With a season that started out promising quickly spiraling downhill, many hoped that Tuesday nights game in Evanston would be an opportunity for the Hoosiers to get back on track.
Instead, Indiana struggled their way through a fifth straight loss.
Facing a Northwestern squad that statistically the Hoosiers matched up well against, there was plenty of reason for hope heading into the game. After leading by as many as eight through the first ten minutes, Indiana looked like the team we had seen earlier in the year.
Then, as we have seen far too often during this recent stretch of games, the Indiana defense struggled to find shooters. Northwestern hit ten threes on the game, including an impressive 6-of-7 effort from behind the arc by Aaron Falzon, a player who had scored just six points all season long. Falzon completely changed the dynamic of the game, and his strong play raised the intensity level for Northwestern as a whole. Indiana also struggled to contain big man Dererk Pardon on the inside, who racked up 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
Yet, most importantly, the Hoosiers offense struggled to get anything going for most of the night. Teams have seemingly found the blueprint on how to contain the Indiana offense; Pack the paint and force the Hoosiers to beat you from the outside. After a poor 4-of-20 shooting effort from behind the arc against Purdue, Indiana somehow found a way to struggle even more in this game, finishing just 4-of-21 on the night from behind the arc.
“Some guys have to step up and knock a couple down” Archie Miller said after the game.
Despite trailing by as many as fifteen in the game, the Hoosiers never quit and were able to work their way back into this one. The Hoosiers closed the gap to as little as just three points in the second half, but timely threes for Northwestern seemed to break Indiana’s momentum whenever they got going.
Despite the disappointing result, Indiana will not have long to linger on this loss. Miller will need to prepare his team for the #5 ranked Michigan Wolverines, who will come to town for a Friday night match-up in Bloomington. Indiana will need to find some success from behind the arc and force the Wolverines to open their defense, or Indiana could be looking at a sixth straight loss.