Indiana Basketball: Hoosiers get just enough offense to beat Northwestern at home

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Armaan Franklin, Indiana basketball. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Armaan Franklin, Indiana basketball. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Indiana basketball team seemed destined for a bad home loss to Northwestern on Wednesday, but a late run helped the Hoosiers pull out a much-needed win.

The Hoosiers came into Wednesday’s game searching for answers on both sides of the ball. Through the first 12 minutes of the game, it looked like at least for one night they had them answered. They led 27-19 with just over eight minutes left in the first half and looked ready to run away with the game.

Unfortunately for Indiana fans, the Hoosiers decided to go into one of their huge offensive slumps and proceeded to only score four points the rest of the half to head into half time down 34-31. It was a sight all too familiar for the Hoosier faithful, except lately this stretch had happened in the second half.

In the Hoosiers’ previous three games, they had played horrible offense in the second half. They were lucky enough to come away with a win against Notre Dame, but they blew a big lead to Arkansas, and a semi-close game against Maryland turned into a blowout in the second half this past weekend.

It looked like much of the same was going to happen again Wednesday night as the Hoosiers only scored nine points in the first ten minutes of the second half and trailed 50-40. The Wildcats looked like they had taken control of the game, but then the Hoosiers finally came to life.

Led by a much better defensive effort, Indiana would hold Northwestern scoreless for nearly seven minutes to get back into the game. The Hoosiers would outscore them 10-0 during that stretch to tie the game at 50.

Northwestern, though, would score on their next four possessions to take back a five-point lead at 59-54. Justin Smith then had a big tip-in off a miss and a big three-point play on the next time down the court to go on a personal 5-0 run to tie the game back at 59. Trayce Jackson-Davis would hit two free throws to finally give the Hoosiers back the lead for the first time since late in the first half.

An alley-oop to Jackson-Davis on the next possession would bring the crowd to its feet and give the Hoosiers a 63-59 lead. Northwestern’s AJ Turner would break the 9-0 run by the Hoosiers with a free throw, but he would miss the second one and the lead would stay at three for Indiana.

The Hoosiers had a shot clock violation on the ensuing possession and the Wildcats would get the ball back with 29 seconds left and a chance to tie. Pete Nance would get a look from three but he missed it off the rim and a rebound by Jackson-Davis would lead to a foul with 10 seconds left. He would make one of two free throws to put the Hoosiers up four.

Ryan Young would hit a layup with 1.5 seconds left to cut the lead to two, but Al Durham would hit both his free throws after being fouled to salt the game away. The Hoosiers would win the game 66-62 and pick up a win they had to have.

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The Hoosiers were led by Jackson-Davis who scored 21 points and Joey Brunk with 12 rebounds. The big difference for Indiana was they hit 23 free throws compared to just eight by the Wildcats. Justin Smith chipped in 18 points and six rebounds while Al Durham added 16 on 11-of-12 from the free throw line.

Indiana is still left with a lot of questions, but they at least escaped with a win. When the Hoosiers decided to play defense they were able to shut down a bad Northwestern team, but it seemed like they were completely focused the whole game. It is something Archie Miller will have to work on if the Hoosiers want to continue to win in the Big Ten this year.