Hoosiers escape Northwestern with 79-76 double overtime win

When the final horn sounded at Welsh-Ryan Arena, there were only happy expressions amongst the Hoosiers.

Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis came up behind Al Durham and hugged him, smiling wide, pulling the Hoosiers’ senior guard every which way. On the sideline, Rob Phinisee walked off with Archie Miller just behind him, with IU’s coach giving him a quick rub on the shoulders and a pat on the back of the head.

Miller told the Hoosiers after the game, of all the games this season, Wednesday’s 79-76 double-overtime win over Northwestern put the biggest smile on his face. Because for so long, the Hoosiers were so close to falling on their faces. But somehow, they found a way.

“Really on a day we probably shouldn’t have won,” Miller said.

Most of the contents of IU’s performance in regulation were not pleasant. In the first half, the Hoosiers (11-8, 6-6 Big Ten) opened by missing their first nine shots, finishing the frame at 7-of-29 from the floor. In both halves, IU was just 12-of-22 from the free throw line.

But heroics from Durham and backcourt mate Armaan Franklin, who finished with 24 and 23 points, respectively, helped the Hoosiers force one overtime. And then another.

“To be able to put it in the first overtime was incredible,” Miller said, “and to put it into the second one was probably even more.”

IU trailed by seven points, 54-47, with 2:16 remaining in regulation. But the Hosiers capitalized on Northwestern turnovers to get Durham to the foul line, who hit shot after shot. With the lead down to 54-52, Jackson-Davis stretched out his arm to force a missed layup from Chase Audige, setting up a pull-up jumper by Durham to tie.

In the second overtime, the odds were even longer. Northwestern (6-11, 3-10) was able to create a 66-60 edge with just over a minute remaining. The Hoosiers had to extend the game by fouling, which given their struggles at the line, was a risky proposition.

But Audige, who scorched IU for 17 second-half points in a Big Ten-opening loss, did not have the same touch Wednesday. He missed the frontend of a one-and-one, putting Franklin back on the line with 44 seconds left. Franklin, the hero from Sunday’s win over Iowa, swished two and cut the lead to two.

Northwestern burned some clock to set up an Audige 3-pointer, which he air-balled. That left the Hoosiers with 13.4 seconds left to get up a shot. Franklin dribbled to his right, nearly caught in a double-team. Nearly losing control of the ball as he turned to pass, Franklin double-clutched and tossed it to Durham on the wing.

Durham dribbled right, and he spotted up at the top of the key with his toe just inside the 3-point line.

“I tried to pump-fake and step back, but I missed the line,” Durham said. “It is what it is. But I knew the shot was good, if that counts for anything. I tried to step back for a 3, I didn’t make it. But I hit 2. So it is what it is.”

It was enough.

In the second overtime, IU was able to grab a lead and hold on. One pivotal play was Franklin poking at Audige’s dribble and going to the floor for a loose ball. That steal set up Rob Phinisee on the other end for two free throws, with the game tied at 70-all.

Phinisee, who at that point was 0-of-5 from the field, 0-of-4 from 3-point range, and 0-of-3 from the free throw line, hit two free throws to give IU a slight cushion. IU was a combined 15-of-16 from the line in the two overtimes, including an 11-of-12 output from Durham and Franklin.

“Putting them into both overtimes, you could kind of see the confidence in our guys continue to grow, that we were going to figure something out and find a way to do it,” Miller said.

Given the Hoosiers had lost three out of their previous four overtime games this season, just coming up clutch was huge. But in the grand scheme of this season, this win was pivotal, because IU needed to stop losing immediately after big wins.

Coming off of Sunday’s top-10 win over Iowa, Durham’s message to his teammates, throughout a double-overtime contest, was “We needed it more.”

“We haven’t been able to put two together,” Durham said. “I felt like this win, we needed it. I echoed it the whole game to them. We can keep grinding it out, keep fighting, because we need this win very bad.”

Aside from Franklin and Durham, it was Jerome Hunter who answered the shot-making bell. The redshirt sophomore wing, who missed the last two games to a coach’s decision, found himself with the ball with the shot clock running down in the second overtime.

Hunter dribbled backward from the free throw line, launching a prayer 3-pointer from the wing. It swished in, giving IU a 75-71 cushion with 15 seconds left. It preemptively nullified a 3-pointer by Audige, keeping the Hoosiers in front by a point.

From the free throw line, the Hoosiers iced it away.

“I’ve always echoed it to him, to stay with it, and we are going to need him, and he’s going to make some big plays, like tonight,” Durham said. “He hit that big 3 for us. I always told him that we need him and he needs to stay locked in, because you never know when your number is going to be called, and tonight it was.”

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. Whether the expressions on the Hoosiers’ faces were manifestations of joy or relief, it was better than the alternative.

Now the Hoosiers head to Columbus, Ohio, for a Saturday contest with the Buckeyes. They do it as winners of two straight. IU’s only other winning streak in conference play was a two-gamer, beating Penn State and Maryland.

