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COLUMN: Where are IU's veterans?



IU_vs_Seton_Hall_5

Junior forward Juwan Morgan rebounds the ball during the Hoosiers' game against the Seton Hall Pirates at the Prudential Center on Nov. 15 in Newark, New Jersey. Morgan scored a career-high 28 points in Wednesday's win for IU against Arkansas State.  Evan De Stefano Buy Photos

I’m officially forming a search party for Josh Newkirk, Robert Johnson and De’Ron Davis.

The senior guards, Newkirk and Johnson, and sophomore forward Davis, had a nightmare of a performance en route to a beating by No. 22 Seton Hall.

Grab a chair, clear your mind, crack open a cold one if you’d like. Let’s dive into some of IU’s struggles this season.

First, I’ll give credit where credit is due. Newkirk knocked down all three of his field goals, and Johnson did a pretty good job of driving to the basket every now and again. That’s about it, though.

The Hoosiers had the game in their grasp, cutting the Pirates’ lead down to 10 at one point in the second half. They even had a lead at one point in the first half. Then it all slipped away, and there was nothing they could do about it.

It seemed like IU needed a player, any player, to knock down a big jumper or score a crucial bucket to shift momentum. They needed a big-time play on defense and a transition bucket the other way, but it never came.

They don’t have that type of player this season, and that's the truth. 

Sophomore guard Devonte Green hit a few three-pointers to bring IU back into the game and lead a comeback. The problem is they were all made in the first half, where Green scored 12 of his 16 points. He was nearly non-existent in the second half. 

We saw the same trend against Howard on Sunday after he scored the first seven points of the game, and scored none for the remainder of the game. 

Newkirk had four turnovers and three assists against Seton Hall. To put the cherry on top, he also had a team-worst plus-minus of -21.

Johnson had a plus-minus of -19, and Davis joined the party with -9 as well. The trio of what was supposed to be IU’s core this season has not lived up to expectations so far, and nothing of what they’ve showed thus far is hinting at any change this season.

Johnson was once again caught in a bad position multiple times on Seton Hall three-pointers, and was forced to do nothing but turn around and watch them go through the hoop. Defense has been a struggling issue all season long, but fans are tired of seeing it remain a consistent problem for this team.

After scoring four points and grabbing just one rebound, Davis was called for his fifth foul, knocking him out for the rest of the game. A reminder: IU’s starting center came down with a single rebound in 15 minutes of action, and fouled out with 4:17 left in the second half.

On the flip side?

Davis’ matchup on the other side of the floor was senior forward Angel Delgado, 2017 AP All-America Honorable Mention. Oh boy, did Delgado live up to his billing.

Delgado posted a double-double, scoring 19 points, coming down with 11 rebounds and even dishing out four assists along the way.

Davis was flat-out dominated Wednesday night, and what was even worse was the fact that he got into foul trouble early on. It ended up being his demise near the end of the game.

IU has three games to try and fix its issues the best they can before a dance with the No. 1 team in the nation, Duke.

Until IU’s veterans are found though, you’re going to see the exact same performance in every big game they play in this season.

@michrami

michrami@indiana.edu

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