NEW YORK – IU salvaged a win from the Empire Classic for its trouble Monday, defeating Louisville 74-66. Here are three reasons why:
For the second time in as many nights, Indiana’s bigs got in foul trouble. This time, their bench picked the Hoosiers up.
Malik Reneau, so good against UConn, could not stay on the floor against Louisville. He had foul trouble in the first half and almost immediately again in the second, with Kel’el Ware joining him on the bench with three early in the second half.
But this time, reserves picked up the slack. Anthony Walker scored a team-high nine first-half points. Kaleb Banks and CJ Gunn gave the Hoosiers good energy off the bench. Smaller lineups made keeping Louisville’s quicker players in front easier defensively.
In truth, Indiana probably should’ve led by more than the five it did at the intermission, but the Hoosiers had their bench to thank for their advantage nonetheless.
IU vs. Louisville player ratings: Starters stumble, freshmen disappear, but bench saves day
Abysmal from 3
There is just no way to sugarcoat how desperately ineffective Indiana has been from behind the 3-point line so far this season, Monday’s game underscoring the extremity of the problem.
The Hoosiers shot 1-of-11 from behind the arc Monday, a scraping of the bottom of the barrel for a team already touching it. Louisville came into this game making just a shade over 30% of its 3s, and still outscored IU by 12 from the arc.
There’s no dressing this up as anything other than a crisis for Indiana. Virtually never at any point since its introduction has a team been able to neglect the 3-point line so completely and still be successful. The Hoosiers are wearing a 50-pound weight around their shoulders right now.
Zone turns it around
Mike Woodson suggested in a sitdown interview with IndyStar he might consider some zone this season, such was the extent of his team’s length.
On Monday, desperate for something to work, he pulled it out. And it did.
The Hoosiers threw a 2-3 at Louisville with less than eight minutes left in the second half. Trailing by seven with the game drifting away, Woodson pulled an unexpected and, for him, unorthodox card from his deck and laid it on the table. It proved his ace.
Indiana closed the game on a 22-6 run, overturning Louisville’s advantage as the Cardinals suddenly couldn’t break IU down into the lane and draw the fouls that had been their best offense. The Hoosiers used that momentum to finish the game on their pivotal run, escaping with a win and finishing their New York swing 1-1.
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.
Indiana basketball stats vs. Louisville
Indiana 74, Louisville 66
INDIANA (4-1): Mgbako 2-5 0-0 4, Reneau 3-5 6-6 12, Ware 5-11 2-3 12, Galloway 1-7 0-0 2, X.Johnson 2-4 9-12 14, Banks 1-2 2-4 4, Walker 3-7 5-5 11, Gunn 3-7 0-0 6, Sparks 4-5 1-4 9, Cupps 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-53 25-34 74.
LOUISVILLE (2-3): Huntley-Hatfield 3-9 0-0 6, Evans 0-0 0-0 0, Clark 5-15 7-9 19, White 3-9 3-6 10, James 2-6 4-4 8, Traynor 3-6 2-4 9, T.Johnson 1-5 4-4 6, Glenn 2-3 1-2 5, Williams 1-3 0-0 3, Payne 0-0 0-0 0, Jovanovich 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-56 21-29 66.
Halftime—Indiana 34-29. 3-Point Goals_Indiana 1-11 (X.Johnson 1-1, Reneau 0-1, Walker 0-2, Mgbako 0-3, Galloway 0-4), Louisville 5-19 (Clark 2-9, Traynor 1-2, Williams 1-2, White 1-3, T.Johnson 0-1, James 0-2). Fouled Out_T.Johnson. Rebounds_Indiana 38 (Banks 8), Louisville 30 (Huntley-Hatfield 9). Assists_Indiana 18 (X.Johnson 5), Louisville 9 (T.Johnson 4). Total Fouls_Indiana 18, Louisville 23.