Hoosiers fall 74-70 to Rutgers

After a gut-punch of a loss to Purdue, Indiana coach Archie Miller was honest about the nature of this Big Ten basketball season.

The wins feel good, he said. But the losses, they hurt so much more, because it’s so incredibly apparent what a grind the race to the finish still holds. One opportunity has been lost, and it’s so troubling to have lost it, because more slugfests await.

Following the Hoosiers’ 74-70 loss Sunday to Rutgers at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, those words held new meaning. Just a few days ago, IU beat the No. 4 team in the country, Iowa, on the road. Now, they were left sitting with a third home loss in Big Ten play.

“I’m not disappointed in the result, I think I’m disappointed for them. The attitude, the work ethic, and the togetherness has been as good as it’s ever been here,” Miller said postgame Sunday. “Every single game in this league not only requires you to play hard and tough and smart, but you have to play well, too. You have to play well to be in these games.”

Too often, the Hoosiers (9-7, 4-5 Big Ten) followed up big shots with stretches of sloppiness, be it turnovers or missed layups. Defensively, IU wasn’t sticky enough for a majority of the game, allowing Rutgers (8-6, 4-6) to hit nearly 51 percent of its shots.

A team that had just lost five straight games rebounded on the Hoosiers, who will now have to rebound themselves. Again.

“It’s one of 20,” Miller continued. “The next one is going to be just as good, and they all count the same. I want our guys to believe how much room we have to grow.”

The rebound may not come as quickly as the Hoosiers may want. Michigan, their next scheduled opponent, is taking a 14-day pause because of COVID-19 cases.

So the Hoosiers’ next scheduled game isn’t until Feb. 2 versus Illinois.

IU was led Sunday by 14 points from sophomore guard Armaan Franklin, while Trayce Jackson-Davis added 13. Race Thompson finished with 11. The Hoosiers hit 42.9 percent from the field, including 10-of-16 from the 3-point line. But it wasn’t enough. IU made too many mistakes.

After turning the ball over three times in the first half, IU committed nine errors in the second half, including many in pivotal moments late in the game.

“In this league, I don’t think it’s anything about momentum. You play a good team every night,” Franklin said. “Some games go your way. Sometimes it don’t. The ball bounces your way. Sometimes it don’t. This one, the ball didn’t bounce our way and they made enough plays to put themselves in position to win.”

It wasn’t all bad in the first half, especially, as the Hoosiers made runs and took leads. But they weren’t able to sustain on either end for long stretches, allowing the Scarlet Knights to take a 38-33 edge into halftime.

The difference was inside the arc, where the Knights were able to win off the dribble, converting a staggering 75 percent of their 2-point shots in the first half. IU, on the other hand, hit just 42 percent from inside the arc.

The Hoosiers were at their most efficient during a 10-2 run to start the final 10 minutes, getting Trayce Jackson-Davis rolling to the rim off screening action, and finding Race Thompson for multiple buckets, as well. But after IU took a 26-24 lead, Geo Baker answered with a pair of transition buckets, the first a 3-pointer, the second a dunk off an IU turnover.

It was still tied, 31-all, after Rob Phinisee swiped a ball away for his own transition bucket. But the junior guard was frustrated moments later, pounding some hard dribbles to the floor as the Hoosiers went into a timeout with 29 seconds left. IU was in a rut again, as Rutgers had reclaimed a five-point edge.

In a timeout, IU was able to draw up a play for Jackson-Davis to ram home a dunk. But then off a missed Baker 3, Caleb McConnell was able to tap one in just before the buzzer to push the lead back to five. The Hoosiers just couldn’t quell their energetic visitors.

“As you can see, they played more desperate than we did,” Franklin said. “We just have to pick it up for the next one.”

As the second half tipped off, the Knights made their presence felt immediately, slapping the floor in unison on their first defensive possession. They would then go on an offensive tear, first a 7-0 run to take a 10-point lead, and then consecutive 3s from Baker and McConnell to push the advantage to 51-38 with just over five minutes played in the half.

