When Archie Miller was hired as IU men's basketball head coach, he was tasked with bringing toughness to the IU program.
Against No. 1 Duke, IU showed the beginning signs of a new toughness as the Hoosiers hung with the talented Blue Devils until late in the game. Like in Duke’s two previous games, the Blue Devils pulled away late to take a 91-81 victory Wednesday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The Hoosiers frontcourt battled with the Blue Devils all game long, but Duke’s scoring prowess proved to be too much to handle late in the game.
With sophomore forward De’Ron Davis sitting most of the first half due to foul trouble, IU was still able to hang tough with Duke. Behind senior forwards Collin Hartman and Freddie McSwain Jr, along with junior forward Juwan Morgan, IU kept the game within reach and even had the lead.
Offensively, IU moved the ball with precision and didn’t turn the ball over until late in the first half. Senior guard Josh Newkirk led the way with eight first-half points.
When Duke went into a zone defense late in the first half, IU’s offense struggled, and it looked like Duke would get a cushion going into halftime. The Hoosiers went over five minutes without a basket until senior guard Robert Johnson hit a 3-pointer to stem the tide.
Duke went into the half with a four-point lead.
To start the second half, Duke pushed the lead out to 10 until IU freshman guard Al Durham hit a 3-pointer to stop the bleeding. Proceeding to go on a 19-7 run, the Hoosiers retook the lead after Hartman had five quick points off the bench for IU.
IU raced out to a four-point lead in the second half as its offense shredded Duke inside the entire half. Duke answered back, and the game was tied at 69 until two easy dunks by Morgan and Davis gave IU a four-point lead.
Duke went on a 5-0 run to regain the lead with just under six minutes left in the game. After a put back by Hartman with 5:26 left, IU led by one, but that was the last basket IU would score. Duke would never trail again as the Blue Devils stretched the lead out late in the game behind strong offense and a long drought without a basket for the Hoosiers.
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IU’s season ended with a loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Hoosiers finished the season 21-13 overall.
IU is now 5-13 on the season.