Junior guard Devonte Green used a screen from senior forward Juwan Morgan to free himself up and take a 3-pointer early in the shot clock.
The shot clanked off the back of the rim, and IU Head Coach Archie Miller, sitting on a stool in Williams Arena’s elevated court, threw his hands up in disbelief at Green’s decision.
The Hoosiers were down 16 at the time — if that shot falls, the deficit shortens to 13, or if IU runs a smooth possession, maybe 14, with 14:34 remaining in the second half.
Instead, the missed shot resulted in an open 3-pointer from Minnesota’s freshman guard Gabe Kalscheur to extend its lead to 19 points.
From there, IU looked out of it for good as Minnesota went on to win 84-63.
Coming into the game, the Gophers had the worst 3-point shooting percentage in the Big Ten at 31 percent. IU wasn’t much better in 11th place at 33 percent, but the way this game went looked the complete opposite for Minnesota, who finished 12-of-22 from beyond the arc, good for 54 percent.
IU shot 2-of-17 from deep, just 11 percent.
The Hoosiers went with a different starting five in this game as well, subbing Green in for freshman guard Rob Phinisee, who was sick this week with an upper respiratory infection. Junior forward De’Ron Davis replaced sophomore forward Justin Smith in the lineup to help contain Minnesota’s big men.
The new starting five appeared promising in the game's first few minutes. The Hoosiers’ offense looked coherent by running things through Davis and Morgan in the post. IU was in the lead, 6-5, until Minnesota’s 3-point barrage came pouring down and IU found itself trailing 21-11.
When the Gophers’ threes finally began to slow down, the Hoosiers had a new but expected problem in senior forward Jordan Murphy.
Before the game, Minnesota Coach Richard Pitino said he wanted his team to play mad, and Murphy aggressively dominated IU in the paint, finishing with 23 points and 11 rebounds, which is his 18th double-double this season.
IU had little to no answer for Murphy but crept itself to within five points with 4:22 left in the first half. After that, the same inconsistency that has plagued IU all season set in and Minnesota ended the half on a 12-5 run to take a 12-point lead into halftime.
Green said after the team’s 55-52 loss to Ohio State on Feb. 10 that there’s a sense of urgency. Down 12 on the road to start the second half at “The Barn,” and the Hoosiers showed no sense of urgency, getting outscored 42-33 while dropping 10 of its last 11 games.
Morgan led the Hoosiers in scoring with 14 points and also finished with eight rebounds and four blocks in his 28 minutes played. But even his performance seemed quiet, as much of the game IU looked to have no chance for a comeback.
Much of the bracketology in the days leading up to Saturday’s game had IU on the right side of the NCAA Tournament. Now, the win at then-No. 6 Michigan State seems like ancient history as IU has dropped three straight since then. That momentum is gone, but IU — 13-12 overall and 4-10 in the Big Ten — has six games remaining with four coming against ranked opponents in which it can keep its name in the discussion to be playing in late March.
The first of those six comes Tuesday night in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall when the Hoosiers welcome the No. 12 Purdue Boilermakers.
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