In what is usually a meaningless game against a low-major school right before conference play picks up again, the Indiana Hoosiers saw two players still give 110% on the floor and help the team finish non-conference play with a 79-51 win over Youngstown State.
To nobody’s surprise, those two players were Juwan Morgan and Zach McRoberts.
Morgan finished with a game-high 16 points while adding six rebounds, three steals, and 2 blocks and McRoberts scored seven points as well as grabbed a team-high eight rebounds as the Hoosiers overcame a terrible first half showing to earn their second straight win.
This season has been a coming-out part for Morgan, who is the team’s leading scorer (15.3ppg) and leading rebounder (7.2) after averaging just 7.7 points and 5.6 rebounds last season. Meanwhile McRoberts has continued to see his role increase as his hard work has earned the respect of Indiana Head Coach Archie Miller. Hard work that Miller would like to see his other players emulate.
“We need to get some other guys on this team fired up and ready to go and playing like that. I think Zach (McRoberts) embodies that and we need to get some other guys on this team fired up.”
It’s not just effort either as Miller is aware that some players have regressed as the season has gone along, particularly De’Ron Davis.
“We got to get De’Ron (Davis) going right now. (He) really, in my mind, isn’t playing anywhere near where he was a month ago.”
Just comparing Davis’ scoring stats from November to December is eye-opening. Davis averaged 12 points per game on 75.6% shooting in the month of November but has seen those numbers go down to 7 points per game on 50% shooting in the month of December.
“We’ve got to get him rolling again, get him back in practice competing. If you (don’t give maximum effort), you’re going to struggle; you can’t cheat the process.”
However, Davis isn’t the only Hoosier that needs to find consistent success.
Robert Johnson has been fairly consistent this season but it’s worrisome that during a three-game stretch against Michigan, Iowa, and Louisville he averaged just five points per contest, including a scoreless game against the Louisville Cardinals. He’s also been extremely streaky from deep as he has hit on just 32.4% (23 of 71) of his three-point attempts, a considerable drop from his career average of 38.6%.
Josh Newkirk has only reached double-digit points in four of the 14 games he has played despite starting every game and averaging 23.9minutes per game. Devonte Green shot 43.6% from deep in his freshman year, but has become such a streaky shooter that his shooting percentage from behind the arc is down all the way to 29.6% (16 of 54) after going one for his last 14 during the last three games.
The talent is there for the Hoosiers to have a competitive Big Ten season. All the team has to do is follow the example set by Morgan and McRoberts.