Continued bullets into the Hoosiers’ own feet — including missed layups by Hunter and Al Durham — dogged the Hoosiers as the Knights pushed the lead to 14 points, 55-41. It took a 3-pointer from Khristian Lander in the corner, and then a three-point play by Thompson, to provide a bit of a spark, cutting the deficit back to eight.

Consecutive putback dunks by Jackson-Davis and Jordan Geronimo slimmed the lead to 57-51. IU then came alive from beyond the arc, with another 3 from Lander, and one from Franklin, to cut it down to 62-59.

But then the Hoosiers fumbled their chance again with turnovers. Rutgers pushed its lead back to eight, before Franklin hit another 3 to make it 73-68 with 1:26 left. Jackson-Davis hit two free throws in the bonus to cut it to 73-70.

IU was able to force a step-back 3-pointer from Ron Harper Jr. late in the shot clock with 14 seconds left, which missed. But Myles Johnson won the rebound and Baker went to the line for free throws. He split the pair with 8.7 seconds left, making it 74-70.

“We’re disappointed for each other,” Franklin said. “We put in the work all last week, all this week. When you put in that much work and you work so hard … everybody’s upset.

“We just take this and move forward.”

41 comments

  1. This is pretty typical of what 500 win loss records ball clubs do. Win a teaser game or two. Lose games in home gym against other 500 ball clubs and struggle to finish in upper half of conference.

  2. You mentioned Covid 19 cases at Michigan…but you failed to mention that it’s been reported as a “variant” strain. That’s a bit more troubling ….considering reports of just how much faster the variant can spread.

  3. So much for IU’s signature win over Iowa! And so much for home court advantage.

    At 9-7 and 4-5 in the Big Ten, are we even mediocre?

    1. Yes we are fully and firmly mediocre! This appears to be the IU Men’s Basketball plan!

  4. I think BigTen basketball is much like BigTen football…..We were 6-1, but were we really much better than mediocre? We lost a bowl game to an average team. Never really got the level of a bowl game we thought deserved.
    My guess is that many of the BigTen basketball teams which believe they have major separation from everyone else based on only having one or two losses are just fooling themselves. And we fooled ourselves thinking we could look past Rutgers (a team ranked just outside the Top 10 only a few weeks back).

    There is just a ton of parity in college sports. You can call everyone mediocre…or everyone pretty darn respectable with the potential to take down any opponent on any given day.

    1. MI, IA, WI and IL are clearly above mediocre. Purdue and OH St. are a touch below these top 4 but still above mediocre. Then there are 7 mediocre teams, including IU. NE is bad.

      1. Nearly all the teams you claim to be mediocre could still beat the Loyola of Chicago team that went to a Final Four just a couple years ago. Other than Nebraska, nearly every BigTen team is a quality team that could make it to the second weekend in the NCAA tournament.

        College basketball is all about momentum, match-ups, health of roster….and a large degree of timing and fortune. Some nights there are just seemingly lids on baskets. Some nights everything you put up goes through the center of the cylinder. Some nights, you are basically who you are….But the dynamics are always changing …The five on the floor for each team competing in a game is in constant flux. Foul trouble is another one of the many unstable variables. The importance and unpredictable dynamics of fans in the stands (hostile away or home supportive) is a far from being a fully understood effect on the emotions and energy of a team. The pandemic may be flattening the peaks of differences in teams by usurping that energy.

        Bottom LIne: We are NOT a mediocre team. Duke, Kentucky and Kansas are struggling in their respective conferences. They are also not mediocre teams. Any one of the three could still end up in the Final Four….as could the Indiana Hoosiers or the Minnesota Gophers.

        College basketball is still the best sport on the planet because it’s never going to be dumbed down to analyzing the paper of roster, stats and standings. Any from Indiana, should know better. No two pieces of maple on the hardwood are grained from the same history of rings on a tree. The grain is pushed and pulled to reflect the varied strains of its encountered elements and unpredictable growth. Basketball teams mirror the maple they melt into on any given night.
        We of all people should know based on the history of storied gymnasiums and games etched into Hollywood scripts and lifetime memories. We should know that five undervalued pedestrian wannabees can gel into a force to forever make a small town not so small. From the maple hardwood they twist and push …and pull their way through sectionals and regionals and soon become as majestic the giant tree forgotten when cut to 2″ planks. Gods emerge from nobodies and stun to cover the front pages of hometown papers….

