Upon Further Review: Indiana State

The Indiana basketball team played 25 minutes of excellent basketball against Indiana State Coach Kelvin Sampson said. However, it's the last 15 minutes that he really took issue with as IU wasted a 20-point lead in what turned out to be a nail-biter. Today we take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from Friday night's 73-66 win.

HoosierNation.com takes a closer look at Indiana's 73-66 home-opening win over Indiana State...what were some of the most surprising, impressive, and concerning things about the Hoosiers' narrow win?

Game MVP - Lance Stemler. Not only did Stemler score a game-high and career-high 18 points in the Hoosier victory, but he hit the big shot with 33 seconds left that saved the Hoosiers' bacon. The 6-foot-8 junior college transfer also hit a big three-point shot with just under five minutes left to help quell what at the time was a 27-8 scoring run that had narrowed the game to 59-58. That shot gave the Hoosiers some breathing room and was just one of the many key shots Stemler hit on the night. He was 5-9 from behind the arc on Friday as he said he made a conscious effort to get more involved in the offense against the Sycamores. It worked. The Hoosiers got 31 solid minutes of basketball on both ends from Stemler on this night.

Biggest Surprise - After blowing a 12-point lead and watching a smaller in-state school beat them just three days earlier, you would think that Indiana wouldn't let another big lead slip away, especially on their home court. However, after going up 53-33 with 12:52 remaining, the Hoosiers turned on the cruise control. The scrappy, intense defensive effort that defined the first half was completely absent for a key eight-minute stretch in which the Sycamores stormed back into the game. The ease with which the smaller Indiana State forwards attack the basket during that stretch was what was truly shocking.

Biggest Surprise, Part II- Joey Shaw. The lanky redshirt freshman took a big step forward Friday night. He was more aggressive than he's been in young Hoosier career offensively, driving to the basket several times with real purpose and crashing the offensive glass. He played a career-high 19 minutes in a very tight game after seeing just four minutes in IU's previous contest. Defensively, Shaw eliminated some of the silly fouls that have defined his career thus far and was a pest to the smaller Sycamore guards registering two steals and two blocks. He finished with a career-high 11 points, including an impressive 7-9 performance from the line.

What I Found Most Impressive - Coach Kelvin Sampson said the Hoosiers first 25 minutes of basketball Friday night was about as good as this team can play at this stage and I fully agree. At this point in the season there are going to be bumps in the road and growing pains, lots of them. However, the Hoosiers jumped on the Sycamores early and completely took them out of their offense. Their defense and hustle was superb (who can forget Rod Wilmont diving head first over his own bench just to steal a pass and save it to a teammate). This team is going to grow and get a lot better come mid-January, but for now you can't ask for much more than the brand of basketball they played for their first 25 minutes on Friday.

What I Found Most Concerning - The Hoosiers defense for the last 15 minutes of the game was very poor and the post defense was abysmal. D.J. White blocked five shots, but was caught out of place for being a step slow repeatedly in the second half. His teammates gave no help either. IU's help defense was completely absent down the stretch as players would penetrate and find an open path to the basket. For a team that prides itself on their defense it was a very poor showing. The fact that Indiana State outrebounded IU on the offensive glass by a margin of 16-11 is equally glaring. These things have to be cleaned up and can only be blamed on a lack of concentration.

Quotes of the Day: "I made an error in preparation. We knew their pressure was what we needed to handle… we tried to handle it by lifting our offense up and giving us room to drive and what we did was just fiddle with it around the perimeter and take bad shots (in the first half). I think we overestimated their individual defensive skills and in the second half we just said let's just pound it right inside and they really couldn't guard us." – ISU Coach Royce Waltman on attacking IU in the second half

"The second half, the last 13 minutes, I don't know that we play any worse at this time in the season. You take a lot of good from this game, then you realize that we have to put 40 minutes together." -- IU Coach Kelvin Sampson on his team's second half

It's good to see tight games. There are years when you blow everyone out by 30, then you get in a close game in January, and you don't know how to react. We are finding out now how to react in a close game, and we have to get better in those areas. That's why you plays these games at this time in the year." -- Sampson on having another nail-biter

"He was aggressive. He was just missing his shots. He made them against Butler. I'm not worried about that - I am worried about effort and attitude. I don't worry about missed shots. Those balls will go in. D.J. is a good free-throw shooter. He wasn't tonight, but he will make those next game...D.J. can score." -- Sampson on White's off-night offensively

"We definitely learned that we can't let down. We almost blew another lead tonight. We need to have that killer instinct and put teams away. That should come. When we have them down, we can't make mental mistakes and turn the ball over and give up easy layups. Even when we are up 25, we have to play like it's a tie game or we are losing the whole time." -- Lance Stemler on what his team has learned through three games this season

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