Sometimes you need a reality check to show that you need to improve on things. Sometimes your opponent is playing so well you can’t do anything to stop them.
The Indiana Hoosiers didn’t play nearly as bad as the boxscore to their 90-69 loss to Indiana State would tell you. That being said, the Hoosiers were definitely outplayed by the Sycamores and Archie Miller, coaching his first regular season game as Indiana’s Head Coach, made it no secret after the game.
“(It’s) reality. We can’t make any excuses. We played a pretty good team and they exposed us in a lot of areas.”
The Sycamores were the aggressor right from the tip. A Jordan Barnes steal on the first possession of the game led to a made three-pointer by Qiydar Davis. Davis would then return the favor two minutes later as he found Barnes for a three-pointer. That would just be the start of phenomenal shooting performance by the Sycamores who would finish with 17 made treys, one short of their school record and the most ever by an opponent at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
“After a while it just became a lack of pressure, a lack of detail. And it became almost shellshocked to the point where you almost thought every one of them was going to go in,” said Miller about Indiana’s three-point defense and the Sycamores hot shooting.
“Like I told the guys, they’re not going to miss. You have to make them miss.”
However, even when IU tightened up their defense, Indiana State just kept making shots as even ill-advised and off-balance three-pointers somehow found the bottom of the net. The Sycamores at one point had hit 17 of 22 (77.3%) from behind the arc before cooling off and finishing 17 of 26 (65.4%) from deep, led by Brenton Scott’s 24 points (6 of 9 from deep) and Barnes’ 18 points (5 of 7 from deep).
There were a few positives for Indiana that came out of this game.
De’Ron Davis looks more than ready to take over the starting center spot as he finished with a team-high 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting. Juwan Morgan played fairly well finishing with 13 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals. The Hoosiers stood even with the Sycamores in the second half, with both teams scoring 36 points.
Yet staying even was not what was needed, especially after coming out of halftime down 19 points. For Miller, it’s about a “soft” team needing to get tougher.
“We’re just a soft team. You don’t have to sugarcoat it at all. I think at the end of the day, the fight, the ability to resurge, the ability to grind and get back into it regardless of what things are going on, that’s not there. That’s going to take time. We have to go through these battles like we did tonight and we’ve got to get better from it.”
While this may not have been the start Coach Miller wanted, he’s at least aware of the reality around him and is ready to help his team improve from it.
“I think everybody knows tonight wasn’t a very good night for our basketball program. But you take every negative and turn it to a positive. We’ve got to find a way to get an extreme amount of evidence to these guys and tell them the truth, move on, and keep working to get better.”