Hoosiers lose to Duke, but progress is evident

By TYLER SMITH (@TylerSmith_ISL)
ISL Editor

Robert Johnson scored 17 points against Duke on Wednesday night. (Photo by Bobby Goddin, Indiana Daily Student)

Robert Johnson scored 17 points against Duke on Wednesday night.
(Photo by Bobby Goddin, Indiana Daily Student)

BLOOMINGTON —  The Indiana Hoosiers have come a long way in just a few short weeks.  Just 20 days ago, the Hoosiers lost to Indiana State by 21 points to open the season.  On Wednesday night, they gave #1 ranked Duke all they could handle.  It wasn’t enough for the win, however, as the Blue Devils defeated the Hoosiers 91-81 in front of a wild crowd in Bloomington.

“I want to thank our fans,” IU Coach Archie Miller said. “Assembly Hall was all that it’s cracked out to be tonight.  Give Duke credit. They’re number one in the country for a reason.”

After Duke took a 52-42 lead in the second half, the young Hoosiers didn’t back down.  They fought all the way back and led 75-74 with 5:26 to play.  As the Blue Devils have done in the last few weeks, they made the winning plays down the stretch to survive defeat.

“Learning how to win that type of game is so important to your program,” Miller said. “If you do, it spear-heads the belief in what you’re doing.  If you look at what Duke did in the last four minutes, those are winning plays. I thought we battled. Our guys weren’t scared. But if you get 81 points in your building, that should be enough. That’s what we’ve got to get to.”

Sophomore DeRon Davis was limited to just four minutes of action in the first half after picking up two fouls.  Davis was a force in the second half, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting.  The Hoosiers will be undersized in the post a lot this year, but that was especially true against this Duke team, and Davis put in some great work to keep the Hoosiers within striking distance.

“He’s a big weapon for us,” said Senior Robert Johnson. “Whenever we feel he has an advantage inside, he has to get the ball.  That’s something we’ll continue to do.”

Another positive for Indiana- they only turned the ball over nine times.  They didn’t commit their first turnover until there was 4:45 left in the first half.  After averaging 18 turnovers in their first three games, the Hoosiers have committed less than 10 turnovers in their last three games- something IU hasn’t done since the mid 90’s.

The free-throw line continues to be a problem for Indiana.  They made just 16-of-26 from the stripe in this game, often killing any momentum they were trying to build.

“The free-throw line is disappointing,” Coach Miller said. “As a team, you have to be better than that to win games like this.”

Despite the loss, fans should be pleased with the early progress this month.  It takes time to learn a brand new system, and the improvement in under three weeks is impressive.

 

QUICK HITS:  -Closing each half was a problem for the Hoosiers.  They missed eight of their final nine shots in the first half, and didn’t make a field goal in the final five minutes of the second half.

-Senior Collin Hartman scored 11 points in 16 minutes off the bench in his second game back from injury.

-Despite being undersized, the Hoosiers were only out-rebounded 33-31 in the game.

 

NEXT UP:  The Hoosiers will begin conference play against the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday in Ann Arbor.
Coach Miller- “I thought we did some really good things.  Proud of our guys, and we’re on to Michigan.”

 

 

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