68 teams get selected to participate in March Madness. 67 of them end their season with a loss. Indiana joined that club on Sunday night.
A slow start and a poor rebounding performance doomed the Hoosiers (23-12) at MVP Arena in the round of 32, as IU fell to Miami (27-7), 85-69. For a final time, Trayce Jackson-Davis led Indiana, scoring 23 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and blocking five shots. Junior guard Isaiah Wong paced the Hurricanes, scoring 27 and securing eight boards.
After a resounding victory over Kent St. on Friday, the Hoosiers quickly fell behind Miami in Albany. As great as Wong was during the game, it was the other four Hurricane starters that scored in the early going. At the under-16 media break, Miami led 13-3, and Mike Woodson had already burned a timeout.
Jim Larrañaga‘s four-guard offense posed major problems for IU’s defense, as straight-line dribble drives met little IU resistance. On the defensive side, Larrañaga opted to front Jackson-Davis in the post with Norchad Omier, and Indiana struggled to get their All-American the ball. TJD only attempted one shot in the game’s first 11 minutes, as Miami continued to hold a double-digit lead.
As IU got Jackson-Davis the ball more, the gap between the teams started to shrink. Back-to-back TJD baskets cut the deficit to eight. Indiana intensified its defensive effort. After Trey Galloway nailed a three, the Hoosiers trailed by three.
Miami immediately responded to go back up ten.
Jalen Hood-Schifino, who had a difficult time settling into the rhythm of the game, fouled Wong on a three-point shot that went through the net. It was his second foul, and he sat for the rest of the half.
IU’s best stretch of the game came after that sequence. Miller Kopp found his stroke to drill consecutive jumpers, including a three just before halftime. The Hoosier crowd, which had been largely silent due to the team’s trailing position, cheered their team loudly going into the break.
IU took the lead after halftime. What was once a 13-point deficit completely disappeared. Jackson-Davis secured the offensive rebound in a crowd of Canes and laid it into the basket.
That play was Indiana’s most determined effort on the glass the rest of the way. Miami’s eight-man rotation completely dominated IU in the rebounding department, helping the Hurricanes regain the lead. The second-chance points came fast and furious for the ACC team.
The Hurricanes’ season-high in offensive rebounds was 17, which came on opening night in November vs. Lafayette. Miami had 15 offensive boards in the second half alone, and that number could have easily been larger.
The Canes re-gained their double-digit lead, and when Wong and Bensley Joseph hit consecutive threes, Miami led by 15, out of reach of the Hoosiers. Hood-Schifino ripped off 11 straight points to end the game, but Miami had far too many answers to IU’s full-court pressure. Back-to-back dunks by Miller finished off the affair, and Larrañaga’s team advanced to the Sweet 16.
Featured Image: Miami Basketball