BLOOMINGTON, IN — The Hoosiers return home for a much needed energy boost after two difficult road tests where the Hoosiers did not come out victorious.
The two game losing streak extended to three tonight as Tim Miles’ Huskers defeated the Hoosiers 66-51. With Indiana’s signature slow start, the Assembly Hall magic was not enough to counteract the team’s performance this evening. Fans booed as they walked out of the stadium tonight.
Indiana stylistically deviated from their typical hard-nosed hustle this evening. What made Indiana successful all season, hustle and defense, did not show up this evening in Bloomington. The team did very little to contend Nebraska’s explosive offense and could barely muster up anything on the offensive side of the court. 51 points is the lowest Indiana has scored in the Archie Miller era.
Though there was a fairly packed student section, that energy from the team did not actually manifest early on. In the first 10 minutes of the game, nearly everything went in for Nebraska as they hit 4-4 before a missed three point shot. Indiana on the other hand missed nearly everything. At one point the team shot only 2 of 13.
Indiana’s best finisher Romeo Langford went 1 of 5 early.
The lone bright spot, if any, was the defensive performance of Justin Smith. He picked up two incredible athletic blocks on back to back plays. After a getting into foul trouble early last game, Justin Smith’s presence was severely missed as he was +25 points in the plus/minus category for the Maryland game. Although he finished with just two points in the first half, he added 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 blocks.
After an Isaac Copeland free throw at the 6:18 mark of the first half, Indiana turned around their performance both defensively and offensively. The Hoosiers would go on for an 11-0 run from the scoring of primarily Romeo Langford, of course. Defensively, the Hoosiers received contributions across the board including Zach McRoberts and Clifton Moore who both saw minutes tonight.
Clifton Moore for one of the first times in his Indiana career showed that he was able to put up stable minutes. In fact, he actually excelled in the minutes that he received tonight from the coaching staff. Of the players Indiana brought in from the rotation, Clifton was undeniably the most efficient this evening.
Whatever Indiana’s Archie Miller said in the locker room during halftime seemed to work. The second half began with the same starters except Rob Phinisee took the place of Al Durham. But the momentum from the end of the last half carried through. Indiana opened with a quick 7-2 run to cut into the 9 point lead that Nebraska built going into the break.
But that run would be short lived as Nebraska’s deadly shooters continued to fire on all fronts. Between James Palmer Jr., Isaac Copeland, or Glynn Watson Jr. the scoring assault did not stop. Nebraska reopened the lead by as much as 15 in the second half.
Juwan Morgan turned on in the second half, but unfortunately it was too little too lat. He finished the game with 17 points and led the team with 8 rebounds. Morgan was able to roll off called sets for emphatic dunks, but he did not have the same delicacy around the rim that fans have been used to seeing. On a night where the Hoosiers only scored 51 points, Morgan’s performance kept Indiana from being a complete blank.
The postgame press conferences featuring Juwan and Romeo from the players and Archie Miller felt somber right from the start. You can see the frustration from the entire team as tonight’s performance disappointed everyone involved. Notably both Archie and Juwan took ownership of the energy to start the game and energy throughout the game.
(Source: Indiana Athletics)
No breaks for this Indiana squad. After a quick recovery from today’s game, Indiana will be directing their attention to the Purdue Boilermakers where Indiana will face Carsen Edwards and the rest of trending upward Boilermaker team. The Hoosiers return back on the road for as hostile of environment as it gets at Mackey Arena on Saturday. Catch the game on 2:00 pm EST on FOX.