A struggle from beyond the arc

Indiana was averaging 10 3-pointers per game in six Big Ten conference home wins before Thursday night. The Hoosiers hit just five against Purdue and dropped a 67-63 decision.

In racing to six home victories in Big Ten play this season, Indiana was very proficient from beyond the 3-point line.

IU had made 61 3-pointers in the first six Big Ten home games. That’s average of better than 10 per game. Now sure, hitting 18 against Minnesota clearly bumped that average up. But with the exception of the Ohio State in early January, IU had made at least seven 3-pointers in every other Big Ten home game.

Until Thursday night that is when IU was 5-of-16 from beyond the arc in a 67-63 loss at home to Purdue.

Yogi Ferrell hit three, James Blackmon Jr. made two and that was it.

Troy Williams, Collin Hartman and Robert Johnson were a combined 0-for-4 from distance.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said he actually felt like he was getting Indiana at the right time because the Hoosiers were coming off a game against Minnesota on Sunday when they had made 18-of-32 3-pointers.

“I felt like it was perfect that they hit 18 three’s against Minnesota because you don’t normally have that type of back-to-back game,’’ Painter said. “So that’s what I told our guys. The timing was just right for us.

Still, Ferrell had a good look from 3 at the end with 6 seconds to play and his team trailing by two points. But his shot was off target. Ferrell wasn’t pleased with his shot selection either.

“That was a bad shot, that’s what it was,’’ Ferrell said. “It was time and score. We had lots of time left on the clock. Maybe I should have pulled it out. Just trying to go to the floor again.

IU coach Tom Crean said he was hoping to get something better at the end.

“At the end of the game when it’s a two-point game, we wanted to come and push and get into a pick-and-roll, and we should have done a better job waiting for the screen and making recognition,’’ Crean said. “Again, it’s not about the two or the three because we wanted to push. If it wasn’t there, we’d have time for a timeout but we’ve got to let the screen get there.

“We wanted James (Blackmon Jr.) to get to the corner to create space and our theory is usually in that kind of a situation in a break play like that, just get the spots and get the screen in the middle of the floor. We were having good success with the screen in the middle of the floor but it didn’t get there. We shot it a little quick and we can’t get the board. But that’s part of it. We want to play with freedom and that’s part of it.’’


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