“Just proud of our guys,” Miller said. “It’s a game you look back on and you say ‘I don’t know how we figured out how to get a win in this one.’”

(above photo courtesy of IU Athletics)


  1. This was like Houdini escaping the Chinese Free Throw Torture Cell….Podunker’s jaw dropped so hard it strained his earlobes.

  2. “Sorry we missed your call…Three Friends Catering is currently closed. Our normal operating hours are after any Hoosier loss.”

  3. Always one to take the W, I feel kinda slimy even accepting this one. We came out as flat as I’ve ever seen a team for the 1st 10 min. Just a complete disaster. All we had was defense, & it was often porous. We really didn’t get our $%#t together until we were down 9 with 3 min left in regulation.

    Trayce was worse than his disappearance & nonchalant play vs. TX.

    Can someone please explain the logic of an offense dribbling the shot clock down to 15 sec. or less before there is any real motion to score? Up 10, down 10, doesn’t matter. Same routine.

    I’m also shocked at how slow we are to recognize open players & double teams. Our passing & shot selection in the paint leaves a lot to be desired.

    Play like this Sat. & we’ll lose by 35.

    1. Lots of positives….Something like 18 of 19 at free throws in both overtimes. Clutch shooting. Trayce taking a very hard hit to the knee and coming back in to tough it out.

      Not a big fan of Holtmann….Don’t know why…Might just be his smug looks. Hope we shock them in Columbus.

  4. Does anyone else see how horrible our point guard is (when Lander is not the point guard)? Might be the worse point guard in the last 40 years. Yet, he starts every half, and is in during the last 2 minutes of every game. I just don’t understand. Will someone explain?

  5. IU and Northwestern set the game of basketball back fifty years Wednesday.
    It was easy enough to see how Northwestern has now lost 10 in a row.
    PAINFUL to watch, but a victory is a victory, I guess ??
    Onward to who knows where.

  6. A win is a win, better than a loss! Very poor play by both teams. Congratulations to Durham for hitting the big shot. Kudos to Franklin for his scoring surge in the 2nd half. I would like to see Archie start Lander next game. It would be insulting for him to start Phinisee. I’m sure Rob is a nice kid, but gee, at this point, he has reached his ceiling, which is simply not good enough to warrant being starting point guard at this level. Let Rob get his minutes off the bench. Jackson Davis really needs to develop a shot. He is no threat, from more than 6 feet away from the basket. And that pertains to the foul shot. He is a strong rebounder, blocks shots and drives to the basket well. I just can’t see him ready for pro ball at this time. If he can master a jump shot, he would really increase his draft position. It would be good for IU and good for him, if he stays one more year. Of course the NBA scouts will give him their thoughts, which will help determine what he does.

  7. It was a win, but why did it feel like a loss? Was anyone elated after the game ended, or were the primary emotions a combination of relief and resignation?

    How does any team come out of a locker room, start a game that flat and play that bad for that long? Maybe these empty stadiums are really starting to have an impact on these young men. Not just the young men on IU’s team, but all these college athletes.

    1. I was elated!

      Yeah, they came out “flat,” but they still played defense which kept them in the game. I think part of the flatness was Northwestern’s determination to not let Jackson-Davis score, figuring that IU can’t hit from more that a few feet away. For awhile that worked.

      They hung in and found a way. Given that they were 1-3 in overtime games going in, that they pulled this one out is good. Yes, it was Northwestern, but finishing a game is finishing a game.

      I am not a big fan of Miller’s current starting (and ending) five. Clearly, Phinisee is the most struggling player of those five. Earlier in the season, Miller had replaced Phinisee with Galloway in the starting lineup. Galloway’s back gets balky and Phinisee is returned. Lander doesn’t get the spot (I’m guessing) because he is very good, but only for so long in any one game. When he’s been out there awhile, he starts looking a bit lost.

      I know, I know: “Phinisee looks lost from the start!”

  8. The “win” is starting to sink in a bit more & I’ve come to the realization that this team will never win pretty. That only happens against inferior talent s.a. Providence, Stanford, & N. Alabama. The painful part for me is that it could be prettied up if they would just run the floor more on TOs forced. Archie does seem to implore that from the sideline, to push the ball. They have the opportunity often and when they do fast break off of TOs good things (normally) happen. Defense that turns into fast break points is pretty. Defense that turns into lost possessions, standing around and late shot clock forced shots is very, very painful. Like last night….and the night before that….and the night before that…..

    TJD can block shots and spin & go to his left. That’s it. ‘Two dimensional’ I guess is the term I’d use. He’s going to eat some leather trying to shoot from the right side left handed in the NBA. When he does shoot a traditional jump shot, his feet get about 4″ off the floor at most.

    Phinisee is just a complete mess on offense right now. But he does play good defense consistently. Last night he had 5 assists and only 1 TO. Probably would’ve had more assists were it not for so many clunkers and air balls.

    You can quote me on this…..we have no hope of beating OSU. None. 0. Nada.

