BLOOMINGTON, IN – Assembly Hall once again was able to be packed with many fans as the Indiana Hoosiers looked to defeat Greg Marshall’s Wichita State Shockers for a chance to play in Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, IU fell short 73-63, effectively ending their season and IU standout senior Juwan Morgan’s fantastic journey with the Hoosiers.
The Hoosiers could not keep up with Wichita State’s offensive firepower, shooting against a tough Shockers defense. Gregg Marshall’s stylistic defense that openly invites players into the lane to meet a “final boss” such as 6’11” Jaime Echenique and 7’0″ Asbjorn Midtgaard. Wichita State sweeps #3 Furman, #2 Clemson, and now #1 Indiana and get a chance claim the 2019 NIT banner in the big apple.
The first half was disappointing for the Hoosiers, ending with a 7-point deficit and only putting up 29 points. Markis McDuffie led the Shockers with 16 points and hit 3 of his 5 three pointers. Juwan Morgan led the Hoosiers’ struggling offense with 11 points while playing 19 of 20 minutes. Al Durham also played 19 minutes and was second in scoring.
Interestingly enough, even though both teams turned it over about the same amount, the Shockers had the lead. It simply came down to the fact that IU was missing its shots, while Wichita State was hitting them. For the Hoosiers, NIT hero Devonte Green only had 4 points and uncharacteristically didn’t hit any three pointers.
To begin the second half, both teams went back and forth until the under-16 timeout, which occurred later near the 14 minute mark due to a Devonte Green lower leg injury. Juwan Morgan continued scoring, hitting shots inside and outside. However, the Shockers held the lead through the skilled play of Markis McDuffie.
At about the 12-minute mark, Durham and Morgan each logged 27 minutes, which is interesting to note because coach Archie Miller typically likes to rotate De’Ron Davis, Race Thompson, and Evan Fitzner into the game. After looking like he was suffering from a lower leg cramp, Devonte Green reloaded and reappeared onto the court with just under 10 minutes left and hit a critical, deep three-pointer to close the deficit.
Even though the Hoosiers kept closing the deficit to as little as a single point, they still couldn’t tie the game or take the lead at the 7-minute mark and unfortunately, for the rest of the game. Wichita State took advantage and extended its lead through a Dexter Dennis three. IU still didn’t give in and continued to fight and cut the deficit yet couldn’t breakthrough.
Dexter Dennis continued to shock the Hoosiers from deep and with about two minutes left, extended the lead to 8 points, which felt like the dagger through IU’s 2018-2019 basketball season. In the final four minutes, Wichita State continued to hit key shots from their key players McDuffie, Dennis, and Haynes-Jones.
IU failed to tie or take the lead in the second half, even when having ample opportunities to do so. The Shockers’ leading scorer was McDuffie, with 21 points off 7-17 shooting. The Hoosiers’ were led by Morgan, who put up 21 points off 8-15 shooting.
Source: IU Athletics
The Long Off-season
This game concluded the wild ride which was the 2018-2019 IU Men’s Basketball Season. Even though the Hoosiers didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, it was still a great journey, whether it was looking at the skill of Romeo Langford, enjoying Robert Phinisee’s lock-down defense and growth as a freshman, or laughing at coach Izzo fuming at the referees.
One thing is for sure, which is that we all look forward to what the team does in the off-season regarding recruiting and player development. Now, we are onto Season #120 for the Indiana Hoosiers in the 2019-2020 campaign.