Hoosiers Check All The Boxes, But Still Fall Just Short Against Purdue

It was an incredible effort from the Indiana Hoosiers on Sunday afternoon against their archrivals the Purdue Boilermakers. Unfortunately it just wasn’t enough as Purdue held off Indiana 74-67.

The Hoosiers checked all the boxes they needed filled if they were to have a chance of beating the third-ranked team in the country.

  • They out-rebounded Purdue 31-30.
  • They held the second best three-point shooting team in the country (44.2% shooting coming into the game) to just 5 of 18 (27.8%) from long range.
  • They turned the ball over only 10 times.
  • They got excellent performances from their two best players in Juwan Morgan (24 points and 7 rebounds) and Rob Johnson (21 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists).
  • They held Carsen Edwards (averaging 17.0ppg) to just 10 points on 3 of 10 shooting.
  • They held Purdue to just 74 points, tied for the second lowest amount the Boilers have scored in a Big Ten game this season.

Yet it just didn’t end up being enough.

The Hoosiers shot 50.0% for the game but were ice cold on three-pointers, hitting only 3 of 16 (18.8%), including 0 of 7 in the second half. The Hoosiers also struggled at the free throw line again, hitting only 10 of 17 (58.8%) free throws.

Then there was senior giant Isaac Haas. The 7’2″ center took full advantage of his seven-inch height advantage and tied his career-high of 26 points during a game he played a career-high 30 minutes.

“We were in a catch 22 there with the big fella (Haas),” said Indiana Head Coach Archie Miller. “He’s a tough cover, especially for our guys in terms of size differential. We didn’t do a good enough job in our post coverages.”

Miller also had praise for the Boilermakers, who he acknowledged didn’t play their best game.

“Hats off to Purdue. Give them credit. That’s what really good teams do. They find a way when it’s not their day, in a tough environment, and they are able to get the job done. Our guys played really hard.”

Meanwhile on the other side, Purdue Head Coach Painter had a lot of praise for the performances of Morgan and Johnson.

“They are good players; Juwan Morgan is the most improved guy we have seen all year. He is unbelievable from where he was to where he is now. Sometimes that happens between opportunity and natural growth, but man he’s good. I’ve always been a huge fam of  Robert Johnson (too).”

The Hoosiers can’t let this close loss dwell on them, as they still have to face two more of the top teams in the Big Ten (Ohio State on Tuesday and Michigan State on Saturday) this upcoming week.

“For us we have to have short-term memory loss,” said Miller. “It’s all about recovery, we have a quick turnaround. You’re playing against the best teams in your conference. The stage is big.”

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Juwan Morgan Plays Role Of Superman Again And Helps Hoosiers Hold Off Terrapins

In a game where there was a good chance he would be unable to play, Juwan Morgan once again showed his value to the Indiana Hoosiers by leading them to a crucial 71-68 win over Maryland to improve 12-8 on the season and 5-3 in Big Ten play.

“Obviously you see how important he is to us,” said Zach McRoberts about the impact Morgan brings the Hoosiers. “He played great for us tonight, on defense and offense.”

In a back-and-forth game between two Big Ten teams fighting for position in the middle of the conference standings, Maryland (15-7, 4-5) looked to have taken control of the game during a 9-0 run that saw the Terrapins take a 62-57 lead with 4:53 left in the game.

That’s when Morgan donned the red cape and took over the game.

Morgan immediately responded by scoring on the next two possessions, including an “and-1” that tied the game up at 62-62 just 40 seconds after being down five.

A Robert Johnson layup gave the Hoosiers the lead with 3:15 left. Johnson also played a huge role in the game contributing 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

“He’s really taken it to another level in terms of what we’re asking him to do,” said IU coach Archie Miller about Johnson. “I think his play speaks volumes.”

The Hoosiers then went back to Morgan to close the game, as the junior went 3 of 4 from the free throw line during the final minutes. Yet the Terps continued to stay with the Hoosiers as Jared Nickens hit a huge three-pointer to close Indiana’s lead to just 67-66 with 1:03 left.

Things looked grim when Josh Newkirk missed both free throws for the Hoosiers with 38 seconds left but that’s when Morgan one last time swooped in to grab the missed foul shot and got the bucket to push the lead back to three and basically clinch the game.

“We have a really good player in Juwan Morgan that you can go to in the last four minutes of the game and he can get some things done for you,” said Miller, “which was the case tonight.”

In the final five minutes of the game, Morgan accounted for 10 of the Hoosiers final 14 points and finished with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

With a game at Illinois coming up on Wednesday, the Hoosiers hope that their Man Of Steel will be ready to don that red cape again after leaving everything on the court on Monday.

Defensive Domination Helps Indiana Beat Northwestern And Earn Third Straight Conference Win

The Indiana Hoosiers flexed their defensive muscle on Sunday as they dominated the Northwestern Wildcats 66-46 to win their third straight conference game.

“I think on the defensive end it’s probably been our best game thus far,” said Robert Johnson, who lead the Hoosiers with a game-high 17 points, including five made three-pointers.

The Hoosiers (11-7, 4-2) immediately got into foul trouble from the start and had to play all but two minutes of the first half without Juwan Morgan and Zach McRoberts.

Without Morgan’s scoring and McRoberts’ passing, the Hoosiers survived the first half by turning the game into a grind-it-out slugfest. The Hoosiers shot just 30.0% (9 of 30) from the floor in the first half, but was able to hold the Wildcats to 24.0% (6 of 25) and took a 24-19 lead into halftime.

In the second half the Hoosiers got both Morgan and McRoberts back and the offense took off, hitting 60.9% (14 of 23) of their second half shots while continuing to disrupt Northwestern (11-8, 2-4), which shot only marginally better at 29.0% (9 of 31).

Here is a closer look at the defensive numbers, at least tracking back to the 1996-1997 season:

  • The 46 points allowed are tied for the third lowest allowed by the Hoosiers in a Big Ten game since 1996-97.
    • The lowest was 43 points allowed to Iowa in 2008.
    • The other games were against Northwestern in 2002 (44 points allowed) and against Illinois in 2014 (46 points allowed).
  • The Wildcats were held to 15 of 56 shooting, which comes out to 26.8% shooting.
    • That’s tied for the second lowest shooting percentage allowed by the Hoosiers in a Big Ten game dating back to the 96-97 season.
    • The Hoosiers held Michigan to 25.0% shooting in 2000 and held Ohio State to 26.8% shooting in 2002.
  • No Northwestern Wildcat scored double-digit points.
    • Leading scorer Scottie Lindsey shot an abysmal 1 of 15 from the floor and missed all seven shots from deep, finishing with just two points.
    • Vic Law and Isiah Brown got the closest as each scored nine points.

The Hoosiers now are tied for third in the Big Ten with their 4-2 conference record. And according to Johnson, the team has the ability to play even better.

“I think if we can build on (our defensive effort) and continue to tighten a couple of things up on the offensive side we’ll be in a good spot.”