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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Star efforts wasted as turnovers doom No. 15 Indiana men’s basketball against Northwestern

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Indiana men’s basketball couldn’t hold on to the ball.  

That was the difference in No. 15 Indiana’s 84-83 loss to Northwestern on Sunday: 16 turnovers leading to 25 Northwestern points. The Wildcats used the extra possessions to jump on Indiana early, taking a 17-point lead in the first half that remained in double-digits nearly the entire game until the last two minutes.  

Despite a flurry of scoring in a last-minute bid for a comeback, its own errors doomed Indiana to yet another Big Ten loss. 

“It ain't rocket science,” head coach Mike Woodson said after the game. “You've got to work harder. Nobody is just going to hand-deliver you wins. We've got to go earn a win.” 

Senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis and freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino did as much as they could to buoy Indiana, each producing superhuman efforts in attempts to reinvigorate the offense. 

Jackson-Davis was on triple-double watch in the first half, something quickly becoming the norm against Big Ten opponents in Assembly Hall. He finished the game with 18 points and eight assists, and his 24 rebounds were the eighth-highest total in program history. 

Hood-Schifino continued his emergence as an offensive star for the Hoosiers, putting up a season-high 33 points, the most for a freshman at Indiana since Eric Gordon scored 33 in his debut in 2007. It’s the fourth straight game Hood-Schifino has set a career-best in scoring. 

Outside of those two, Indiana was helpless. Down senior forward Race Thompson and senior guard Xavier Johnson, both out indefinitely with injuries, the Hoosiers struggled to find anyone able to replicate their production on either side of the ball. 

“Xavier Johnson and Race Thompson are sitting on the sideline,” Woodson said. “That's why we're struggling a little bit defensively. We've got two starters that are sitting on the sideline, and I'm reaching trying to figure out who's going to replace that.” 

With a scramble to fill in the lineup, Geronimo started in Thompson’s place and was a nonfactor, going scoreless with 10 minutes played, only one of which came in the second half.  

Bates — who replaced Johnson for the second straight game — was slightly better, scoring nine points in 26 minutes. Johnson’s absence also leaves Hood-Schifino as the primary ball handler, and while his scoring reached a new level, he struggled to distribute the ball, turning it over six times compared to just three assists. 

“Just got to stop turning the ball over,” Hood-Schifino said. “There's not really too much you can do. I think first half, that killed us, especially with me. I had some turnovers, and they had some layups and everything and converted off it.” 

By the time Indiana’s offense woke up late in the second half, it was too late. The Hoosiers’ early second half foul trouble caught up with them, placing the Wildcats at the line 26 times in the second half.  

Northwestern’s last basket came with 4:24 remaining, but as its 13-point lead shriveled amid a late and furious Indiana comeback, the Wildcats made eight straight free throws to escape with the victory. 

Indiana’s last effort came on a half-court heave at the buzzer from junior guard Trey Galloway, banking the shot in to cut the Northwestern lead to just one point. 

The ironic end to the game, with big plays arriving far too late for the Hoosiers, came as they sank to 1-3 in the Big Ten. They will look to right the ship at 7 p.m. Wednesday night when they travel to take on Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania. 

“Nobody is going to feel sorry for the Indiana Hoosiers,” Woodson said. “Yes, we've got two key guys that are sitting on the bench not in uniform, but we've got other guys that are in uniform that have got to step up and play.” 

Follow reporters Evan Gerike (@EvanGerike) and Emma Pawlitz (@emmapawlitz) and columnist Bradley Hohulin (@BradleyHohulin) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season.
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