IU outlasts Louisiana Tech, 88-75

As the eyeballs in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall spotted two men in blue jerseys lying near the baseline, indisposed, the crowd’s collective voice rose in anticipation.

They were about to witness a 5-on-3 break, two or three easy points served up for the Hoosiers on a night where Louisiana Tech seemed more than willing to offer them up.

But for some reason, IU’s pace slowed Monday. When the ball found Trayce Jackson-Davis in the post, he was scrapping with a defender and fouled. On the ensuing possession, the basketball spilled out of the Hoosiers hands, an opportunity lost.

IU’s 88-75 win over the Bulldogs was the proverbial tale of two halves. At first, the Hoosiers (6-0) were an efficient offensive machine, connecting on 61 percent of their first-half shots, including 6-of-13 from beyond the arc.

But in the second half, the first seven minutes were littered with nine turnovers, three more than IU’s total in the first 20 minutes. The pieces that were driving for transition layups and kicking out for open 3-pointers suddenly malfunctioned.

For a young team still trying to mesh pieces and outgrow inexperience, the first half was a preview of what the Hoosiers can be at their best. The second half was a reminder that more work remains to be done as the non-conference runs its course.

IU coach Archie Miller was determined not to be overly negative about Monday’s lowlights. Before calling the Hoosiers’ second-half ball security “embarrassing,” he prefaced that this was a good win for his team.

“This is one, regardless of how you feel, you played, won the game,” Miller said. “A few months from right now, this will be one that’s more valuable than, hopefully, most people realize.”

On the night, Jackson-David led the Hoosiers with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Al Durham scored 18 points, and senior Devonte Green contributed 16 points. Junior Joey Brunk added 12.

The Hoosiers finished with 18 turnovers, shooting 47 percent from the field. After the game, Miller said he had a talk with his co-captain guards, Durham and Green, about taking better care of the ball.

The message was received.

“I’ve got to take responsibility,” Durham said. “I’ve got to make sure we don’t get into that position. I feel like we’ve got to reel it in and we can’t have a half a basketball like that again.”

IU’s offensive play was almost picture perfect in the first half. Early on, Durham and Armaan Franklin pushed in transition, converting layups with ease. Louisiana Tech, not the biggest team, clamped down on Brunk in the halfcourt, and the Hoosier big man once kicked out to Durham for a wide-open 3.

And a variety of Hoosiers were hitting from deep. Race Thompson hit his first career triple. Damezi Anderson stroked one. Green buried a pair, and the one he missed was scooped up by Justin Smith for an offensive board and putback.

A driving layup by Green made it 37-16, IU, with 8:13 left in the period. Green had 15 points at half. Durham produced 12.

IU led 52-36 heading into the locker room.

“We’ve got confidence in each other. We feel like if we pass the ball to one of our teammates, we feel he can either knock it out or make a great decision for someone else,” Durham said.

The Hoosiers’ main issue, per usual, was defending the 3-point line. The Bulldogs, who came into Monday’s contest hitting just under 30 percent of their 3s, connected on 6-of-14 from beyond the arc in the first half. They finished with 10 makes from deep on the night.

Then IU’s offensive game tanked coming out of the locker room.  The basketball was like kernels in a popcorn maker, popping out of the Hoosiers’ grasp and into Louisiana Tech’s possession. And the Bulldogs were feasting.

A little past midway in the half, the Hoosiers’ lead dwindled to 65-55.

“Hopefully it was one of those deals you’ve got to be able to get through,” Miller said. “But it definitely was a hard game to watch in the second half.”

Not only do Durham and Green have to be better handling the ball, but Miller hopes the addition of Rob Phinisee to the backcourt — again — will provide a needed boost.

The sophomore point guard took a hit to the face last time out versus Princeton, but Miller said his absence Monday was about more than one issue, including a rib problem.

“He’s just had one of those unique runs, man … it’s not his time right now,” Miller said. “Like I told him after the game, grab five Advil, get a piece of tape, and tape them all over your body because maybe that’s the only thing we can do is tape it to him and he can absorb it. I don’t know.”

In the end, IU was settled by its post players Monday.

Brunk pulled down his own miss on one possession, scoring on a second-chance hook shot. Jackson-Davis then battled through the paint for a post bucket, flexing with both arms after his shot fell and the whistle blew.

The 6-foot-9 freshman’s three-point play pushed the lead back to 70-55 with 8:30 remaining.

“I feel like once we get it in, they’re good to either pass it out or score,” Durham said of IU’s posts. “And I feel like once we pass it in we gotta trust in them to do either or, or make a great decision out of the post.”

12 comments

  1. I’ll take it! Great Win!!! Wonderful 1st half, and so what if we just held on for the win; the game was OVER by halftime. I’m going to enjoy this one and not agonize. Bring on December!!!

  2. The Cupcakes Games are taking a toll on the I U Fan Base attendance last night 11,930 fans, the “Golden Goose”, of I U Athletic ticket receipts needs a top flight men’s basketball program to carry the load for the I U Athletic Budget, and for the donors to write the donation checks. I U Football didn’t have a 50,000 attendance game, with Ohio State and Michigan playing in Memorial Stadium and a I U teams with a winning record.

  3. IUS, I had the same thought while watching the game last night. In addition to the empty seats, it sounded like another closed scrimmage inside Assembly Hall. IU fans were very quiet in spite of some good play in the first half. IU is having trouble giving seats away for these games. That should be a huge red flag for Fred Glass. There’s simply no “buzz” associated with this program right now.

    As for the game, IU played great in the first half. But the second half was a sloppy mess.

    1. 2nd half could have been much cleaner if Rob would have been available at point. As good as Franklin and Al have done in spot duty they are combo guards at the least and 2’s at best. Green can hold serve but at times gets to creative. Sustaining PG efficiency is a job for Phinisee.

  4. A bit off-topic: Is Dayton now “for real” (according to Jay Bilas) because Archie is no longer their coach? Wow….I’m not sure Archie could take our Indiana boys and beat his former team. Good looking basketball team.

    I guess things could be worse…We could have been that Georgia Bulldogs team experiencing the Dayton beatdown on national television. Not sure who coaches Georgia, but I felt really sorry for that dude in charge of a basketball program at a football school.

    And we’re worried about crowds on a Monday night….? Sometimes you don’t want a crowd (as in many millions watching you get annihilated on national television).

  5. Crean’s record in Maui is worse than Chaminade.

    He also said if he was still there coach at Indiana, Aaron Henry would be playing for him vs Izzo.
    Bwahahahahahahahaaaaa!

  6. Does anyone think that Justin Smith’s disappearing act in the 2nd half contributed to the offensive sluggishness?? Seems whenever Justin stops working on offense his defender slides back and clogs the middle and the only thing getting done is what Archie referred to a do nothing dribblingdefenders clog middle and Smith stands outside seemingly not knowing what to do.

  7. Duke loses at home at #263 Stephen F Austin. All sports suffering in my life for the past ten years has been redeemed.

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