        You’re from Indiana and you sum up the game of basketball in the same fashion as summing up our team as “mediocre”. I wouldn’t want you on my team because you sure don’t sound like you have ‘Hoosier’ in your heart to believe in the game of basketball. Have you ever dribbled a basketball on maple? Is it not the most beautiful tone you’ve ever known? …The grain against the leather…The varied tone of every bounce all held in some state of balance until the forces collide and the basketball gods in debate or whim decide?

        I feel bad for you..To call a team mediocre is to call the game mediocre. Beating Purdue is the least of your worries when you can’t love the unpredictable, unclaimed wild roots and gorgeous broken brackets born of thin and thick branches which broke the saws that made the maple into the game of basketball. Five of the greatest on the floor can’t tame the game anymore than five mediocre ballers who pack up their dreams from a small town in Milan, Indiana.

  5. Is anyone really surprised? All of the comments after the Iowa game that said this team had found its groove and were so positive of the players and coach. Let’s be real. You are what you are are. And this team is mediocre at best with a coach who has yet to prove he can build a winning program. I will continue to root for IU and look forward to the day when they once again have a highly rated team led by a dynamic coach. Today is not that day!

    1. I agree with you Hopeful. And unless some major talent transfers in, “that day” is not likely to come next season, either.

  6. Hoosier Hopeful, t, Brad and Podunker….? Who is the fifth starter for team ‘Throw Under the Bus?’ Podunker has to play the post…Guy goes to the ‘boards’ like a beast after a loss.
    I’ve got Brad as ‘small’ forward. He likes to do many small digs. Hoosier Hopeful can be shooting guard…He shoots off his mouth like no amount of false hope is outside his range.
    t must be our bigger/power forward…I think the lowercase t is sort of an oxy-teri-moren.

    We just need a point guard for team ‘Throw Under the Bus.’ The bus needs a distributor! Boy, I went a long way for that one….Tough crowd. Tough crowd.

    1. H4H, please move me to point guard which is what I played in school. Thank you and I think with one more addition we field a very strong team. Go IU and go my fellow commentators!

    2. Yes, speaking of T. Moren pre game plan was to go inside at NW where IU Ladies had advantage. IU being rusty fell behind. But T. Moren half time once again challenged players and team was to stay with game plan with a couple adjustments. Outstanding job of coaching by T.Moren , staff and players because IU Ladies won pulling away.
      Speaking of Oxys. Coach K in response to a student reporter question looked like a $7,000,000 ghostly virus.

  7. This team is not really very good! They are not extremely athletic. They do not have exceptional size. Their lone true big man (Trayce Jackson Davis) is not a physical player which is much needed in the Big 10. Their other physical presence Joey Brunk is hurt and can’t play? This team is lacking so many things that really hurt them. As stated above, they are very average at best? They will probably be a 500 team all year long. They will win games they shouldn’t and lose games they shouldn’t! Oh well, at least we can watch the women compete for a Big 10 Championship! Jump on the bandwagon fans, they are fun to watch! Go Hoosiers!!

  8. As I said after the Iowa game; “let’s see if they can maintain it.” (Compliments of your small forward). Mike C…..nice perspective. I would add that this and every AM version, has shown a noticeable problem with ‘focus’. At Iowa, they were.

  9. At least there is some fantastic news to salvage today…

    DOWN GO THE PACKERS!

    1. ha! Both my teams came out flat today, and the Pack was playing to go to the Super Bowl!! At least IU has the explanation (there is no excuse, there are only explanations in which we are not interested*) of letting down after beating Iowa and now playing the lesser team Rutgers.

      Packer fan since the early sixties.

      *At a long ago job, the owner was frequently “quoted” as saying that. Whether he actually ever said it, I can’t say.

  10. It would be nice if the All American would hustle back on defense more often. I was expecting a flop today, IU basketball has really declined.

