Three Takeaways from tough road loss to Illinois

Malik Reneau scored 21 points in a losing effort at Champaign

Indiana's Xavier Johnson (0) and Malik Reneau (5) slap hands during the first half of the Indiana game.
Indiana's Xavier Johnson (0) and Malik Reneau (5) slap hands during the first half of the Indiana game. / Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY
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Indiana Hoosier's Men's basketball.
Indiana's Xavier Johnson (0) shoots during the first half of the Indiana versus Purdue men's basketball. / Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY

There are no moral victories, but...

Indiana men's basketball played better on the road this afternoon. Guard Xavier Johnson had his best game since returning from injury. After scoring 12 points in his last four games, he had 14 points and four rebounds against Illinois. This afternoon almost erased the sophomoric technical foul he committed against Ohio State.

Defensively, the Hoosiers were active and did a much better job defending the three point shot. Illinois did make some timely three pointers they were held about five percent below their season average for three-point shots made.

Despite not having Kel'el Ware, Indiana's interior defense was solid. The Hoosiers held Illinois under 40 percent shooting from the field and outscored them in the paint 46-30. Indiana allowed themselves to win the game late but could not close the deal. The Hoosiers needed to win this game to keep pace in the Big Ten, but Mike Woodson and the Hoosiers' coaching staff must be encouraged by how they played today.

Indiana did not have arguably its best player, and it struggled to score when Reneau fouled out of the game. The effort was there and Woodson has not lost this team; they simply came up short this afternoon.