IOWA CITY, Iowa — A season long problem, Indiana’s turnover issue was near the forefront of another loss.
The Hoosiers turned the ball over on 26.6 percent of their possessions — their third highest percentage of the season — on the way to Tuesday night’s 96-90 overtime loss at Iowa.
Foul calls were a big issue as well — Indiana was 16-for-19 from the line to Iowa’s 39-for-47 — but even with that, the Hoosiers’ ballhandling played a big part in a fifth consecutive loss.
Indiana has lost five in a row and seven of its past eight games.
In six of those seven losses, Indiana’s turnover percentage has been 20 percent or worse. The one time in that stretch it wasn’t, it was 18.4 percent.
Since starting the season 10-2, the Hoosiers have lost 11 of their past 15 games.
In 10 of those 11 losses, IU’s turnover percentage was 20 percent or higher.
The Hoosiers (15-13, 5-10 Big Ten) had turnovers in volume and at inopportune times at Iowa.
“We just get away from the fundamental base — post feed, driving the baseline when the post is loaded. It’s not how we practice,” IU coach Tom Crean said.
“What I have to look back at is, at the end of the day, we’re right there to win the game. It goes to overtime. We’re there to win it, even with the mistakes we made. But you look at the stat sheet, I don’t know how we win the game to be honest with you.”
In Indiana’s past 10 games, it has been outscored by 76 points in points off turnovers.
The two turnover percentages this season worse than Tuesday’s for the Hoosiers were 33.7 percent in an 87-48 win over Liberty on Nov. 19 and 27.3 percent in a 90-60 loss at Michigan on Jan. 26.
Late in regulation at Iowa on Tuesday, with Indiana down 73-71, James Blackmon Jr. tried to feed center Thomas Bryant and the ball went out of bounds.
Leading 66-60 as the game neared four minutes to play, Freddie McSwain threw the ball away on an interior pass. Iowa layup.
Trying to inbound the ball on the ensuing possession, Bryant threw the ball casually and Iowa’s Peter Jok picked it off. Jok two free throws.
Instead of increasing a six-point lead in the late going, the Hoosiers let Iowa (15-13, 7-8) right back in it.
Down 82-81 overtime, Indiana turned the ball over on consecutive possessions. Iowa scored four points off those turnovers, went up by five points and never led by fewer than five the rest of the way.
“Just fundamental turnovers,” IU’s James Blackmon Jr. said after scoring 18 points and making just one turnover in 38 minutes. “We’ve got to tighten up on that, watch the film. They just can’t keep happening.”
Crean noted that this was Indiana’s 12th game that was within a three-point margin with under a minute to play in regulation.
Seven of IU’s past 11 losses have been by seven points or fewer, or, three possessions.
Not winning those close games, are turnovers the biggest issue?
“Tonight it was,” Blackmon said. “They took better care of the ball than us down the stretch, and that’s what it came down to.”
In a six-point loss, IU was outscored in points off turnovers 25-18.
Robert Johnson had 19 points, seven assists, five steals and just one turnover in 33 minutes.
Like Blackmon, he pointed to turnovers.
“I think that’s one of the details that hurt us down the stretch,” Johnson said. “We talked about being more aware with certain situations, that includes turnovers, rebounding, what type of shots you want to get, all the details like that.”
IU turnover percentage the past eight games
27.3 — at Michigan, 90-60 loss
20.7 — at Northwestern, 68-55 loss
22.3 — Vs. Penn State, 110-012 win (3OT)
23.7 — at Wisconsin, 65-60 loss
20.7 — Vs. Purdue, 69-64 loss
23.3 — vs. Michigan, 75-63 loss
18.4 — at Minnesota, 75-74 loss
26.6 — at Iowa, 96-90 loss (OT)