  11. Disappointing loss & I’m not happy about it. Rutgers wanted this more than we did. Hard to diagnose, but today TJD was outplayed by Johnson (Fr) & Harper (Jr). We had no inside game. We hit 10 3’s! For all you “can’t shoot enthusiasts”, where do you go now? Of course, you go to Archie. But Archie isn’t getting his shot blocked, not blocking out, turning the ball over 9 times in the 2H, late to get back on D, etc…. he IS responsible for such actions, but he isn’t on the floor.

    IU got out hustled today. They had more rebounds, steals & blocks. The intangibles. This game booked down to those & they flat out beat us at all of them.

    Onto Illinois, who I think has the talent to be in the Final Four.

  12. I watched to game late last night on replay. Fast forwarded through a lot of it. Rutgers came in like their season depended on it and Indiana came in like they were attending a urology seminar.

    The team is maddening. Rutgers is a really good team, which I don’t think their 0-5 record was indicative of who they are. They were #11 at one point. Big Ten is absolutely monstrous this year.

    Indiana didn’t necessarily not play hard, they just played unfocused. It’s way too late in the game for guys like AD and Rob to be so inconsistent. They’re leaders and they need to challenge the team to bring focus and intensity in every game.

    Indiana’s record is…. Mediocre.

  13. BTW, just a personal feeling expression. It would have been nice to bathe in the Iowa win and talk about the last game a little more. Maybe we’d actually get a handle on what’s wrong with this team/program by seeing what they are capable of doing right, when they go bad, vs the tropes and discussions about buyouts/coaching lineages and other “copy paste” thoughts that predominate these threads in volume of word count, not contributors.

    There’s always some great discussions happening between the bovine fecal matter, however. Appreciate it.

  14. I agree with the sentiment on Al & Rob. We definitely go as they go & that hasn’t changed in the 50 yrs I’ve been watching the Big Ten as far as depending on your upperclass guards.

    Props to H4H for pointing out weeks ago that we are missing THAT playmaker. Perhaps Lander is THAT guy next yr & yr after, we’ll see. (Curvello looks like that guy for IL. He makes his comrades better.) But the fact is this team has real trouble creating good shots.

    A team’s shooting % is indirectly proportional to their shot quality/distance. Now, we did miss some chippies yesterday but they came off of 1 on 1 moves not playmaking.

    We just got out-willed. I cringe on these early Sun. games. IU has never been really adept on noon Sun. games.

    1. Lander played some great minutes. Drained a couple of 3s. But again, played great on the defensive side.

      1. I agree 100%. Lander is improving dramatically & I think he is THAT guy. But to improve takes guys, grit & a will to win. Franklin & Race both clearly worked hard in the offseason. Galloway & Leal have that DNA too. I see a brighter future.

  15. Our guards do a lot of “probing”….on/off the dribble. Probing can be a unique skill (Phinisee is a very good “prober”) . Probing can create opportunities in finding guys back-cutting, etc , on the interior. But probing isn’t often complemented by dynamic “playmaking” from our guards. Truly dynamic point guards are more than just “probers.” They can get the rim..They can shoot from distance. They can stop on the dime and hit a floater. They run the team. Who runs our team?
    We are built to win via backcourt committee. Some nights it works like a dream(Iowa)…Some nights it looks discombobulated (Rutgers).
    Playmaking is a faster decision process …It relies more on instincts and the ability to create under real duress….(one’s own shot or finding a quick window for a teammate). Playmakers can save games that would otherwise be lost to mismatches, stagnancy or poor shooting nights. They hold momentum changes in their ability.

    Thanks for the bit of props, AWinAZ….I thoroughly enjoy your assessments after each game.

  16. Hard to know if Lander is the future “playmaker.” There are certainly flashes…He hit some long balls against Rutgers ( a ‘must have’ in a full arsenal).
    He’s just so damn young….It’s a very big basketball court and he’s still a Fisher-Price playpen playmaker.

  17. Listening to Don Fischer today and he says things are off. He said during pre-game warm-up they are out there playing around, shooting 25-30 footers, kinda like a game of horse. Seems to be no structure, before or during game (my words). Guys are just out there funning and joking around waiting for game time. I guess since the admin doesn’t really care about B-ball, why worry. I would think sooner or later the attendance will decline and that may get their attention. Is it going to take a few more years of a few games over .500 seasons to force change, or do they not care anymore??

