Hoosiers survive scare from UT-Arlington, win 78-64

The game was not yet 90 seconds old, and Archie Miller already looked exasperated.

After scoring Tuesday’s first points on a layup, Indiana sophomore guard Al Durham landed hard on the baseline and was slow to get up. While Durham writhed, Miller leaned against the scorer’s table with an incredulous expression, as if to say, “Is this really happening?”

Durham eventually got up, played a few more minutes but left for the locker room late in the half. Somehow, an already short Indiana bench got shorter in Tuesday’s 78-64 win over UT-Arlington.

Not only did the Hoosiers lose Durham, they started the game without De’Ron Davis, who is dealing with a sore Achilles after playing 23 minutes on Sunday at Arkansas. Then, IU flirted with one of the season’s worst-case scenarios, playing the final four minutes of the game without star freshman Romeo Langford, whose nose was bloodied from an unintentional head butt under the basket.

The blows keep coming for the Hoosiers, who started the night with a seven-man rotation that was eventually whittled down to five.

Indiana’s injury situation isn’t getting any better. On Tuesday, it only got worse.

“That would make seven (key) players not available due to injury,” Miller said, “and I don’t know if I’ve been around that one too much. But we’ll give it a go with the guys we have the next couple of days. We’ll have to figure out who is ready.”

Add Durham, Davis and Langford to a lengthy IU injury list that already included four players — Zach McRoberts, Devonte Green, Race Thompson and Jerome Hunter — coming into the day.

On Tuesday morning, IU (4-1) learned the Davis was dealing with Achilles soreness in his left foot after taking on a heavy workload on Sunday at Arkansas. Davis is still working his way back from a season-ending Achilles injury in his right foot suffered last season.

Durham played only 11 minutes Tuesday. After the game Miller said he didn’t know any details about his upcoming status other than Durham was unable to play during the final 28 minutes of regulation.

Miller did not know the extent of Langford’s situation, or whether he had broken his nose. The IU coach said that the team’s medical staff was first focused on getting his nose to stop bleeding during the final few minutes of regulation.

“If it gets to the point where we have to play five people 40 minutes a game, then that’s what we’ll do,” senior forward Juwan Morgan said. “Our bodies are in condition well enough to do it, but if it comes to it, then that’s what we’re going to do, and we’ll fight as hard as we can.”

IU had to fight to pull this one out, watching as UT-Arlington (3-2) cut a 20-point deficit to one point with 6:33 to play. The Mavericks hit a flurry of 3-pointers, draining seven of their eight 3-point attempts in the second half.

Suddenly, injuries weren’t the only adversity Indiana encountered.

“Really, they wanted it more,” Morgan said. “They were fighting harder than we were. They were running guys on ball screens. They were attacking us in every way you could think of, and I think we responded well at the end just really anchoring down, getting those stops and scoring in transition. But they were just really attacking us.”

Indiana used a 7-0 run sandwiched around the final media timeout to rebuild a 10-point lead and create final separation. Freshman wing Damezi Anderson scored five points during the spurt, including a key 3-pointer in the corner that gave IU a 72-62 lead with 3:39 to play.

It was one of only 12 3-pointers IU hit on the night.

“I (saw) the shot clock going down, I knew I had the ball in my hand,” Anderson said. “I’m always confident in my shot no matter what situation it is. I put a lot of shots up to get my shot the way it is today.”

IU got some tough baskets down the stretch from Morgan, who led IU with 23 points. Langford added 16 points.

With a depleted rotation, Morgan steadied the ship. Across the final 5:29 of the contest, Morgan finished with four points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.

“I thought the last six minutes, five minutes of the game our leadership from Juwan stood out,” Miller said. “Guys started to play with more energy and were able to rally and finish the game, which is what you hope. It was a difficult game to be part of just due to the fact that we have so many guys not available right now that you can’t sub and you also are playing combinations that have never played together before and out of position at times. So I was really, really proud of the guys that were able to step up and find a way to win.”

10 comments

  1. I’m excited about this team. Have all faith in Archie. Think we have crazy upside and can’t wait to see them gel and play in March.

    But Cameron is going to look like ending scene in Django Unchained in a week. Duke is going to murder us, then shoot our bodies seven hundred times while we’re dead and twitching on the ground.

    *This post is the most brazen attempt at a reverse jinx I’ve ever attempted in my life.

  2. Chet is Django Unchained…..played by Danny DeVito.

    I’m also excited about this team. Just the dull holiday schedule is brutal to watch. It would be nice just to give them the Thanksgiving week off. Prefer it more mysterious going into the Duke game…And would have preferred the taste of the Arkansas game still in their mouths…rather than a week of weaklings.

    Everything hinges on Justin Smith. He looked incrementally better tonight. Phinisee is the best point guard we’ve had in a very long time.

    Where has Fitzner gone…? He looked so good and then his confidence just dropped.

  3. At the start of the game the team looked tired and in the end I U had enough talent to gut it out. Smith was able to get his close to the basket shots to get his points. These type of games, if you have your full roster available is minutes for the non-rotation players to get their minutes, with a depleted roster is just additional minutes for the rotation players having to play. Don’t look forward to the Duke game with the possibility of even thinner rotation of players.

  4. playing these creampuff teams only hurts us.

    I enjoy this site and all the instight.

    Perhaps the movie Django! (one of the original “spaghetti westerns out of Italy) is a better analolgy……..

  5. Was it the same director who did the early Clint Eastwood films…. e.g. ‘Hang ‘Em High‘ (missed tip by DeRon),….’For a Few Dollars More‘(scheduling cupcakes at home)..and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly‘(Our last two performances) ?

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