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'Our offense was a problem': Indiana falls to Ohio State as season continues to go awry

In the aftermath of Indiana's demoralizing 55-52 loss to Ohio State on Sunday, Assembly Hall was dead silent.

Juwan Morgan drives against Ohio State. (Kurt Spitler/HN)

Devonte Green's rushed 3-pointer at the buzzer clanked off the iron, and IU fans did nothing but put their heads down and meander to the exits. There were no boos, no jeers, no noise whatsoever. Assembly Hall's empty atmosphere of complete, unadulterated silence was the result of a season feeling more lost than ever.

Following a dull, sloppy first half, the Hoosiers found themselves trailing Ohio State 47-38 with 6:27 remaining as Andre Wesson converted a second-chance 3-pointer. Indiana responded with three consecutive treys of its own, as outside shooting from Romeo Langford and Devonte Green tied the game at 47 with 4:54 to play. When Green's remarkable 3-pointer splashed through before the shot clock expired, it seemed as if Indiana would survive -- providing a bandaid to its season. After all, the Hoosiers led 52-49 with 1:46 remaining and had their home crowd in disbelief.

Except Indiana faltered down the stretch. With under a minute to play in a tied game, an IU inbound play went awry. The Hoosiers were unable to inbound, so freshman point guard Rob Phinisee burned his team's final timeout. Once the ball was sent into play, senior forward Juwan Morgan delivered a poor entry pass to a heavily defended Langford in the post. Turnover. After a pair of IU timeouts to setup a go-ahead play, it was a puzzling design with faulty execution.


"Seven seconds on the clock underneath out-of-bounds, we drew up a play that put Juwan and Romeo in a position to try and either drive it from the top or get a post-up," Archie Miller said. "I know it obviously was a deflected pass. It was a big turnover. But you can put that on me. We tried to get the ball right at the basket with Romeo, maybe get fouled, maybe get a quick bucket, but it was a big turnover."

On Ohio State's ensuing, game-winning possession out of a timeout, Buckeye wing Andre Wesson faked a pick and slipped past IU's Justin Smith for a two-handed dunk. It was beautiful design by Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, who escaped Bloomington with a much-needed victory of his own. Missed 3-pointers from Langford and Green were the final blows to an Indiana defeat that erased any morale remaining from its road upset of No. 6 Michigan State last week.

"I've been in the gym working on it since day one, and I feel like my three is coming back," Langford said of his missed shot. "I just missed the shot. It went in and out. You miss some and you make some, so that's all that happened.


The Hoosiers have now lost nine of their last ten games. At 13-11, (4-9 Big Ten), it is safe to say that Indiana is no longer in the NCAA Tournament picture. Nor should it be. The Hoosiers have a baffling resume -- stacked with three victories against teams ranked in the AP Poll's top 16, but a Big Ten record that could not be much worse. Those high-profile wins are the only thing keeping IU's season from being written off, and even a single victory against Ohio State on Sunday, or Iowa last Thursday, or Rutgers two weeks ago would have done wonders for the morale and trajectory of these Hoosiers.

It has become clear that the Hoosiers are broken, and a shell of the team that routed No. 10 Marquette on its Assembly Hall floor in November. There are reoccurring problems, such as an incomplete roster that lacks consistent shooting and offensive production. It is also a roster full of youth and injury, and those two problems are not mutually exclusive. However, Indiana's struggles also stem from newfound troubles. IU's late-game execution won them contests against Northwestern, Penn State, Louisville, and Butler -- a four-game swing decided by a combined eight points. Since a 5-1 record in games decided by single-digits during November and December, the Hoosiers are 1-5 since.


"When you're able to win some games early in the season, close games, one-possession games, they obviously could have went a number of ways," Miller said. "In some ways maybe you got fortunate. In some ways maybe you did good things. Tonight this was an instance where underneath our basket, we needed to get that ball clean in and we needed to get a shot, and down the other end, give them credit, they ran a terrific play and we weren't able to make the read off the help."

The Hoosiers will have nearly six days of rest before boarding a plane to Minnesota on Saturday. The rest will be much-needed, especially for those such as junior forward De'Ron Davis who continues to improve his conditioning after a torn achilles suffered last season. Seven games remain, and it is unfair to write Indiana off despite a beleaguered roster and resume. Anything is possible with Langford and Morgan on the roster, although a postseason appearance would be a miraculous resurrection. KenPom projects these Hoosiers to finish 16-15 and 7-13 in the Big Ten. From what we've seen in 2019, that sounds right -- and not nearly enough for an IU team that held such high expectations of themselves in November.

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