Indiana Daily Student

Turnovers too much for IU to overcome

Red-hot shooting and a high-octane offense can bandage most problems on the court, but on Tuesday, IU found out the hard way just how important holding onto the ball can be.

IU lost 94-74 to No. 4 Louisville despite shooting 48 percent from the field, besting the Cardinals’ 45 percent field goal percentage.

The problem? IU’s shooting percentage is calculated using 17 fewer shots. Time after time, a combination of Louisville steals and unforced errors created IU turnovers, which led to extra Cardinal possessions and the Hoosiers struggling to keep up.

That proved no truer in the opening minutes of the second half. Coming out of the break down by five, IU caught fire and scored on five-consecutive possessions to take a four-point lead.

Then the Hoosiers (7-2) committed back-to-back turnovers.

Soon after the giveaways, the Cardinals (8-0) rallied off a 12-2 run to regain a 60-54 lead with just less than 14 minutes left. That margin would remain relatively stable the rest of the game.

It was an unwelcome sight to a Hoosier team that was at times crippled by turnovers in the 2013-14 season. Giveaways cancel out extra possessions from rebounding and lead to scoring chances for opponents on the other end, something at which Louisville ranks among the best in the country at.

With IU being outrebounded by Louisville 52-34 Tuesday, that made the turnover problem nearly twice as bad. IU had so many fewer possessions that the Hoosiers were practically forced to shoot from 3-point range to keep from falling too far ?behind.

To an extent, that plan worked. A 3-point barrage helped IU cut what was a 13-point lead to just five at halftime. The Hoosiers shot 40 percent from beyond the arc and were 7-of-10 in the first half, but those came too far in between in the second half to make up for the early errors.

IU had significantly improved at limiting turnovers before playing Louisville. The Hoosiers’ roster makeover during the summer brought in a variety of shooters that allow the Hoosiers to spread the floor and create more space for junior guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell to operate the point.

“I think the difference is making easy plays,” Ferrell said earlier this season. “Coaches always harp on making the simple play.”

But the simple plays became difficult with constant pressure from Louisville’s defense. So much about breaking a press is about getting the ball inbounded and analyzing the options in front of the ball carrier — who is moving and who is left unaccounted for.

But too often, IU was moving too fast for its own good leading to the giveaways.

In the brief time that Ferrell was out of the game, IU had trouble getting the ball passed midcourt. On three consecutive possessions, IU couldn’t get the ball inbounded, let alone worry about a scoring opportunity.

IU’s 19 turnovers meant 19 chances to score were thrown away. Teams as talented as Louisville tend to make opponents pay for those types of mistakes.

It’s hard to predict what would have happened had IU not turned the ball over as many times, but IU was certainly competing.

Having wasted so many possessions with turnovers, Hoosier fans likely can’t help but ask themselves, “What if?”

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