    1. Stubby, that’s interesting because every wanna-be coach who ever witnessed a Bob Knight-run BB practice said they were amazed at how focused and efficient the practices were, especially the drills Knight had the players go through. They all said that no part of a Bob Knight practice ever involved guys just “playing around.”

      1. Yeah, I bet for sure that the pre-game warm ups with Knight and/or any other top coach has a plan and purpose. Fish made it sound like it is/was very unorganized and kinda just out there shooting and goofing around before the Rutgers game. I may be wrong on that (didn’t hear all the interview today with Dakich) but would be interested in knowing how they go about pregame stuff, obviously that is not seen this year with closed/very little attendance at games.

  18. Found this interesting;

    The Hoosiers, as has often been the case under Miller, followed up a big win with a letdown performance. Indiana is just 2-9 in games following a win over an AP top 25 team under Miller. Sounds like a good betting angle, if they beat a top 25 team again this season.

    1. Lander could end being the star guard IU has been missing since Yogi. Physically, he looks frail and needs to get stronger, which I am sure he work on in the off-season. You get the sense, watching him play, he really wants to push the ball up court. H4H is correct, when he says IU needs a guard that can create his own shot, as well as drive and either hit the shot or pass out to an open teammate. There is no other guard on IU’s team capable of doing that. I actually think the guard position could be strong next year, and that would mean replacing Al and Rob. Neither of them would be starting for a quality team. IU needs to get athletic wings. To me, that is their real shortfall. I would love to see Jackson Davis return. He is not ready for the NBA. He drives the ball well, but he has not developed any shot. He should spend the entire off season, learning to make a mid range jump shot, as well as making foul shots. As someone stated above, IU lacks athletes. Other than Geronimo and Lander, I’m not sure who qualifies. Archie, go find some transfer athletic wings and IU has the potential to field a very strong team next year.

  19. stubby- I’ll also ask you..Did you used to use the screen name “The Rock” here? You also remind me of “The Rock.”

    Practices are not pregames. Pregame warm-ups can consist of drills and rather relaxed shoot-arounds. You guys are searching. Maybe Archie is hoping they’d stay relaxed?

    Losing after a big win over highly ranked teams…? My guess is that stat concerning a higher percentage of ‘letdown’ losses would hold true for just about every program in the country when an unranked team plays immediately (within a couple days) of taking down a high-ranked team.

    Again…Searching. Rutgers was actually a more athletic team than Iowa (unless you include Iowa’s bench which almost troubled us more toward the end of the game). Their desperation and athleticism caught us a bit. And, of course (like almost every previously slumping player), Baker came out of his shooting slump/woes against us. Soon as they see those banners hanging above McCracken, slumps evaporate…. and they think a win against Hoosiers is still playing the ‘world beater’ role.

    1. HforH, no, not the Rock. I get it that pre-games are not practices. But when I hear that type of description from Fischer who has been around the program for 50 years, it is a little concerning. I guess they were relaxed, the All-American wasn’t even ready for the tip off, I would be a bit embarrassed if I was him.

      1. Sort of weird …Heard the ‘Coach’s Show’ last night (the one that they always say is from the Holiday Inn) hosted by ‘Fish’ and all he had in his weekly interview with Archie was complimentary words.
        So Fischer throws Archie under the bus on the Dakich Show ….and then comes back later that evening to play nice on the Coach’s Show with Archie Miller? Wow…I thought Fischer was a classier guy than that.

        Here’s my bottom line. We are halfway into the season. Let’s see how it all plays out. I’d take the rest of my Hoosier years with Miller before 20 minutes of the bozo we had for almost a decade. I just can’t understand where all of your detailed dissections of flawed games (many thrown away by coaching blunders) and microscopic examinations of broken down fundamentals (massive turnovers, bricklayers, A-Hope toe-trippers who should not have been on the roster, etc) were when we had a team getting coached with cue cards on storied McCracken.

