Indiana Daily Student

IU men's basketball struggles to combat chaotic road environment of Cameron Indoor Stadium

<p>Duke University’s Blue Devil mascot rallies the student section before Dukes game against IU on Nov. 27 at the Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Duke defeated IU, 90-69.</p>

Duke University’s Blue Devil mascot rallies the student section before Dukes game against IU on Nov. 27 at the Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Duke defeated IU, 90-69.

DURHAM, N.C. — From the exterior, it blends into the rest of the Collegiate Gothic architecture style that fills the West Campus of Duke University.

Renovations have dragged Cameron Indoor Stadium into modern times. There's a new television and radio section, known as the crow's nest, as well as digital advertising boards and a small video scoreboard hanging above center court.

After criss-crossing the West Campus quadrangles and entering the nondescript arena, one enters at court level to experience best home court advantage in major college basketball.

The numbers support it.

Duke has not lost a home nonconference game since 2000, and the past three years have seen the Blue Devils compose a home record of 33-2.


Duke University students cheer for freshman forward Zion Williamson after he scores against IU on Nov. 27 at the Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Duke defeated IU, 90-69.


During Tuesday night's 90-69 road loss in Durham, IU felt the full effect of not only Duke's talented freshman class, but also the crowded, ear drum-splitting atmosphere inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.

IU Coach Archie Miller admitted as much following the game, while also saying his team needs to quickly refocus with two Big Ten Conference games on the schedule in the next five days.

"It's an environment game," Miller said. "Obviously it's a tough place to play. So I think at some point and time give their crowd a little bit of credit."

The 9,314-seat arena was at capacity for the primetime matchup. As usual, thousands of Duke students could be found before the game tossing frisbees, sitting inside tents and even working on their laptops doing homework assignments in Krzyzewskiville, a grass-filled area outside the arena named after Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Those same students filled their standing-room only seats on the perimeter of the court for the 9:30 p.m. start. They worked, seemingly in unison, with Duke's pressing defense to rattle IU's offense as Duke opened up a 14-point lead in the game's first nine minutes.

"The crowd did have a part of it," sophomore guard Al Durham said. "It's a big crowd. This is a tough place to play obviously. It is what it is."

Fortunately for the Hoosiers, there are few environments left on their schedule this season that are set to be as difficult.

Chaotic timeout activities are nothing new to IU players given the some traditions at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, but the tight, compact nature of Cameron Indoor Stadium further intensified with each routine by Duke's Dancing Devils and appearance by the Duke Blue Devil mascot.

He even showed up on press row, playfully writing notes to reporters and messing with their laptop screens.


Duke University’s Blue Devil wears a “The Indiana LOSERS” sign taped to his head during IU's game against Duke on Nov. 27 at the Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Duke defeated IU, 90-69.


Senior forward Juwan Morgan's concerns were related to the screens the Hoosiers had to fight through, most of the time unsuccessfully, on defense during a sluggish first-half performance.

Crowd noise helped contribute to the communication issues experienced by Miller's team, but Morgan said games like Tuesday's can still be useful over the course of a season.

"We weren't really together, the group, some of the time," Morgan said. "As we go forward, we'll remember this, but nobody will really remember this, as we get closer to March."


Duke University student holds up a “Hoosiers losers” sign during IU's game against Duke on Nov. 27 at the Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Duke defeated IU, 90-69. Anna Tiplick


Morgan, along with Durham and Miller, acknowledged IU is better off for having played the game and gone through the fabled experience of taking on Duke in their intimidating home environment. But, IU's senior leader also noted the importance of recognizing when things are falling apart on the court due to the factors outside of it.

"I think as we go through this adversity, that's the time when you have to come together," Morgan said. "It's not when you are up by 30 in a blowout win. You have to come together when you're down 15 early in the game. That's the time when it really matters."

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