After trailing by 18 points, Indiana found a way to double in stoppage time before finally falling 112-110 to Syracuse on Tuesday night at Carrier Dome. The first loss of the season to Indiana sent the Hoosiers down 6-1.
The first leg and defensive struggles sent Indiana into an early loss, but the team’s progress and depth at the free-throw line made the game woeful.
Here are five lessons learned from the defeat against Orange:
The replay has a problem
Mike Woodson said the first thing he told his team about playing on the road was that they couldn’t afford to overturn the ball. In just the first minute and a half of the game, the Hoosiers turned the tide three times.
From missed passes to offensive fouls, Indiana has scored 26 goals. And many of them were not raped.
“I think we were scared, I hate that word,” Woodson said. “The first leg is optional, I mean we just give them the ball.”
Syracuse capitalized on Indiana’s mistakes, scoring 33 points out of 26 games.
In the last two minutes or so of the second half, Syracuse turned Indiana’s three in a row into eight points. It gave Orange a nine-point lead that Indiana had to pull back late to send it into extra time.
The fight in the first half
Not only did the Hoosiers drop 49 points in the first half, but they also failed to find offensive tempo in front of Orange’s area.
On defense, Indiana struggled to block Syracuse’s shots. The team dropped eight 3-pointers and allowed Syracuse to shoot nearly 60% off the field.
Trayce Jackson-Davis said: “They were looking good and we didn’t get involved.
Then, due to the attack, the Hoosiers could not find the area. Indiana stagnates in the box and moves too quickly into the middle of the area.
Shooting only 3/12 from 3-pointers in the first half didn’t open up the Hoosiers, and when they looked inside, they made only three of the nine substitute attempts.
“I think we played really well in the first half,” Woodson said.
Jackson-Davis said they were doing their own thing in the first half. The difference in the second part is that they start listening to Woodson.
The biggest adjustment is patience in the region, Jackson-Davis said.
Trayce Jackson-Davis returns after smashing his knee
With about four minutes left in the game, Jackson-Davis hit the knee with Syracuse’s Cole Swider. He fell in pain and had to be carried off the field by his teammates.
Then less than two minutes later, he was back in the game. After the game, Jackson-Davis said his knee was fine and added that it only ached for two minutes. Woodson says he just needed that time to regroup.
“It was a big relief, it wasn’t anything serious,” Woodson said.
In the final two minutes of the game, Jackson-Davis added eight points, including two free throws and a pair of clutch free throws to send the game into extra time. He added a pair of dunks and a free throw in the second extra time.
His ability to find the basket late in the game and his presence in defence put Indiana back into the game.
Multiplayer steps up
Climbing out of the 18-point hole is not one man’s job. The Hoosiers were able to get back into the game and get themselves two waiting periods as multiplayer passed the challenge.
Indiana has four different players scoring doubles: Jackson-Davis (31), Miller Kopp (28), Parker Stewart (20) and Race Thompson (17).
However, stepping up requires more than just scoring. The whole curve started and Rob Phinisee fouled, so Khristian Lander made the foul late and on both occasions. He went into the game and made clutch free throws and found his good looks to give Indiana a chance.
But Woodson is still looking for more from his bench. From the start, they made attacks to turn it into a ball game, but the bench contributed only 10 points.
“We get solid play from everyone,” Woodson said. “I have to get our bench back again because getting into the Big Ten will be important.”
Throw Down Free Throw
Free throws appearing in five points are usually indicative of a lackluster performance, but Indiana’s free throws were one of its consistent highlights throughout the game.
Hoosiers shot 74 percent from the line, knocking out 23 of its 31 attempts. But the most impressive performance from the stripes came in times of crisis.
With two seconds remaining in the allotted time, Lander approached the free-throw line to take two shots. The Hoosiers were down three points, so he had to make the first, miss the second and then hope for an Indiana rebound.
“We haven’t practiced it yet,” Jackson-Davis said of missing the free throw.
But they performed perfectly. Jackson-Davis dropped his rebound and had a foul with less than a second left. Down by two points, he sank both shots to move it into extra time.
In stoppage time, the free throw wasn’t as strong as Indiana’s reaching only 50% from the line. But the Hoosiers repeat their poise from the line when it matters.
Down by three points with seven seconds remaining in double extra time, Kopp was fouled at the top of the post and had to take all three free throws to close the game. And he did. It gave him a career-high 28 points on the night.
In the end, Joseph Girard III responded to Kopp’s free throws to help Orange win, but the Hoosiers’ ability to take the free throw with the game going was improved.
https://www.insidethehall.com/2021/12/01/five-takeaways-from-indianas-loss-at-syracuse/ Five things to learn from Indiana’s loss at Syracuse – Inside the Hall