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Comparing familiar nights at Cameron Indoor Stadium for Indiana basketball

Indiana was dominated from start to finish Tuesday night against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Archie Miller during IU’s game vs. Marquette. (Josh Eastern/HN)

The Hoosiers turned the ball over too many times, fouled too many times, and didn’t grab enough of the 50-50 balls to hang around with the No. 3 team in the country.

For most Indiana fans, it may have felt like déjà vu. But think back to December 2, 2015, Indiana’s last trip to Cameron Indoor. The Hoosiers hung around in a first-half shootout, but were ultimately blown out in an embarrassing loss against then No. 7 Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Even though Indiana’s only seven games into the 2018-19 season, there are many similarities to be drawn between these two Duke games and these two seasons.

Foul Trouble

Everyone knew that if Juwan Morgan got in foul trouble against Duke, the Hoosiers would be in trouble. That proved to be true Tuesday night as Morgan picked up his second foul just 3:54 into the game. He would play intermittently later in the half, but only totaled eight minutes on the floor for the Hoosiers, who found themselves down 24 at halftime.

However, Morgan wasn’t the only Hoosier who dealt with foul trouble in the first frame. De’Ron Davis came off the bench to replace Morgan, but he picked up two fouls and was forced to sit down on the bench with 12:53 to play, just over three minutes after Morgan had picked up his second foul. This left Indiana thin in the frontcourt and forced IU coach Archie Miller to play both at times with their two fouls.

It was much of the same in the 2015 episode, where Troy Williams picked up his second foul at the 11:24 mark of the first half. He didn’t stop there. When he returned to the game, he picked up another foul and went to the locker room with three personal fouls at halftime.

Max Bielfeldt spelled Troy Williams when he got into foul trouble. However, at the 5:07 mark of the first half, he too picked up his second foul and was forced to sit almost until the end of the half. That left the Hoosiers extremely thin at the forward position, a lot like Tuesday night’s dilemma for Miller.

Struggling Stars

Romeo Langford had an opportunity Tuesday night to showcase his skills in front of national audience against some of the projected top picks in next year’s NBA draft. However, whether it be his shot selection, the defense, or his lack of help, Langford struggled.

In the first half, Langford scored eight points on 3-of-10 shooting. In the second half, he went on to miss all five of his shots and made some free throws to finish with 13 points. Langford was the only Hoosier to play more than 27 minutes, logging 35 in the loss.

In 2015, Yogi Ferrell was the senior leader of the team and James Blackmon Jr. was the young star. However, neither shot the ball well against Duke, combining to shoot 11-of-28 from the floor and 2-of-9 from beyond the arc.

Ferrell finished the night 6-of-16 and 1-of-4 from the three-point line. He ended the night with 15 points and, like Langford, played the most minutes of any Hoosier by eight, logging 36 minutes.

Blackmon played 28 minutes and finished 5-of-12 and 1-of-4 from the three-point line. He racked up 14 points but wasn’t as efficient as Indiana needed him to be to keep pace with Duke.

Duke Shot the Ball Well

In both seasons, Coach K had a very talented Duke team. This past Tuesday it was a showcase for the talented freshman, specifically Zion Williamson, who finished 11-of-15 for 25 points and six rebounds, adding some monstrous dunks and blocks along the way.

In 2015, freshman Brandon Ingram led the Blue Devils in scoring. He was similarly efficient from the field, shooting 10-of-15 for 24 points to go with six rebounds.

As a whole, Duke shot 52.9 percent from the field in 2015 and 52.4 percent in 2018. While Indiana shot around 50 percent in 2015, keeping them around during the first half, the 2018 matchup was much different. Duke shot the ball well, but Indiana couldn’t buy a bucket, fell behind early and never fought back. The Hoosiers shot just 39 percent from the field Tuesday night.

The Gavitt Games

Aside from the blowout losses at Duke, there was also one other big similarity between the 2015-16 and 2018-19 teams. Two weeks ago, Indiana dismantled No. 24 Marquette in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, 96-73.

In 2015, Creighton came to town, and Indiana dominated the Blue Jays, 86-65, for its first signature win of the season.

In both games, Indiana had five players in double figures, led by Blackmon’s 19 points in 2015 and Langford’s 22 points in 2018.

What does this mean?

Obviously, it’s early in the season and Indiana has a long way to go before this season ends up like the 2015-16 season, but the two first months contain many similarities.

The 2015-16 team, led by senior Yogi Ferrell and freshman Thomas Bryant, rebounded off a horrid start to the season, finishing 27-8 and Big Ten champions.

Is a Big Ten championship in the cards for this year’s team? That’s still to be determined, and they have a long way to go for that to be the case. But, this year’s team, led by senior Juwan Morgan and freshman Romeo Langford, seems to be following a similar path to the Big Ten Champion Indiana Hoosiers from 2015-16.

I am a sophomore from Fort Wayne, Indiana majoring in Sports Media. Last year I worked with IUSTV Sports doing recap and feature packages for IU field hockey, women's basketball and baseball. I am one of the current WIUX Co-Sports Directors. I am a student broadcaster for WIUX as well as Big Ten Network Student U. You can reach me at and you can follow me on Twitter @austinrender.

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