does he have another year of eligibility left after this season? I thought he was done after this season. If he’s not done but will get his degree, and it saddens me to say this, he should be encouraged to take advantage of the graduate transfer rules. But given his tendency to make so many really dumb turnovers, I can’t imagine him being welcomed back or getting any playing time next year. Given his age and experience, he is simply too prone to making really bad decisions and committing turnovers. He seems like a really good guy, does some things well, and he tries really hard, but the number of ridiculous turnovers he commits negate the positives that he brings to the team.

  10. Guess who has last place secured in Turnover Margin for the Big Ten? Michigan State.. Go figure. They are a whopping -3.1 per game (committing three more per game than their opponent).

    What many are considering a top candidate for a national title is the worst turnover team in the Big Ten. Guess we’ll see if it bites them in March…but the number is rather stunning and revealing. Overpowering offensive prowess can overcome a ton of bad sh____.

  11. Po, don’t worry his eligibility is used up, Newkirk has used his 5 years, transferred to I U after his Soph. year, sit out one year and has used two remaining years at IU.

  12. Maybe we blowout OSU and get to a Big Ten tournament championship game…?
    Stranger things have happened.
    This loss could galvanize or extinguish the motivations going forward. Now we’ll witness character or lack thereof.

    1. I’m honestly not too worried about it this year. Its not like we have a team that can actually win the tournament anyway.

      Next year’s roster consists of 3 players that actually played for Crean. Now there could very well be a transfer of those 3 or Morgan could potentially seek out a professional career opportunity, but the important part is that in Millers second season only 3 players on the roster know a different culture at IU. He won’t be trying to fix bad habits. Morgan and Davis are more Miller type players anyway. They aren’t just athletes your trying to get to play basketball. They are basketball players who need coached up.

      Hartman, Johnson, Priller and Newkirk just were a senior class that couldn’t get it done and by the time McSwain figured out a niche he was leaving. Amazing the lack of senior leadership and success. Newkirk and Hartman are 5 year guys. Johnson has played an obscene amount of minutes since he got to IU. Priller is a 4 year guy. That’s a lot of experience to be 16-13 in a down big ten year.

      Next year:
      Davis 6-10 jr
      Moore 6-10 So
      Forrester 6-10 fr
      Morgan 6-8 Sr
      Thompson 6-8 rs fr
      Hunter 6-7 fr
      Smith 6-7 so
      Anderson 6-6 fr
      McRoberts 6-6 rs sr
      Durham 6-4 so
      Green 6-3 sr
      Phinisee 6-0 fr

      We’ve got 12 players with at least 2 to add. That’s a deep basketball team with a nice mix of age groups. Pretty big really for a college team. Next year we start the offseason with the new culture immediately whereas this year we didn’t get rolling until 3/4 of the way through the year. Next year we add size, depth, shooting, athleticism, and length. This is going to be a very good basketball team.

      1. Exactly my perspective. Add to the fact Morgan moves back to his natural position we also get a leaner stronger Davis, more mature Green, Durham and Smith along with a REAL PG IU will be an extremely potent conference performer. The hole on the team I see hardest to fill will be losing RJ as he regularly is responsible for guarding the opponents best. The player earning ascension into that role will be key to how high IU can climb. The future brightening.

  13. Anyone have an idea what the future is for Clifton Moore? is he staying or transferring? Are there any other possible players targeted for guard next year other than Romeo? I’m not sure hes coming to IU given what he said after visit to Vandy. ” Great players want to play with great players;it makes them better”

    1. Hard to say with Moore. We have a pretty loaded roster so it will be hard for him to get playing time unless he puts in a ton of work. On the upside he is still growing into his own body so he could evolve rapidly in the offseason. We also technically have the roster room if it takes him another year to develop and potentially start contributing as a junior or senior. More than likely it will come down to the coaches honest assessment and weather or not that coincides to how much playing time Moore wants. It could really go either way.

  14. Personally, I’m sorta sick of hearing about him. I think we’re going to be irrelevant in basketball for many years to come. Crean’s abandonment of recruiting Indiana will take more years to earn back than his exhaustive stay and extensions in Bloomington.
    Very sad times for IU Basketball…Terrible focus and management of the program over the last decade. Far, far, far too much nepotism that began in the caddyshack committee rooms after 3-waygate.
    I like Archie …but Holtmann has already stolen the limelight as being the next “it factor” coach poised to hijack recruits from Indiana in the same fashion Matta did to fuel his early success.
    It’s also disheartening to see so many have no deep loyalty to stay on teams…or fight tooth and nail for banners. Time we invest the time and emotions to see them finally mature their games, they’re off to the NBA…or G League..or whatever options college continually appears to be no competition.

    1. Any advantage Holtman may hold from Matta recruiting Indiana happened through the ineptness of idiot named Davis. Mike Davis couldn’t recruit water flowing from a Hoosier spigot. In recruiting Indiana Archie Miller is nothing like MD. Bank on it.

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