Indiana’s skid reaches five in 73-66 loss at Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. — It was a mess of a possession.

That is, until it wasn’t.

Indiana had Northwestern pinned deep inside the shot clock midway through Tuesday’s second half, and as Anthony Gaines fumbled with the ball from his spot just off the elbow, the possession seemed all but doomed.

But just as Gaines lost control of the basketball, it took a friendly carom into the near corner, where Aaron Falzon was open and waiting. With the shot clock winding down to its final second, Falzon lifted a shot that fell gently through the net for his sixth 3-pointer of the night — a gut-punch of a basket that sent Northwestern on a run, and sent Indiana scrambling.

On a night when Indiana had few answers for Falzon, who had logged only 19 total minutes of action entering play, the Hoosiers saw their losing streak stretch to five games with a 73-66 defeat at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

IU is now mired in its longest losing streak since it lost five in a row during February of 2017.

“It’s frustrating,” senior forward Juwan Morgan said. “Even if it was a one-game losing streak, I hate losing. I’m a competitor. I’m sure anybody on this team could attest to that. For themselves as well. We’re all competitors. We hate losing. We have to stay to the grind. We have to stay true to it. We can’t shortcut anything.”

Indiana (12-7, 3-5) seems to have reached the nadir of its season, with losses piling up and solutions in short supply. Making matters worse, the Hoosiers aren’t faring much better off the court either.

Junior guard Devonte Green did not join the team for the trip to Northwestern, sitting out the first game of an indefinite suspension. Indiana announced Green’s suspension prior to Tuesday’s game in a two-sentence press release that explained that Green failed to meet “the standards expected of members of the program.”

Pressed for a reason for Green’s suspension, IU coach Archie Miller didn’t budge.

“There was a statement that was issued,” Miller said. “Just go to that.”

Green’s suspension is one of the many problems for a program attempting to weather a stretch of January turbulence. Falzon saw to it on Tuesday that IU’s mid-year rough patch extended another few days.

Falzon, a redshirt junior who has spent much of this season recovering from a lower-body injury, had appeared in only three games prior to Tuesday. But he knocked the rust off in one fell swoop.

Falzon shot 6-for-7 from beyond the arc, finishing with 21 points. His hot shooting helped the Wildcats (12-7, 3-5) build their lead to as many as 15 points with 12:11 remaining in the second half.

“They feel like they’re 20-pointers when they go in,” Miller said. “When a guy makes a 3, it’s like a 20-pointer.”

That’s because Indiana has looked ill-equipped to dig itself out of holes as the conference season has developed. The Hoosiers’ offense has stagnated and their ability to hit key 3-pointers has been nearly non-existent.

IU finished merely 4-for-21 (19 percent) from 3-point range on Tuesday, and has shot just 25 percent (22-for-86) from beyond the arc across its five-game losing streak. The Hoosiers have fared even worse inside the past three games, during which time they’ve knocked down only 18 percent (10-for-55) of their 3-pointers.

“We’ve got to be better and figure out different ways to recreate some of our movement,” Miller said. “We have to be able to be harder to guard, not as much stationary, but yeah, definitely, we’re not shooting the ball well right now.”

Across the final eight minutes, IU seemed to figure out exactly what its offense needed. The Hoosiers showed late life cutting a 15-point deficit down to a single possession.

The Hoosiers got within three points when Romeo Langford converted a three-point play with a prayer of a turnaround jumper at the 6:42 mark.

Finally, there were smiles. And a sense of urgency.

But the momentum was short-lived.

After a layup by Dererk Pardon on the other end, IU’s Justin Smith bricked a dunk and Northwestern went about building its advantage back to nine.

IU had additional chances to cut the deficit back to a single possession down the stretch, but managed only a missed jumper by Langford, a missed drive by Rob Phinisee and an offensive foul.

Morgan led IU with 18 points, while Phinisee posted 13 and Langford added 12.

“We have to continue to find more movement,” Miller said. “It’s been a challenge with this team, with the way some teams are guarding us, that we’re not able to move the ball and move ourselves as much. When we did, good things happened for us in the game. We got drives, we got fouled, and we had more spacing obviously when the ball went inside.”

Indiana managed to start the night on solid footing. The Hoosiers controlled the first nine minutes, building an early lead that stretched to as many as eight points.

But IU’s offensive approach lost traction midway through the period, coinciding with Archie Miller’s attempt to steal a few minutes of rest for both Juwan Morgan and Langford.

Without Morgan and Langford on the floor together, the Hoosiers went 0-for-3 on the offensive end leading into the under-8 timeout. From there, Northwestern outscored Indiana 15-4 over the final 7:09 of the period and took a 28-24 lead into halftime.

