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Langford looking for bounce back performance Tuesday night

Romeo Langford drives to the hoop against Northwestern on December 1, 2018. Langford finished with 20 points in the 68-66 win over the Wildcats. (Mark Timko/HN)

It’s no secret that Romeo Langford had his worst game as an Indiana Hoosier at the most inopportune time.

Langford put up a season low four points on 2-of-10 shooting and didn’t hit any of his four free throw attempts Saturday against Purdue, extending the Hoosier current losing streak to four games.

Tuesday at Northwestern, Langford hopes to put his abysmal performance in his first rivalry game behind him. As the Hoosiers desperately need a win against one of the Big Ten’s bottom feeders.

“Every player has their games once in a while where its not their day and I thought early in the game they were really loaded up,” Archie Miller said about Langford following the Purdue loss. “They loaded the box up on us and that took him out of his rhythm right away. He was very aggressive in the second half, but it’s tough, everything is at the basket, they have great size and made things hard on him for the most part.”

Langford picked up two early fouls against the Boilermakers causing him to play a season low 22 minutes on Saturday. Purdue effectively shutdown Langford, when he was on the floor, by loading the paint and forcing other players, such as Justin Smith to beat them.

For as talented of an athlete that Langford is, Purdue didn’t let him use his biggest strength: getting to the basket.

Romeo Langford was held to a season low four points Saturday at Purdue (Kurt Spitler/HN)

Indiana leads the Big Ten in two-point field goal percentage (58 percent) and much of that is because of Langford’s ability to drive and finish at the rim. With a smooth 49 percent from the field on the season, Langford is shooting 60 percent on his two-point attempts, but just 23 percent from beyond the arc.

When opposing defenses have that much size down low, it seems much easier to contain the potential NBA lottery pick.

“I think he got into his head a little bit just from the foul trouble,” Juwan Morgan said about Langford. “I think he was trying to play conservative a little bit. I was just trying to talk to him throughout the game saying you know you have to stay with who you are. You know you’re a great driver, you know how to pass out of the drive, out of the double team and things like that, so just keep doing that.”

Indiana struggled to reach 60 points for the second consecutive game in this four game losing skid and it’s apparent that teams aren’t concerned about IU’s outside shooting.

The Hoosiers are second to last in the Big Ten in made three-point field goals and have attempted just one more than Minnesota who sits last in the conference in that category.

Over the last two games, Indiana’s opponents have forced the Hoosiers to take outside shots by denying the paint. The Hoosiers shot 6-for-34 (18-percent) from deep in both games combined with Langford finishing a collective 0-for-7.

“Maryland obviously kept bigs in the paint, I think Nebraska obviously ran guys into the paint, I think (Purdue) today had a concerted effort,” Miller said. “We’re a team that gets fouled a lot, we’re a team that plays inside out and teams obviously try to take that away. So we have to adjust to it in some form or fashion and we have to be smart in sort of what we’re doing.”

Romeo Langford goes up against Derek Pardon on December 1, 2018. (Mark Timko/HN)

On Tuesday, Indiana could have their hands full with 3-point shooting, as Northwestern is 11th in the nation in defending the long ball. The Hoosiers shot just 3-of-11 from deep in its first matchup, a 68-66 win, back on December 1.

But Langford could have a much easier time getting to the rim.

Northwestern has allowed opponents to convert on over 55-percent of 2-pointers this season. If there’s ever a game for Langford to get back to his strengths, it will be Tuesday in Evanston.

In the first matchup he found success inside against the much smaller Wildcat lineup, finishing with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting (7-of-10 from 2-point) including a game winning layup in the final minute of action.

As the 6-foot-8 Derek Pardon is the biggest rim protector for the Wildcats in their starting five that should open up lanes for Langford the make plays. And Miller is confident that his number one scorer will be back in his old form in no time.

“He wasn’t at his best today,” Miller said following the Purdue loss. “But he’ll be fine, he’s a bounce back guy.”

Zain Pyarali

I am a junior from Edwardsville, Illinois majoring in Sports Media. I formerly worked for the Indiana Daily Student for two years serving as the Sports Editor and beat reporters for Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, Baseball and Field Hockey during my time with the student newspaper. Currently I am the Men’s Basketball beat reporter for IU Student Television while I also broadcast games for BTN Student U. Email me: zpyarali@thehoosiernetwork.com and follow me on Twitter: @ZainPyarali

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