BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — This was a game Indiana’s team needed to get above .500 in conference play. On a larger level, it was one IU’s fans needed for their sanity.
In the end, for the eighth straight time, Indiana (8-6, 3-4 B1G) could not defeat its rival, falling to Purdue (9-5, 4-3 B1G). It marked 11 losses in 12 games for the Hoosiers, as well as a fifth straight home defeat.
In the build-up to tonight’s contest, coach Archie Miller said guard Armaan Franklin‘s availability (ankle) would be a game-time decision. Franklin warmed up before the contest, and was deemed good to go by the IU staff. Franklin didn’t start the game, like he had all other games this season in which he played. IU’s opening five remained the same from the last two games: Rob Phinisee, Al Durham, Trey Galloway, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis.
The intensity on the floor between the two long-time rivals was immediately noticeable. The only two teams at exactly .500 in conference play exchanged the lead in the first three minutes. Then, the Boilermakers went on the game’s first run, thanks to pinpoint outside shooting.
Sasha Stefanovic gave Purdue the lead with 16:48 left in the first stanza, then redshirt freshman Brandon Newman hit consecutive bombs to push Purdue’s lead up to five. Eric Hunter Jr. and Jaden Ivey each hit a three as well, and just after the ten-minute mark, Purdue held a 29-17 advantage.
Franklin did what he could to get IU back into the game. In his very first minute, he grabbed a defensive rebound, led the break, and dished an assist on a Durham fastbreak three-pointer. Franklin totaled eight points going into the break, and no Hoosier took more shots from the field than him in the first half. Franklin also tied for the team lead with four first-half rebounds.
Indiana tried to gain some confidence going into the break with a strong final minute before halftime. Jerome Hunter knocked down a three, Franklin hit a layup, and the Hoosiers went into the half down by four.
In the second period, Indiana made a few runs at Purdue, when Purdue star Trevion Williams asserted himself in the paint. After scoring six points in the first half, Williams recorded 14 after the break, finishing with 20 on the night. He came into the game averaging 15.0 PPG, and 16.8 PPG in Big Ten play.
One eye-opening number from the second half was Indiana’s apprehension to taking threes, even though they trailed for the entirety of the final 20 minutes. IU made just three of 12 attempts in the first half, with Hunter making two of them. Still, a Hoosier team that made 17-of-45 three-point attempts in their previous two games took just six in the second half, five of which came in the final 1:19.
Up Next: Indiana originally had a game scheduled for Sunday afternoon at Michigan St., but that contest was postponed due to cases in the Spartan program. IU’s next scheduled matchup is next Thursday at No. 5 Iowa, at 9 PM ET, on FS1.
Photo Credit: Indiana University Athletics