“Typically, you’d like to stagger them and have one on (the floor), but at certain times, they both need a blow and it is what it is,” Miller said. “We just try to find our opportunities to get them quick ones and then (media timeouts). Those guys, they gotta be on the floor for us.”

All told, Indiana had five players — Morgan, Langford, Phinisee, Smith and Al Durham — play at least 33 minutes, a necessity as the Hoosiers continue to search for contributions from their bench.

Even with a spurt of late life, there wasn’t enough for Indiana to dig out a victory and end its skid.

“For us, it’s all about the next opportunity,” Miller said.

And that won’t be easy, either. Not with No. 5 Michigan coming to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Friday night.

“We got going there in the second half,” Miller said. “(We were) able to fight. Was proud of the guys to show the fight.”

46 comments

  1. The Hoosiers whittled their deficit down to three points when Romeo Langford converted a three-point play with a nifty turnaround jumper at the 6:42 mark.

    Come on, man. There was nothing nifty about it. It was a thrown up prayer that he banked in. Romeo has struggled against BigTen defense…Let’s be honest here. It’s been far from nifty.

    Falzon lights us up…and IU falls zon sword.

  2. Hoosier Scoop Time Machine: Romeo commitment day thread

    Harvard for Hillbillies says:
    May 1, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    MaxPreps had the stats…

    Romeo’s 3-pt percentage final h.s. season = 36% (79 made/222 attempts).

    The top 100 college basketball 3-pt shooters of 2017-18 all shot higher than 43%.

    Outside shooting was our major Achilles heel last season. RJ had his moments but was generally very inconsistent. Newkirk…Nada.
    Hope Archie has some shooters coming in.

    Pretty much sums it up….Ugh.

  3. Big Ten studio analysts state that I U is 10 for 55 from 3 point line the last 3 games; hell even a broken clock is right 50% of the time. Langford 12 points on 10 shots.

    1. Kyrie Irving is from West Orange, New Jersey (theorized that only oranges and basketballs are round)….#invented flat earth.

  4. 1. A no-name goes 6-7 from 3 and we lose by 7. Dude had 6 pts. all year coming into tonight.
    2. Meanwhile we go 4-21 from 3, fresh off of a 4-20.
    3. They had 13 assists and ONLY 5 TO’s.

    When your opponent only has < 10 TO's your defensive intensity sucks. We've forced an ave. of 8 TO's over this losing streak. Look no further than there. Forcing more TO's leads to more easy buckets, which increases confidence, which increases FG%, etc….. It all starts there. Archie can't be happy with this stat & I think it is a lot more important than our 3 pt. FG%.

    And here we sit, 12-7 where 2.5 weeks ago we were 12-2. Certainly the cream is separating itself from the crimson in the Big 10. It amazes me how things can go South in a hurry. And we are clearly in the bottom half folks. Face the music. "Free falling'" by Tom Petty.

    Onto Green, there is no surprise here. Also no surprise if he winds up in Athens, GA. He is a Crean player. Always will be. Only cares about me, me, me, Green, Green, Green. Good riddance I say, the kid is toxic.

    This upcoming MI game is THE make or break game. We'll need the students, the noise, the refs, and MI to continue to miss shots to win this game. Wouldn't surprise me if we lost by 20. Nor would it if we won by 6.

  5. Two more points and I’ll shut up and move on to MI….

    We did pound them on the glass, 44-29, which speaks to effort. We had effort.

    And I just watched the Archie press conf. I give it up to him for staying positive and telling it like it is. I love our coach and I believe in him. He will turn this around and I will still be on this bandwagon while others are hopping back on.

  6. Our point guard is still not anywhere near 100%….One of the BigTen commentators pointed out such a fact many Hoosier fans seem to fail to recognize. Phinisee wasn’t just out for four games while still being able to do some things….He was removed from doing all activity. It was basically a season reset for him…(probably worse than a reset because he’s coming back in the meat of a BigTen schedule rather than what is faced at the early part of the season).

    Forced turnovers begin with strong guard play…Again, no surprise they’re down. No Green. Less breathers for our backcourt. Phinisee still pressing himself but getting closer. Romeo is not a high pressure defender anyway (he’ll wear down too fast and not be a scorer if too much is expended at the defensive end). Again, BigTen analysts after the game noted how Romeo is hitting the ‘freshman wall.’ He’s getting harassed, double-teamed, bodied, and having every opponent’s possession taken at him aggressively.

    Nobody jumping ship here….but is the “weave to nowhere” starting to make an appearance? Seems like our offense puts out a lot of energy for little gain/advantage. Then we jack up poor shots near the end of the shot clock.

