CHAMPAIGN, IL – The Hoosiers continue their high level of play for the third game in a row with a convincing win against rival Illinois 92-74 on the road. Indiana still does not control its own destiny when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, but each win like this will bolster their resume and make it harder for the selection committee to ignore them on Selection Sunday.
This was the first time in several months that the Hoosiers put on an offensive clinic. The last time they broke 90 points was against Jacksonville on December 22, 2018 and this is the second time this season they surpassed 90 against a Quadrant 1 match-up with Marquette being the other game.
The Hoosiers broke out to an early lead in Champaign while taking control of the paint on both ends of the court. Juwan Morgan led both teams in both points at 20, and rebounds with 9. Illinois did not have an answer for his size and length the entire game, and thus the Hoosiers went to him early and often.
Not only did Juwan put together an impressive showing, 4 other Hoosiers broke into double-digit scoring. Smith, Romeo, Phinisee, and Green scoring over 10 allowed IU to spread the Illini defense very thin and enabled easy shot after easy shot from down low and deep.
Phinisee had one of his best games of the season showing impressive ball-control and commanding the offense and defense with poise. He added 5 assists and a rebound along with his 17 points.
Despite this impressive offensive showing, the Indiana defense did not have its best game – allowing Illinois to an impressive 50% FG compared to the Hoosier 55.4%. This was an improvement from Michigan State’s 54.2% last week, but there is still room to further our defensive capabilities prior to Big Ten Tournament (and potential post season play). Five Hoosiers and five Illini made it to double figure scoring tonight (Dosunmu, Jordan, Frazier, Feliz and Bezhanishvili). However, only 8 other points were scored by players other than these for the Illini. The Hoosiers had 19 points scored by players not reaching double-digit scoring.
It was refreshing to see the Hoosiers start the game at a blistering pace and not let up and only further their lead for most of the game. After the first 10 minutes, the Hoosiers put together a run, and did not look back for the rest of the game. They had incredible control of the ball, adding only 7 turnovers the entire game, which is one of the lowest totals to the season. Control of the ball will be key to repeat performances such as these in the remaining games this season.
Next up, the Hoosiers will now head back home to Bloomington, IN for their final home game and senior night in a pivotal matchup against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. This will be Morgan’s, McRoberts’, and Fitzner’s last game in SSAH, and the Hoosiers will do everything they can to make it a memorable one as they try to further their resume for the tournament.
We will host Rutgers at 12PM on BTN. Rutgers are currently ranked No. 70 on Kenpom and we are given a solid 74% chance of victory. This game will not be tallied as a resume building victory, but it will be a dream-ending loss if the Hoosiers trip up on Sunday at home.
Notable statistic: Indiana scored 52 points in the paint tonight.