    1. We’ve already heard you’re a fan of Holtmann….That’s fine.

      I think we’ll give OSU a very strong run. Tough to win on the road in this league…(and the “neutrality” argument based on no fans is also sort of BS because the road team can’t feed off adopting the spoiler role against the hostile crowd). But I’m not nearly as bleak on this one.

      I enjoy watching this bunch….I enjoy watching them struggle through the grinds of freshmen finding their confidence and veterans challenged to prove they’re worth and minutes. Galloway’s back must still be troubling him…We’ve had nothing of Brunk. We lost Justin Smith to transfer.
      I think Archie has done a stupendous job .

      Really like the bright glimpses of Geronimo….Made a nifty back-cut on the interior for an easy dunk against NW last night. He plays with very high IQ considering his limited minutes. He contributes without stacking the box score…And Lander fed him a simply brilliant pass. Find the bright sun busting through the parting clouds. Nice to see Jerome Hunter get out of detention and hit a monster shot . Nice to see his teammates rally around him.
      All those aforementioned little moments add up to bigger pluses down the road…

      Indiana 72
      OSU 70

  9. AZ,

    I feel ya. This IU team is painful to watch. I feel bad saying this because I think these kids are putting the effort in. But man, 8 minutes into the game, IU had 7 points against the worst defensive team in the B1G. It’s ugly on even the best of days.

    1. And they’re consistent. They always play tough defense, but they always struggle to score points. I don’t see a lot of space this season between their best games and a game like yesterday’s when they struggled to beat a bad NW team.

  10. Little things….Did you catch Joey Brunk putting a big love hug on Jerome and saying some words into his ear at the end of the game? We don’t hear much of Brunk ….(obvious because of being sidelined), but I have this feeling there can’t be a better teammate in the world. His role in bridging the youth with the veterans….the stars with the limited minutes/role players…along with his steady presence and positive outlook on life likely does an immeasurable good in tempering the tensions of highs and lows throughout the season. Such marvelous intangibles and character traits of fine young men, the true value in playing team sports, is never going to be dissected in a postgame analysis. But it’s the main reason I love amateur sports when it’s done right. And I love watching it happen without all of the needless slogans, mantras and overused kumbaya billboard material attempting to magnify what is best left to subtle beauty….There was subtle beauty last night. Unselfish acts of being a great teammate when there is such little of limelight.
    Sorry I couldn’t be more eloquent on the matter….

  11. Your job as a coach …and as a teammate is to make a better tomorrow. Making more shots…? Making more free throws…? Making more deep tournament runs. …? Making more money?
    Not why we play these games, folks. The little things…Watching Joey with Jerome…Watching Archie take his hand and place it atop the head of a struggling Rob Phinisee as they walk off the court. These are the acts within a game that make for a bigger reason to play 40 minutes. These are the acts that make me want to be a better person…even when my time is fading to do so. These are the deeds that bring my passion for Hoosiers home again. Gosh…I love basketball.

    1. I also like these “little things”. They add up. Not only am I a fan of Holtman, but I like Archie just as much. I think he’s a good coach. Give me some sweet 16s, Final Fours & a Championship & Ill say he’s great. But thow shalt take time. I really, really hope the administration sticks with him. The last thing we need is to change course again. One coach for 30 yrs., 4 in the last 20. To build a program, one must build culture. It is easy to join a winner. After that comes, recruiting gets easier.

      I’ll gladly buy you a pint of tour choice Harv if we beat OSU this Sat.

      1. Always thought Holtmann looked a bit like a poor man’s Tim Robbins…He’s doing 10-15 at OSU/OSR*. It will later be determined the Butler, Thad Matta, did it while acting as an imposter of Gene Hackman in a remake of Hoosiers.` Matta was under earlier investigation for multiple robbing of Indiana talent.

        The Shawshank Redemption, a motion picture based on the novella, was released in 1994. The actual building used for filming was the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio (courtesy: Wikipedia).


  12. And one more thing…then I’ll shuddup. Chris Collins. We need more like him. He could hardly keep himself composed after the game last night. His heart was torn in two….
    Winning? It’s really so unimportant. The “winning” is never on the scoreboard.

  13. It’s tragic you can’t see the “Awaiting Moderation” landfill where Jeremy dumps all the unapproved for your eyes…It’s sort of where ‘Comments from the Crypt’ got its inspiration. It’s the X-rated stuff without the X’s and O’s. Jeremy is not only a damn fine journalist but a great editor as well. He sifts through the unsightly mess (along with my many naked “oops” comments sending him back to hunt for the paragraphs I’ve noted my usual spelling blunders) …..picks and chooses…and “rolls” the rest down the long desert highway (while playing Eagles “Hotel California”) and buries the thousands of pages you’ve never seen like the next mafia hit job.
    Most of Harvard is under the hot sands of an internet wasteland ….A graveyard of blabber more than you can already barely stand. Send him some chocolates ….and best not ask for more. What makes it out of the crypt to escape the coffin door is plenty haunting enough.

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