    Pizza parlors/restaurants near Northwestern now adding the Falzon Calzone to the menu. The only thing “brick” about it …is the oven.
    The Falzon Calzone is just right on a cold winter night. Easily sharable for two. Some say enough for the appetites of three.

  7. The Bench to Nowhere:

    I’m not really convinced that Green is such a bad seed….Bad coaches make for bad mindsets.

    Fitzner had a block and made an inside mini hook shot…He’s no bust! He’s on his way to becoming Kent Benson! …or is it Benzon?
    Damezi Anderson may be the bust….He had some really ugly possessions. Bad turnovers…and afraid to take the open shot.
    Our bench is not good, folks…based on only judging who’s healthy. But I’m not sure if it’s that decent even healthy. Just really lacking quality contributors coming off the bench.

    Generally, I like thinner rotations…The losing streak is what it is…but the “skid” may have been just the occasional one or two bumps or potholes if Phinisee would have been available…or near his normal driving self when given a rotation test. His wheels were still a bit out of balance during our attempts at gaining traction on a challenging stretch of the BigTen “road.”

  8. How many of you thought Phinisee had the drive & slam in his arsenal?

    And without his couple hits from the perimeter, we’re almost 0 for Chicago.

    Conclusion: This isn’t just a two-man team of Morgan and Romeo. Phinisee is slowly getting back to form….And his “form” comes with running the team …(something the roaming superstar does not have to shoulder).

  9. AWin..first time I have heard Archie refer to poor shooting in post game press conference. I think De’ron is pretty much done for the season( if he were a baseball player they would “shut him down”) I think he tried coming back too fast only because He’s a big Man

  10. B1G BB is a tough neighborhood always but increasingly so this season.
    Just my thoughts, a $.02 value, 20-30 minutes a game of DD in the middle would make such a difference; my other observation is since before the B1G IU quit looking/working for open 3pt. opportunities. Nobody drifting beyond the arc to attract a pass for an open opportunity. If you’re not planning to make them part of the offense then you can’t be very good at making them. 3 players are capable of making the 3 part of the offense, Al, Rob and Fitzner. When 1 of that trio is open and set, fly the ball. More like 3¢.

    1. No one has confidence in their shot. We have guys who were pretty decent shooters that have gone into a shell.

      We also have Zach taking threes.

    2. ^^^I agree. And when some guys are getting the few opportunities to jack up an open three, they’re not pulling the trigger. It gets in the head. It’s not been part of the focus…Now they question whether to take the shot. Can’t play the game that way. Whether you’re 2 for 20…or 10 for 20, take the open look.

  11. This roster had holes in October.

    By December it was decimated. Now, Green is gone. Davis is still too hurt to play and that’s not likely to change soon. RP might be back to full speed by the end of February. We’ll probably hear that Romeo has been playing with a broken leg. ZM is a starter. I’m sure there are comparisons but I honestly can’t recall a P5 team so shorthanded.

    On the upside, if you are looking for playing time on a high profile team this is the place.

  12. Look on the bright side…. Even the Great One had a Season on the Brink. And there’s still February and March to play. Better to have the wheels come off now with time to repair ’em than in late February/early March.

    1. It is season 2 of the Archie era.

      At this point under the last regime we had Martha the cleaning lady at power forward. While she was a finisher her first step was lousy.

  13. I think I had unrealistic expectations this year because I figured we will lose Morgan and probably Romeo to NBA. We basically are the same as Northwestern. Hopefully will get a few more wins and qualify for NIT and don’t scare off the recruits. I just hope Archie keeps the course and gets his type of players and builds a team. I am kind of tired of chasing the unicorn. Let’s just build a team and see what happens.

  14. I’m with AWinAZ and others (Harv?) on the bandwagon, and won’t get off. I am a huge Archie Miller proponent.

    I think Romeo is playing with an injured hand, and worry that his taking the tape off re-injured it.

    If I were Romeo, I would not play until that hand is COMPLETELY healed. I mean it. It is not worth risking your career to play this season with an injured hand and jeopardize your Career.

    1. Bandwagon? I don’t know, Rock. On …? Off…? What does it really matter? The jersey doesn’t mean that much to recruits….With the Green suspension, we begin to see the symptoms of a virus we had yet to identify.
      Our problems go far deeper than Archie….It’s cultural changes in the game…It’s wasted decades on bad choices to head our programs. It’s other programs gaining tons of speed while we wasted time and sat on our laurels(banners).
      A bandwagon sort of implies a band….Does band even play for an Indiana with such little national relevance anymore? Do bands play at museums….? Do they play only in the private sky boxes of Skjodt Hall with platefuls of fine hors d’oeuvres?
      I haven’t heard a band in a long time….in Banner Land. Over the last decade, I think all the wagons left town with the nine Midwestern teams and 25 Elite Eights and loads of Final Four trips for all of Conference Midwest Elite ….except Indiana. We have no band. We have no wagons.
      We have hype from an AD who is a museum curator and marketing major….and a lawyer who can protect any position of power in town.

