Indiana men’s basketball never shows up for the occasion when facing March Madness contenders.
Indiana can never keep the momentum when playing away from Bloomington. Every year, it’s the same story.
Indiana met its match against Syracuse University on Tuesday night. It was evident that Indiana was not itself, shooting 10-of-28 from the field and 3-of-12 from 3-point range in the first half.
Indiana struggled getting around the defensive zone of Syracuse, which kept it trailing until it figured out how to break it. Indiana made an effort to get senior forward Race Thompson involved, setting him up with easy shots around the basket.
Indiana did not show its typical defensive effort, allowing second chance baskets and open one-on-one opportunities from Syracuse, who took advantage. It shows how much Indiana is still learning how to defend against NCAA Tournament contenders like Syracuse .
Once again, turnovers have been a major problem for Indiana, who ended with 13 turnovers in the first half. Indiana ended the game with 25 turnovers total, which is unacceptable if it wants to beat teams like Syracuse.
Head coach Mike Woodson might need to reconsider running with the team for turnovers, because it will be hard for him to keep up. Woodson said he wants his team to limit itself to 12 turnovers each game.
The Hoosiers were complaining about calls, having careless possessions and playing with less intensity then they played with these last six games. They didn’t have any sense of urgency defending the 3-pointer Tuesday, considering the 27-point performance from Orange senior guard Buddy Boeheim.
Buddy Boeheim and his brother, graduate student forward Jimmy Boeheim, are a dangerous duo for Syracuse this year. Indiana had nothing for them as they took advantage of making game-changing shots to knock off Indiana.
The Boeheim brothers both had dominating performances to close out Indiana, however, senior forward Miller Kopp and senior guard Parker Stewart had stellar shooting performances, minimizing the 18-point lead going into the second half.
Kopp scored 25 points and was 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Parker scored 20 points to keep the Hoosiers around before fouling out. Junior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis did everything he could to provide energy throughout the game.
Jackson-Davis was another key spark leading to double-overtime, scoring 31 points and adding 16 rebounds, showing why he is an All-American talent.
Indiana showed a lot of fight to bring itself back in the game during the second half. Previous seasons would have likely been different if Indiana battled like it did Tuesday night.
Even though they lost by two, The Hoosiers have to be better with closing out games and knowing what to do in close-game situations.
The test begins for Indiana on how hard it will compete against other top teams on its schedule going forward. It will be interesting to see how Indiana can come back from this and not let Tuesday’s loss define the team.