Indiana was able to pick up their first conference win on Monday night as they defeated Iowa 77-64.
The win was a big one for the Hoosiers since they are in the midst of a brutal five game stretch. The Big Ten tourney being moved up a week caused teams to play conference games in the first week of December. The conference games in early December led to the Hoosiers playing Duke, Michigan, Iowa, Louisville, and Notre Dame over a two and a half week span. Iowa was the most winnable game in this brutal stretch, so it was imperative the Hoosiers walked away with a win last night.
Archie Miller feels that early conference games help instill a toughness into his team.
“Playing a Big Ten game here early, you get tested. You’re on the road and you’re at home. It’s kind of one of those deals where you’ve got to have that bounce-back mentality. It’s tough to do. But I like it,” said Miller.
No player has resembled that type of toughness of late better than Juwan Morgan. The junior forward struggled at the beginning of the season but has been playing very well since IU’s win over South Florida. In the last six games, Morgan is averaging 17.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 2 BPG. On Monday night, Morgan recorded a double-double and finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the contest.
The biggest difference for Morgan in the last six games has been his fearlessness and aggression. Morgan has looked to take advantage of good matchups in the post when he has gotten them in the last six games. Morgan has also done a great job of being active and following his own shot. In the last six games, Morgan is averaging 3.7 ORPG.
It will be a big boost for Archie Miller if Morgan is able to maintain this strong play going forward since he is a guy that can affect the game in so many different ways when everything is clicking for him.
Another player that has been playing well for the Hoosiers has been fifth year senior Collin Hartman. Hartman is finally starting to get closer to his old self and has played in the last four games. Part of it could be getting used to gameplay again, but Hartman isn’t moving as well as he did before the injury. However, I don’t see that as a big concern because Collin is a player that is smart enough to make up for it in other ways.
Last night, Hartman had a rough first half as he went 1-5 from the field and 1-4 from long range. Most players would be rattled by that kind of start, but it’s going to take more than some shooting struggles to rattle Hartman. In the second half, Hartman kept doing his thing and bounced back in a major way. Hartman went 3-4 from the field and knocked down both of his three point attempts. Hartman finished the contest with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Devonte Green has started five of the Hoosiers nine games this season, however, Green has come off the bench in the last three contests. In his place, IU has been starting freshman Al Durham. I like Green coming off the bench because he’s a guy that can create his own shot and spark a team’s second unit.
With around six minutes remaining in the first half, Green ignited a 14-0 IU run. During the run, Green scored 7 points and dished out one assist. Green’s energy was important because the Hoosiers looked very sluggish before he got things going. Look for Green to continue playing the role of super sub as the season moves forward.
Indiana big man De’Ron Davis didn’t have a jaw dropping game on Monday night, but he did finish with some solid numbers in the win. Davis played 18 minutes and finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Davis really did a good job of making his presence known in the paint and made it difficult for Iowa to finish at the rim.
Davis cold have finished with a much bigger game, but he missed several easy attempts close to the basket and was also plagued by more struggles at the free throw line. Davis left six points at the free throw line and was only able to convert 3-9 attempts from the charity stripe. With the way Davis is getting to the free throw line, it will be important for him to fix some of his problems at the line moving forward.
The game was a rather interesting one as it featured some major runs from both teams. For most of the first half, both teams looked far from crisp. However, Indiana closed the first half on a 18-6 run which gave them a 41-26 lead at the halftime break.
Coming out of the halftime break, Iowa was able to turn the tables on the Hoosiers and used a 15-4 run to cut the IU lead down to one. The Hoosiers would not allow Iowa to get any closer than one and used a 26-9 run of their own to put the Hawkeyes away.
When the Hoosiers were making their runs, they were doing a good job of forcing Iowa into difficult shots and taking care of the basketball. IU was able to force 18 Iowa turnovers in the game, and also did a nice job of capitalizing, scoring 22 points off Iowa turnovers. IU also limited their turnovers to ten in the contest.
It will be important for IU to show more consistency moving forward because it is tough to get away with lapses against teams like Louisville and Notre Dame.
The Hoosiers will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to the YUM Center to take on Louisville.