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Men's basketball unable to overcome slow start against Michigan



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Junior forward Juwan Morgan dunks the ball against Arkansas State on Nov. 22 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Morgan had 24 points, a career-high for him in Big Ten play, Saturday in IU's loss at Michigan. Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

After nearly defeating No. 1 Duke on Wednesday night, IU traveled to Michigan for both teams' Big Ten Conference opener Saturday afternoon.

IU was unable to overcome a slow start, and Michigan defeated IU 69-55, dropping IU to 4-4 on the season. 

In the opening minutes Saturday, the Wolverines ripped off a 12-2 run to begin the game. All four of Michigan’s opening field goals were three-point shots as the Wolverines’ offense was aided by early IU turnovers. 

In the first half, IU had nine turnovers, and it took nearly eight minutes for IU to hit its first field goal. This poor opening stretch allowed Michigan to control the game for the entire 40 minutes. 

“Can’t go on the road and play the first 10 minutes of the game with four points,” IU Coach Archie Miller told reporters. “Didn’t move the ball, dribbled the ball way too much and you saw a lot of errors.”

IU’s offense in the first half struggled in every way. The Hoosiers relied on long two-point shots all game long. In the first half, IU didn’t make a single three-point attempt, while Michigan made six threes. IU only attempted one three-pointer in the first half. 

Michigan’s offense went cold late in the first half, but IU wasn’t able to capitalize as the Hoosiers failed to make a field goal in the last 3:22 of the half. Michigan entered halftime with a 13-point lead. 

Early in the second half, IU went on a 12-1 run to whittle Michigan’s lead down to five points. This offensive barrage came thanks to two key plays by senior guard Josh Newkirk, who hit IU’s first three of the game, and junior forward Juwan Morgan, who had a three-point play during this run. 

Morgan finished the game with 24 points, a career-high for him in Big Ten play. 

“He was the one bright spot I think in the game,” Miller said. “He really battled. He was on the boards.” 

However, this was the closest IU would get in the second half as Michigan answered back with an 8-0 run to regain control. Michigan’s hot start and its three-point shooting proved to be the major difference. Michigan made 11 threes while IU only made two in the game.

“They got good looks because our offense let them get out in transition,” Miller said. “If you put Michigan in transition 70 percent of the time, you’re going to give up threes.”

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