BLOOMINGTON – IU’s forward momentum after a win at Michigan State evaporated Sunday, in a second-consecutive Big Ten loss.
This one, a 55-52 heartbreaker at the hands of Ohio State, saw Indiana (13-11, 4-9) backslide badly on offense, and probably fall out of the NCAA tournament picture altogether. Here are three reasons why:
IU’s two-game offensive turnaround did not extend to three Sunday, against an above-average Ohio State team.
The Hoosiers scored just 21 points in the first half, shot 39.6 percent from the field overall and made only 6-of-20 3s. Romeo Langford struggled to engage all afternoon. Juwan Morgan didn’t score until nearly 25 minutes had passed. Indiana actually defended admirably against the Buckeyes, and forced 15 turnovers. But it made precious little difference when the Hoosiers simply could not manufacture any consistent offense when they had the ball. IU’s Michigan State and Iowa performances were nowhere to be found in the Hoosiers’ ugly afternoon against Ohio State.
Indiana’s Juwan Morgan, middle, battles for the ball against Ohio State’s Kyle Young, left, and C.J. Jackson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) (Photo: Darron Cummings, AP)
It was hardly all down to Langford and Morgan that they struggled to get going. And Langford was still the Hoosiers’ leading scorer at halftime (with five points). But for all the hand wringing about Indiana’s supporting cast – and it didn’t have a good day Sunday – the Hoosiers just couldn’t afford such quiet afternoons from their best players.
Langford finished with 15 and struggled to engage against another Big Ten team happy to clog the lane and force him to shoot jumpers. Morgan couldn’t take advantage of Ohio State leading scorer Kaleb Wesson’s early foul trouble, the IU senior battling double teams all game. He scored just three points.
A lot wasn’t right for Indiana on Sunday, starting at the top and working its way down.
Sunday’s loss probably put an end to Indiana’s realistic NCAA tournament hopes, barring an unlikely run to the conference tournament title next March.
Indiana’s win in East Lansing breathed momentary life into the Hoosiers’ postseason outlook, after January’s seven-game losing streak. But back-to-back losses at home – losses, it should be said, IU had every chance to fashion into wins – have killed that momentum, and barring an unbeaten end to the season, it’s hard to see Miller’s team in the NCAA picture any longer.
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman. OHIO ST. 55, INDIANA 52
OHIO ST. (16-7) – A.Wesson 7-11 0-0 15, K.Wesson 5-9 0-2 10, Jackson 4-10 0-0 10, Muhammad 3-10 1-2 9, Jallow 0-2 0-0 0, Young 1-3 1-2 3, Ahrens 0-0 0-0 0, LeDee 0-0 0-0 0, Washington 2-4 0-0 6, Woods 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 23-52 2-6 55.
INDIANA (13-11) – Smith 4-8 0-1 8, Morgan 1-7 1-2 3, Phinisee 2-9 1-2 5, Langford 6-13 0-0 15, Durham 1-2 0-0 2, Fitzner 1-2 0-0 3, Davis 3-4 0-0 6, Anderson …read more
Source:: Daily times