After a gritty 62-60 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2019 Crossroads Classic, the Indiana Hoosiers wanted to extend their winning streak to four when the Arkansas Razorbacks visited Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on December 29.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
A low-scoring second half and poor free throw shooting (nine of 18 overall) did the Cream and Crimson in. The Razorbacks prevailed on the road, 71-64.
Arkansas wasn’t a pushover heading into its showdown against Indiana. The former had won 10 of its first 11 games. The Razorbacks featured junior guard Mason Jones, whose 19.5 points per game average is 40th in the nation. Arkansas also has deadeye shooter Isaiah Joe, a sophomore guard.
Both players lived up to expectations. The duo combined for 10 three-pointers (Joe drained six while Jones made four) in a perimeter-oriented attack which IU couldn’t contain. The Razorbacks waxed hot when it mattered most, making eight of 17 three-point attempts in the second half.
For their part, the Hoosiers had a 38-33 lead at halftime. Prized freshman recruit Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 16 of his team-high 20 points in the first half.
Jackson-Davis just couldn’t sustain his momentum in the game’s final 20 minutes. Arkansas head men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman wanted to limit his touches in the end game. He also wanted the Hoosiers to beat the Razorbacks from the perimeter. The ploy worked beautifully – the Hoosiers scored just three points in the final eight minutes. That spelled the difference.
Joe led all scorers with 24 points. Jones had 21 points, six rebounds, and six assists for Arkansas. Senior guard Devonte Green was the only other IU player to score in double digits with 14. Center Joey Brunk scored eight points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Indiana.
Hoosiers Lose Big to Maryland on the Road
The Indiana Hoosiers were hoping their perimeter shooting would carry them past their Big Ten Conference rivals, the Maryland Terrapins (11-2). It didn’t materialize.
IU shot a paltry 36.1 percent from the field (including an abysmal four of 18 from the three-point area) in a 75-59 loss to the Terrapins at Xfinity Center on January 4. The Hoosiers also turned the ball over 14 times which resulted in 25 points for the opposition.
The Hoosiers got off to a strong start. They led 16-11 after Green knocked down a triple. Maryland came roaring back with 11 unanswered points to lead by six, 22-16.
Sophomore guard Aaron Wiggins’ three-pointer from the left wing gave the Terrapins a 27-20 lead with 1:52 remaining in the first half. Maryland led at the break, 28-20. IU made just eight of 30 shots from the field. The Hoosiers made just one of seven three-point attempts.
Wiggins’ dunk put Maryland up by 11 at the 18:42 mark of the second half. Trayce Jackson-Davis and Justin Smith scored the Hoosiers’ next five points to trim the deficit to six. Joey Brunk’s layup put IU within three at 36-33 three minutes later.
Unfortunately, that’s the closest the Hoosiers would get the rest of the way.
The Terrapins went on a decisive 21-5 run midway through the second half to pull away. Maryland led by as many as 30 points after sophomore guard Ayala made two free throws with 3:44 left to play. Although the Hoosiers outscored the Terrapins 18-4 in the game’s closing moments, it was too little, too late.
Maryland’s balanced scoring attack made all the difference. Four players scored in double digits. Sophomore forward Jalen Smith led all scorers with 19 points. Wiggins and Anthony Cowan, Jr. both scored 13 points while Darryl Morsel chipped in with 12 points.
Senior guard Devonte Green was the only IU player who scored in double digits. He finished with 18 points on six-of-13 shooting (including three-of-seven from three-point range). Brunk had nine points and 10 rebounds for the Hoosiers.
Indiana Seeks to End Two-Game Skid as Hoosiers Odds Trend up Against Northwestern Wildcats
The Indiana Hoosiers (11-3) seek to end a two-game skid when they take on their Big Ten Conference rivals, the Northwestern Wildcats (5-7), at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on January 8. IU is also gunning for its second win in conference play this season.
Freshman power forward Trayce Jackson-Davis aims to regain his swagger against the Wildcats. He struggled mightily in the Hoosiers’ 75-59 loss to the Maryland Terrapins on January 4.
Jackson-Davis, who averages 14.8 points, scored just seven points on three-of-eight shooting against Maryland. He also scored just four points in the second half of IU’s 71-64 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks on December 29. Jackson-Davis should have an easier time against the 5-7 Wildcats, who are 0-2 in conference play this season.
On the other hand, freshman forward Miller Kopp leads all Northwestern scorers with a 12.6 points-per-game scoring average. Ryan Young (10.8 ppg), Boo Buie (10.8 ppg), and Pete Nance (10.6 ppg) should also make their presence felt against the Hoosiers.
Hoosiers odds, Hoosiers over/under, and Hoosiers moneyline should favor IU because of its better record. Indiana’s shooting went south in its last two losses. Head men’s basketball coach Archie Miller and Co. hope things will improve against Northwestern.