      Excuse me …if I’m a little bleak. Archie had to know what he was getting himself into. Indiana has had the longest midlife basketball crisis in college hoops. Our Bobby Knight sweaters are showing their armpit holes…The wool-polyester v-neck blends are on pilling overdrive. Banner reunions are nearing an end…Former players are soon eating only soft foods in retirement centers. Bandwagon? You’re joking, right?

  15. The one-and-done NBA requirement has ruined college basketball….for all but a handful of schools.

    College ball needs to flex its big March Madness dollars and get the NBA out of our dresser drawers. You go to college, you stay for two years. Otherwise, “Welcome to the NBA” straight out of high school and let the chances come with your decision of money being your only motivator.

    Why is it so complicated? The jersey means nothing to a one-and-done. The NCAA and all its member institutions has allowed the NBA to be their bitch. END IT! Give college ball back to the coaches and the fans…

    1. The rules are set by the pros. I can’t think of a way around that.

      How are you going to make a player to stay more than one year? Force him at gun point to study for an economics test? What happens if he refuses and flunks out?

      If he is good enough he signs with a pro team.

      I don’t like it either, but saying colleges should make a player stay for more than one year is ridiculous. There is no way to enforce it.

      Tue NFL and MLB are far more responsible.

  16. Given the enormous “investment” so many IU fans have made in Archie, I can understand the reluctance to criticize him. But what if IU fails to win four more games this season? Can we really just attribute this 5-game losing streak to the unprecedented number of injuries or to Archie inheriting Crean’s players? Or does coaching deserve some of the blame? What bothers me is that the guys who have gotten lots of playing time don’t appear to be getting better. They keep making the same mistakes and they’ve not improved their outside shooting. I remember well IU’s 1981 team. They were bad half way through the season and at one point had lost nine games. But they got better, both individually and playing as a team, and the season progressed and it’s now great IU history. I’m not seeing IU getting any better as the season progresses. In fact, last night it looked to me that IU has gotten worse.

    Stick a fork in this season. I think TJ in Texas is right!

    1. No point guard was slow-cooking in the crock pot when Archie arrived. It was a nonexistent roster spot. Green has proven his nonexistence.

      Phinisee was running the show extremely well for a freshman. The season was put on reset because of a serious concussion to our only backcourt leader/point.

      It’s not that complicated. It’s hard to coach a kid on reset…especially considering the trauma/fear/apprehension that comes with a serious head injury. Hell, they said he wasn’t even acting emotionally right for a few weeks.

      The other injuries to role players hurt …but nothing compared to losing your only point guard worth a damn. There was absolutely nothing after the departure of Yogi.

  17. The guys who have gotten playing time are injured. At some point in the process here we have to wonder why so many injuries. Romeo (hand), Phinisee (head), De’Ron (Leg), Green (???? and I’d like to know why he is ‘unavailable’), McRoberts (back), Aljami (I can’t remember but he was hurt too).

    In fact, the only guy I know that is NOT injured this year is Justin Smith..Juwann was hurt earlier in the year but seems to have recovered except for his mind, which I feel is flawed (note the 5th foul last night which is nothing except non-competitiveness…note his persisient ‘posing’…for whom is he posing???)

  18. Probably posing for Tom….or maybe you, Rock.

    Look at Purdon’t….Coming out flatter than a crepe @ OSU …after their glorious win at home. OVERRATED! Life in the BigTen.

  19. Well, only a little over eight months before football season starts. So we have that to look forward to.

          1. Let’s do forget about baseball because nobody cares….Basketball and football are the only programs which can build any true relevance/national interest. There the only programs which can actually create enough interest to up enrollment numbers….

            Ask a local restaurant about the effects of the two top programs having great success….Baseball ain’t bringin’ big dollars to the community..Nor is it having any impact securing big TV contracts.

            Multiple sports offers a more well-rounded experience for all, but the small fries are never paying the bills. IU Basketball put Bloomington on the map…Well, basically Bob Knight too…but many hate to hear that.

          2. I do love pizza..Make some wonderful homemade pies…. My culinary skills are pretty solid. We could share recipes and cooking techniques if you’d like….?

