Indiana Basketball: Hoosiers late surge falls short against Iowa

EAST LANSING, MI - FEBRUARY 02: Head coach Mark Archie Miller of the Indiana Hoosiers reacts during a game against the Michigan State Spartans in the second half at Breslin Center on February 2, 2019 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI - FEBRUARY 02: Head coach Mark Archie Miller of the Indiana Hoosiers reacts during a game against the Michigan State Spartans in the second half at Breslin Center on February 2, 2019 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Despite a late second half surge for Indiana basketball, the Hoosiers fell to Iowa on Thursday night, 77-72.

In what was an energy filled Assembly Hall Thursday night, that has been absent for weeks, the Hoosiers’ win last Saturday against Michigan State gave fans the idea that there was still hope left for a late season tournament push. However, after Iowa got off to a 9-2 lead in the opening two minutes of the game, it seemed that they were just going to return to the same behaviors that earned them a seven game losing streak.

Even though it maintained the same pattern of poor starts, this game ended up far differently than did those on the losing streak. Indiana fought through the early adversity to go on a 8-0 run over the next two minutes, and they were never out of the game from that point forward.

Romeo Langford led the Hoosiers with an efficient 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while Juwan Morgan fought foul trouble all game, finishing with 17 points in just 22 minutes.

Despite coming up short to the No. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes, 77-72, Indiana showed grit, determination, and for the first time in a long time, bright spots in the midst of a loss. Let’s break it down:

What went right:

  • Indiana faced a lot of adversity in this game. Some was self inflicted (making poor passes, miscommunicating on defense, allowing open threes, etc.), and some was just Iowa playing great and making big shots. Iowa’s Junior guard Jordan Bohannon finished the game with 25 points and 6 assists while shooting 5/8 from the 3pt line, including some ridiculous shots against strong defense. Indiana let up some open threes, which will happen in every game, but the ones that killed them were not because of lazy defense. It was just Bohannon catching fire and superseding his 10.3 PPG average.
  • The Hoosiers were able to take skilled Iowa big man Luka Garza completely out of this game. Garza, who averages 15.1 PPG (second most on the team), finished with a mere four points off of four shots. Every time the ball was entered into the post to Garza, a talented post scorer, Justin Smith came over to double team him. This perplexed the big man and forced him to make several bad passes. IU’s gameplan for Garza worked to perfection even though it didn’t result in a win.
  • Deron Davis was one of the best players on the floor tonight for Indiana. Davis proved tonight that he possesses some of the best passing vision on IU’s roster by finishing with a team-high 7 assists, the only player who seemed comfortable against Iowa’s zone. Davis is the only player that can throw an accurate pass to a backdoor cutter consistently, and this ability created a lot of great shots on possessions where IU looked dead in its tracks. (Personal note: I’d like to see more Davis/Morgan lineups in the future. Davis can defend better than Morgan, and his passing really helps this offense in ways it desperately needs.)
  • Whether they realize it or not, Indiana found its best form of offense tonight: running in transition. When they responded to a 9-2 run by Iowa in the opening two minutes, how did they do it? They ran. When they were down 62-54 in the second half at the under-eight media timeout and brought it to 63-59, how’d they do it? They ran. Hopefully the Hoosiers realize this and try to push the tempo more often in coming games. This is more plausible now that they are fully healthy and have more bodies to bring off the bench.

What went wrong

  • The discouraging part of this game is that the things that have been killing Indiana Basketball all season long continued to kill them this game: mainly allowing too many threes and turning the ball over too many times. As I said earlier, Jordan Bohannon hit some ridiculous threes that were really well guarded, but there were several times where miscommunications on pick and rolls resulted in open threes for Iowa. Evan Fitzner was the main culprit of this and was nearly unplayable the whole game due to his poor defense and awful passing. Quite honestly, Iowa should have hit more threes than they did, because they missed some wide open ones that Indiana handed to them on a silver platter. Indiana also made some careless passes which killed momentum and offensive flow. Devonte Green had four turnovers, and set the tone at times for making sloppy passes.


Despite it ending in a loss, this game was competitive throughout and showed that Indiana is still very capable of playing tournament level basketball.

The problem now is that the margin of error is extremely slim for this team the rest of the season. They desperately need wins, but when you look at the schedule, it isn’t absurd to favor Indiana in most of the remaining games.

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Hopefully Indiana learned some valuable lessons in its loss versus Iowa that it can take into the final stretch of the year and use to make one last push to reach the postseason. Hope still remains, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be with the Hoosiers supporting them every step of the way.