Indiana couldn’t have had a worse start in Saturday’s 68-67 win over Louisville, starting with an 8-2 deficit. However, the Hoosiers were able to recover in the second half and made a great push to take control of the lead. Big buckets by Rob Phinisee, Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan helped propel the Hoosiers over Louisville in what was a back-and-forth affair.
The Hoosiers claimed their eighth win of the season after defeating Louisville, and the victory will surely help pad their resume late in the season.
Let’s get into today’s rapid reaction. There was a lot to unpack.
Indiana started the game in an 8-2 hole, and struggled to keep up with Louisville for the majority of the first half. The Hoosiers shot 2-8 from behind the arc while Louisville shot 5-17. Louisville’s Jordan Nwora had a blistering start, shooting 50 percent from the field while making things happen off the ball and on defense. IU had a tough time containing Nwora for the majority of the first half, and the freshman forward’s performance paved the way for a Louisville lead heading into halftime.
Outside of freshman guard Romeo Langford and senior forward Juwan Morgan, Indiana was searching for an additional scorer to help the Hoosiers claw back into the game. The two combined for 18 of Indiana’s 28 first half points, and there wasn’t much else. IU has to work on coming out hot when the game starts, but today, they did a nice job recovering.
Hoosiers Finally Recover Late
Any time the Hoosiers made a scoring run or forced consecutive stops on defense, Louisville had an answer on the other end of the floor. That was the story of the first half and the early part of the second. There were times where Indiana chipped away at the Louisville lead, and it even brought the game to just a one-point deficit. It was an overall sloppy game from the Hoosiers, and at times, they looked out of sync offensively. But, they found a way to get over that hump late in the second half, and they did a good job of putting the Cardinals away once they grabbed a firm hold on the lead.
Louisville did a good job of forcing Indiana to take rash shots, especially in the first half. Even when the Hoosiers had an open three-pointer throughout the game, it almost always missed. The Hoosiers shot below 25 percent from behind the arc and under 50 percent overall. Sophomore and junior forwards Justin Smith and De’Ron Davis hit a few key shots here and there, and Smith did a good job on the boards as well (he finished with nine). In fact, Smith had seven of his nine points in the second half and was key in the Hoosiers’ push late in the game.
Rob Phinisee Comes Up Big Again
Against Penn State, Phinisee was a huge part to the Hoosiers’ success late in the game, and he did the same against Louisville. He didn’t have the best game offensively as he only scored nine points on the day, but he hit some key buckets late in the game to help IU take and hold the lead, including a huge three-pointer to give the Hoosiers a 60-58 lead.
The freshman didn’t have an assist in the game, but he found other ways to help his team win. He had six rebounds, and almost all were in key moments in the second half. His passing was relatively good throughout the day, but it was his scoring ability that shined against Louisville.