BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Indiana Hoosiers were unable to complete a perfect non-conference slate after losing this evening to Arkansas with a final score of 64-71. The Hoosiers move to 11-2 on the season. The visiting Razorbacks move to 11-1 and earn an impressive resume building victory over the Hoosiers.
Arkansas was led to victory by the three point shooting of Isiah Joe and Mason Jones. Indiana continues to struggle containing shooters that are feeling the hot hand. The pair was responsible for over 40 points of the Razorbacks offense and nailed a combined 15 three pointers that proved to be too much for the Hoosiers to handle in the second half.
Even with owning the lead for over 28 minutes, Indiana closed out with an uninspiring performance — one that they could not rebound.
The environment at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall was set up for the battle against two one-loss teams that were seeking verification on why they should be candidates for AP poll voters. Even without school in session, the Hall packed arguably the most number of fans in the building. Balcony seats would be hard to come by on Sunday evening.
Both coaching staffs had a week to prepare for each other. Both teams have very different styles. On one hand, Arkansas is a guard heavy team that relies heavily on three point shooting and defense. Indiana, despite their efforts to be a defensive-minded team, has been winning their games with their efficient offense from the front court.
Archie Miller acknowledge the potential for running as many four guards on the floor at the a time, but instead elected to run with his standard offense. The statement was clear: he wanted Arkansas to adapt to the Indiana size advantage, rather than playing small.
Unsurprisingly, neither team deviated from what was stylistically comfortable. Arkansas aggressively defended with their guards, suffocating who ever Indiana used as the ball carrier. On offense, their ability to pick and roll for open outside shots created open looks that the Razorbacks had no problem taking. They hit 4 of 14 from deep, which was good for 28.6%.
In the second half, Eric Musselman wanted to go all in on shooting from distance. The Razorbacks finished with 12 of 31 from three point range (38.7%). They were led by Isiah Joe who finished the game with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Mason Jones played with four fouls after picking up a technical. He finished the game with 21 points, including making clutch deep shots in the second half.
Indiana used the inside presence of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Joey Brunk to bully the undersized Arkansas team. To their credit, the visiting Razorbacks fronted the paint, fought aggressively around the perimeter, and did everything in their power defensively to deny paint touches. Ultimately against the larger Indiana team, there was very little the Razorbacks could do once they ball was properly fed to the inside.
Jackson-Davis showed why he belongs in the list of the top freshman in the nation. With his younger brother watching from the stands, he scored a team high 20 points and grabbed 6 boards. He was ferocious with the ball and played with controlled chaos for the lack of a more descriptive phrase. Alone, it was just not enough for him to carry the Hoosiers over the hump.
Brunk led the team with 11 rebounds himself and he scored 8 points. It was yet another close double-double for Brunk, but he just couldn’t get the final bucket to push him over.
With just four guards coming into the game, Indiana would take a hit on their already undermanned guard room. Junior captain Al Durham was called for a flagrant two foul after he elbowed Razorback forward Adrio Bailey in the face. The foul was not called right away, but it was reviewed and issued after the media timeout.
Devonte Green stepped up in Devonte fashion. He scored 14 points, but he also led the team with three turnovers. On multiple plays, you could hear the confused crowd asking themselves what exactly was Green trying to accomplish. Instead of the single, he elected to go for the home run. He sank an occasional three point shot, but also created sloppiness for the Indiana offense.
Like familiar Indiana games, the Hoosiers did not play this game without drama. Even though Indiana had the lead for over 28 minutes of the game, the Razorbacks took back the lead in the second half with deep three point shots. Flat shooting from deep and at the line would be the reason Indiana picks up just their second loss on the season.
Recruiting notes this evening
The Hoosiers hosted a number of important recruits during winter break for high schools. Among those in attendance, Indiana hosted five-star 2021 PG Khristian Lander, four-star 2021 PF Trey Kaufman, 2021 SG Pierce Thomas, and 2022 SF Tae Davis. Indiana 2020 signee Anthony Leal was also behind the bench this evening at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Unfortunately, the recruits witnessed far from Indiana’s best performance this season.
Source: Indiana University Athletics
Number of the Night: 9 missed free throws
Indiana had plenty of chances to win the game at the charity stripe. The Hoosiers shot short on a number of free throws, despite being well rested from Christmas break. Indiana had multiple chances to get to the stripe this evening, but time after time came up making just one of two, or missing both altogether.
The Hoosiers finished with 9 of 18 converted at the free throw line.
The Hoosiers resume conference play on the road after the new year. On the afternoon of Saturday, January 4, 2020, Indiana will take on Maryland (11-2, 1-1 Big Ten) in College Park. The contest is scheduled to tip-off at noon and can be viewed live on FOX.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