Assembly Hall was packed and excited for this rivalry match-up against Purdue. If you haven’t been paying attention to this team, you wouldn’t get the idea that Indiana’s tournament hopes were all but defeated from the excitement around Assembly Hall.
And Indiana seemed to take notice.
The Hoosiers played together as a team, a resilient team, that no matter what Purdue threw at them, they were resolved to fight back and stick together. The Assembly Hall crowd found themselves cheering at multiple points throughout the game for the effort that the team was displaying all night long. When Indiana took a four-point lead with just a couple minutes left to play, many thought Indiana was in great position to achieve what might have been the most satisfactory win of the season.
But they couldn’t close.
The Hoosiers would go on to lose in heartbreaking fashion, a Matt Haarms tip-in bucket with just three seconds left on the clock, with a Juwan Morgan three coming up short as time expired.
Despite the effort that Indiana gave, it didn’t necessarily translate to tangible results for the team. The Indiana offense was downright awful for most of the night, finishing just 15-of-55 from the field and just 5-of-20 from behind the arc. They recorded just .73 points per possession, and simply put, 46 points won’t be enough to beat good teams.
Yet despite their offensive struggles, Indiana brought their defense at arguably the highest level it has been at all season long. The Hoosiers stymied a high-powered Purdue offense for most of the night, holding Purdue to just 19-of-60 from the field and 6-of-30 behind the arc. Carsen Edwards, a player of the year candidate, was held to just 4-of-24 from the field by the duo of Rob Phinisee and Zach McRoberts.
Yet in the end, Purdue made the big time plays at the end of the game. A Ryan Cline three that somehow found its way into the hoop cut an Indiana lead to just one. An Edwards lay-up a couple possession later put Purdue up by one. And when it came down to the final possession, Indiana simply couldn’t keep Haarms off the glass.
Despite the loss, Archie Miller was encouraged by his teams’ attitude and togetherness for much of the game. “The team that took the floor had a different disposition, and that’s what needs to stay” Miller said after the game. If Indiana has any hope of finding a win soon, that attitude will need to stay, and Indiana will need to find ways to execute at the end of games. Indiana will now face three consecutive top 25 opponents, starting with the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday night.