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.”