This was an ugly game at the start.
Indiana and Wichita State spent much of the early game trying to feel each other out, and neither team was having very much success offensively. The two teams had combined to score just 21 points through the opening 10 minutes with Wichita State holding onto a slim 11-10 lead, with each side probing for a weakness in the opponent’s defense.
And then Wichita State started to find some momentum. Led by senior forward Markis McDuffie, who would go on to score 13 of Wichita State’s next 15 points, the Shockers were able to grab a commanding double-figure lead. Indiana continued to have trouble for most of the half offensively, shooting just 32.4% from the field along with having no answer for McDuffie on the other end. Wichita State would ultimately head into the halftime break holding a seven-point lead, leaving the Hoosiers searching for answers.
In the second half, things started to look better for the Hoosiers. After a Wichita State bucket gave the Shockers a nine-point lead, Indiana started to roar back. The Hoosiers would go on a mini 7-0 run that saw them cut the Shockers lead to just two, and an excited Assembly Hall had the feeling that this is when Indiana would get over the hump and take control of the game.
Unfortunately, the Shockers had other plans.
No matter how close Indiana got in this one, Wichita State seemed to always have an answer to Indiana’s runs. The Hoosiers seemed to consistently give up back-breaking three’s all night long, with McDuffie and freshmen guard Dexter Dennis combining to knock down nine shots from behind the arc on their own.
Juwan Morgan, in what turned out to be his final game in an Indiana uniform, did his best to keep Indiana in this one, tying McDuffie for a game-high 21 points but ultimately the Shockers were just the better team last night.
Now, the long off-season for the Hoosiers will begin in earnest, with the team having missed the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season. With the expected departures of both Morgan and Romeo Langford, the Hoosiers will have big shoes to fill moving into next season.
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