            I get it, Chet. You wrastled. Nothing wrong with that..You just don’t see that much of it on ESPN. I love sports variety…Love the Olympics too. I was a junkie of all sports as a youngster…Still am to some extent. Wide World of Sports, boxing, hockey, tennis, downhill skiing…Everything.

            Then again, I do love a thick juicy hamburger too. One of the best I’ve had in Indy is from a franchise restaurant….Cheesecake Factory’s Bacon Bacon Burger…OMG…It’ too delicious. And I’m darn particular about the quality/flavor of the ground beef. Cheesecake Factory must have one hell of a good source for beef…Really high quality and they’re not afraid to cook it ‘medium’ to my liking which tells me their confidence in the freshness and grade.
            Trojan Horse has a really good burger as well…They double up thin patties(sort of a Steak ‘n’ Shake style)….Really good bun and quite tasty. But I still rarely go outside of the fried Pork Tenderloin if I’m making the long trip ….It’s perfect.

            I do make a bit more sophisticated meals at home…But I love my junk food…if it’s really exquisite quality junk food. It’s really all about product and preparation. 90% of cooking is product and preparation….Technique is where real “variety” is found even with the simplest/narrowest of ingredients. But if you do a lot of cooking(or were trained by…or observed a fabulous cook), you already know that.

  20. I wish our football team was mean…instead of pacified in ideologies taking it over.

  21. I watch BTN every night, when I’m not on the road. Bardo is pretty good. I don’t like his color jobs when he’s on games but he knows the league & its DNA. He pegged IU’s problems last week when he said what bothers him about IU is that their freshman are being called on to lead the team to victory. I’m paraphrasing but that’s what he said. And he’s right, this year more than ever. This league never has had 10 quality tournament worthy teams. And throwing freshman into this year’s dog eat dog fray is going to hurt you over a now 20 game haul. Hell, even MI looks vulnerable right now.

    My point (& Bardo’s) is that experience wins in this league. Always has. A team needs 3 & 4 yr players (s.a. 1975, 1976, 1981, 1987, 1992, 1993….) to supplement new, raw talent. And it needs a quality PG to hoist a banner. That is what it takes to rebuild a program. We have 2 Srs. that contribute; Morgan & McRoberts. We have 0 Jrs. that contribute, although I keep thinking Davis & Green will help us. Yes, I am insane. We have a So. that is improving in Durham. We have 2 good Fr. & Romeo is likely 1 & done unless he wants to come back and work on his shot. But LeBron couldn’t shoot either when he went to the NBA.

    Save this post & check back to me in 2 yrs when Phinisee is a Jr. We’ll have a floor general again. And there’s a couple more coming behind him. He’ll be a 4 yr player and I like his spunk/dunk.

    Remember, Archie was a PG. Don’t you think he knows the recipe of success? Look at all of the top Big Ten teams, they all have experienced PGs.

    MSU – Winston
    MI – Simpson
    PU – Edwards
    NEB – Watson
    Etc….

    Last time we were good, who led the charge? Yogi. He carried the team. Go back & look at those banner teams. They all had a floor leader on the floor and off the bench.

    Bring back Joe Hillman!

  22. Now you’re talkin’ turkey. I’ve only been stressing for weeks how the derailment of our point guard(and a young one at that) derailed our team.

    There was absolutely nothing in the way of a point guard on the team or in the pipeline(nothing in the crock pot slow-cooking) when Crean was ousted.
    I almost think he purposefully planned it that way(knowing he was on his way out) to sabotage the program for the new incoming coach. How do you not have anyone behind Yogi….even during Yogi’s last couple seasons?

    Why is Purdue decent? Their “stud” point guard is a junior. Duh.

  23. Hell, even Isiah Thomas stayed two years!
    My memory failed me…For some reason I was thinking he was a one-and-done after the ’81 championship….

    2 × NBA champion (1989, 1990)
    NBA Finals MVP (1990)
    12 × NBA All-Star (1982–1993)
    2 × NBA All-Star Game MVP (1984, 1986)
    3 × All-NBA First Team (1984–1986)
    2 × All-NBA Second Team (1983, 1987)
    NBA All-Rookie First Team (1982)
    J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1987)
    NBA assists leader (1985)
    No. 11 retired by Detroit Pistons
    NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
    NCAA champion (1981)
    NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (1981)
    Consensus first-team All-American (1981)
    USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (1980)
    McDonald’s High School All American (1979)

    Now that’s a point guard, ladies and gentlemen.

  24. It’s fun playing at Northwestern…It’s like being in one of those old Indiana high school gyms getting ready for a sectional barn-burner. Even the cheerleaders show less skin…..BigTen is lucky to have Northwestern(Harvard of the Midwest).

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