The season ended with a thud for IU men's basketball.
After reaching the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, IU was outplayed by Georgia Tech in the first round of the NIT Tournament on Tuesday night.
Georgia Tech beat IU by a final of 75-63 to close out the Hoosiers’ disappointing season.
The Yellow Jackets were in control for most of the game. The Hoosiers led just twice — in the opening minutes of the game, and with just less than 14 minutes left in the second half.
The Hoosiers only led for 1:54 the entire game.
Following IU’s only lead of the second half, Georgia Tech ended the game on a 32-19 run, and didn't allow IU to mount a significant comeback.
“We played with much better resolve and then at the end we kind of shot ourselves in the foot with mistakes,” IU Coach Tom Crean said in his postgame radio show on WHCC-FM 105.1.
IU’s offense was ice cold out of the gate. The Hoosiers started two-of-13, but fought back with an 18-5 run to tie the game at 24 before Georgia Tech closed out the half strong.
Coming out of halftime, it looked like IU would have a chance to win the game and advance in the NIT. The Hoosiers started the half on a 12-4 run, but the Yellow Jackets began to heat up again and regained control of the game.
Junior guard Josh Newkirk brought IU within five on a three-pointer with 8:18 left in the game, but Georgia Tech’s junior guard Tadirc Johnson answered back with a three of his own. IU's deficit didn’t get any closer than eight points for the rest of the contest.
The Yellow Jackets' offense had struggled to score the ball consistently this season, but that was not the case against the Hoosiers. IU allowed Georgia Tech to shoot 48 percent and 51.7 percent in the decisive second half.
Coming into Tuesday, the Yellow Jackets were shooting 32.1 percent from three, which was 296th in the nation, but they made seven 3-pointers at a 36.8 percent clip.
Freshman guard Josh Okogie carved up IU’s defense all game long. Okogie was able to get into the paint for easy shots the whole game and finished with 24 points.
Okogie wasn’t the only Yellow Jacket to have a strong game offensively as Jackson had 19 points and senior forward Quinton Stephens had 16 points while making four threes.
Georgia Tech’s offense put an end to IU’s season. After the game, Crean lamented the fact that no one on his team was able to take control out on the court all season long.
“Frankly with the lack of someone that just took the mantle of leadership on the court, but that was our issue all year,” Crean said. “Right now, the resolve has got to be, ‘Ok, am I going to accept what I didn’t do and am I going to do something about it?’”
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