(Photo Credit: @RazorbackMBB)
Foul trouble was the theme early for IU. Juwan Morgan picked up 2 fouls, so De’Ron Davis replaced Morgan early, yet turned over the ball twice and committed a flagrant foul. However, Davis helped on the glass grabbing 3 boards in 11 minutes. Al Durham made a nice presence early by hitting 2 quick threes. Robert Phinisee picked up two early fouls as well, leading to Archie substituting Durham back in to run the point. IU initially shot better from the field, but Arkansas hung on and had the lead. Romeo Langford led IU in scoring and minutes played at the half with 11 points, shooting 3-9 from the field, and 5-6 at the free throw line. Morgan ended the half only playing 3 minutes. Devonte Green, Zach McRoberts, Jerome Hunter, and Race Thompson were all out.
Daniel Gafford made his presence known offensively and defensively throughout the half. He finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Arkansas’ press defense caused mental mistakes for IU, leading to unnecessary turnovers. Additionally, even though IU shot slightly better than Arkansas from the field, Arkansas had the edge in bench points and points in the paint. At the end of the first half, Arkansas led 38-35.
The second half foul woes continued for IU. Phinisee picked up his 3rd foul and Durham turned over the ball twice. Arkansas increased their lead to 10, leading to Miller calling a timeout. Even though foul trouble and turnovers continued, Indiana fought back and took the lead with about 11 minutes to go. Both teams continued trading baskets: Langford and Morgan for IU, Gafford for Arkansas. At the under 8 TV timeout, Langford led IU in scoring (16 pts) and Gafford led Arkansas (20 pts). Both teams continued to fight back and forth. With less than a minute to go, Robert Phinisee tied the game by hitting a huge three. Arkansas failed to score the next possession giving IU a chance to take the lead. With less than 10 seconds to go Robert Phinisee missed a close layup and De’Ron Davis missed a point-blank tip in. Davis fouled Arkansas’ Mason Jones. Jones hit the first, but purposely missed the second free throw disallowing IU to get a clean shot to win the game.
Arkansas pulled through in a nail-biter, 73-72. Gafford finished the game with a commendable 27 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. Even though Juwan Morgan played only 3 minutes in the first half, he finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Langford led IU in scoring with 22 points; he also obtained 10 rebounds.
Moving forward, IU must avoid foul trouble and protect the ball, especially before the Big Ten season begins. Otherwise, the team should not worry about this loss too much. This was a tough road test against a tough Arkansas team. There’s plenty of season left for Archie Miller and his squad.
Box Score (Source: IU Athletics)
The Hoosiers face the University of Texas at Arlington this Tuesday, November 20th at 6 pm in Bloomington. Although, UT Arlington is currently ranked 225th out of 353 according to Kenpom, this could be a great chance for IU play more disciplined and bounce back strong. Look for the UT Arlington scouting report to be released soon.