        We may still be missing some pieces (primarily a true playmaker…but they can be very hard to land/find) but it’s still a team that plays very hard and is coached by someone with some competence in the teachings of the game. We have a promising roster. We took a couple hits by losing Brunk to injury and Smith to a transfer.
        What is the point in throwing a team under the bus at this stage of a season? I also don’t understand your criticisms of our “All-American”…I assume you are referring to Trayce…You are entitled to your opinion, but I think the kid represents Indiana pretty damn well. I’ve rarely seen anything lazy from him on the floor. Needles out of a haystack criticisms in my humble opinion…He generally plays like a warrior (as does everyone on our roster). Work ethic is not an issue from tip-off to final buzzer. Even your man, Fischer, reiterated how this team never relinquishes…and rarely gets down or slips on effort even when things are not going there way.

        Most of you sound more like ‘sour grapes’ for reasons I have no clue….

        1. Glad someone listened to last night’s show to verify the issue Fish mentioned on DD’s show. I went to YouTube & listened to Fish & DD. Indeed he did say this team looked disinterested & lax during warm-ups. He went on to say he hasn’t seen focus during warm ups since Knight left.

          I think there is a time to be relaxed & it’s called the “shoot around”. Which begs to question whether Fish was talking about this or that. One would think with his tenure & cred that he’s ask Arch a question about it & give his opinion. But apparently he too is passive-aggressive & maybe a little too caught up in himself these days. I mean, why the hell is Fish on the DD show to begin with???? btw, he also said this team is void of leadership of someone who gathers the team, communicates, etc… during warm-ups. Not a surprise as that has been recast here many, many times.

          During “warm ups” vs. the “shoot around” I would sure hope we’d be doing lay ups & drills with a purpose. I guess I’m just old like that.

          1. I mean, why the hell is Fish on the DD show to begin with????

            Exactly. Agendas everywhere in IU Sports. Too many decisions made based on ideologies, faith, insider connections, etc. Once we won those banners, the whole town was invaded by meddlers and opportunists…A job for everyone and everyone for a job.

            The issues at IU go far deeper than any slight missteps by an Archie Miller who has barely yet put a maturing team on the floor of his own recruits.

            The removal of a charlatan and the exit of Glass is a beginning…but I doubt he place will ever not be a home of every Tom, Dick and Harry with a protected job and a mountain of two cents.

          2. I’ve noticed the same thing about warm-ups. Last year I unfortunately got in the habit of counting the number of misses in a row. It was depressing. Very few seemed to be working on getting ready for play.

          3. Warmupgate….Warmupgate!
            We want Archie’s head on a plate!
            Warmupgate…Warmupgate!
            We want Archie’s head on a plate!

            No pregame lay-up to be found
            Jack and chill …Jack and chill
            All they do is horse around
            A clanking rim is their favorite sound!

            Warmupgate…Warmupgate!
            We want Archie’s head on a plate!

            Dan Dakich warmed up hard and fast
            Always first in warm-up class
            It’s why he averaged 2 pts per game
            And now he’s in the Knee Burn Hall of Fame!

            Warmupgate…Warmupgate!
            We want Archie’s head on a plate!
            Warmupgate …Warmupgate!
            We want Archie’s head on a plate!

  20. Are you familiar with Del Shannon?

    Mac McClung…Texas Tech….Playmaker. Still pissed we couldn’t convince him to transfer to IU.

    Speaking of transfers of a different variety…I heard recently that Tom Crean signed 3 grad transfers with never even meeting them in person…? Wow…He’s a fantastic recruiter and he needed that sort of emergency plan?

  21. Tom Crean sent me a recruiting letter until I responded back that I was 70 years old. Suppose he lost interest because I never heard from him again.

  22. I always felt Fish and his current basketball sidekick to be pretty protective of IU. Especially, Fish era during IU football as in TOUCHDOWNS IU…oh no! he dropped the ball in the end zone…was that ball intercepted? Well, it looks like we are going the other way. Or they had him in the backfield but he’s got running room and 10, 5, touchdown as IU gives up a td. Or he’s got running room. Oh! What a tackle. Second and 9 IU.

  23. And how can we forget the masterful job at the eleventh hour to bring in Jeremiah April and Tim Priller? Oh, yes….How the cupboards were once so full.

    Warmupgate….Warmupgate!
    We want Archie’s head on a plate!

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