Game MVP - Errek Suhr. The Hoosiers' 5'8" point guard didn't have a scintillating stat line with five points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal, but his play got Indiana back into the game. In the first half he thwarted a two-on-one fastbreak and drew a charge in the closing seconds to help IU stay within striking distance. He then started in the second half and contributed an assist and a pair of dribble drives into the lane that he finished to help IU wipe out Duke's double digit lead. More importantly than the points, though, were the fact he moved the ball on offense, picked up a couple of charges on defense, and displayed the sort of determination and effort IU Coach Kelvin Sampson has been looking for from his team. He couldn't knock down a game-tying 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded and he committed a costly turnover in the final minute on an in-bounds pass, but Suhr continues to make it extremely difficult for the IU coaching staff to keep him off the floor.
Biggest Surprise… Joey Shaw, Mike White and Armon Bassett shined while playing in their first collegiate road game. With Lance Stemler sidelined due to a concussion and a trio of guards relegated to the bench in the second half due to uninspired play, Bassett, Shaw and White stepped to the forefront. Bassett was a primary offensive option throughout the game, knocking down 4-of-5 3-pointers while not shying away from taking big shots at big moments. Shaw, meanwhile, displayed an ability to slash to the basket and finish, scoring nine points in 24 minutes. White, meanwhile, contributed four points and a team-high eight rebounds in a season-high 25 minutes. White did miss five costly free throws in his seven attempts, but he was a force on the glass and was the sort of presence that many expected him to be earlier in the season.
What I Found Most Impressive… Sampson didn't shy away from sending his veteran guards a message in the second half. The Hoosiers were already short-handed due to Stemler's absence, and Sampson made the bench even shorter by basically sitting Rod Wilmont, A.J. Ratliff and Earl Calloway for the game's final 20 minutes. Due to some lackluster play on their part – and ultimately the team's part – in the first half, Sampson opted to play that trio for a combined three minutes in the second half. The result was more opportunities for Bassett (20 minutes in the second half), Suhr (19 minutes in the second half) and Shaw (18 minutes in the second half), and that trio responded and nearly carried IU to an improbable road win. While the end result isn't what IU or Sampson wanted, the fact he was willing to sit the veterans likely sent a message that they heard load and clear.
What I Found Most Concerning… The Hoosiers couldn't get the ball to D.J. White on the block for the game's duration. White finished with a rather pedestrian seven points and six rebounds in 38 minutes, knocking down only 3-of-11 shots from the floor. White struggled in establishing position and commanding the ball on the low post against the Blue Devils. When he did get it down low, he often waited until the double team came before looking to make an offensive move, leading to a couple of turnovers and some contested shots. Indiana might have shown it can be successful without the contributions of some of its veteran guards Tuesday night, but IU can't survive without big efforts from White. He's a gifted offensive player who needs more touches and opportunities if IU is going to be successful this season.
Quotable: ""They are well-coached and they play really good defense. They were good last year and they're good this year. We have two really good wins and two really tough games [against Indiana] and we feel really good about winning tonight. It wasn't that easy. The ball was not easy to put in the basket tonight." - Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski
"[Errek] Suhr took his team when they were drowning and picked them all up. What a courageous performance by that kid. That's the beauty of the college game." – Krzyzewski.
"Lance Stemler would have helped at some point, but Ben (Allen) and D.J. (White) and Mike White, those three guys battled on the boards." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.
"I'm disappointed we lost, but I'm not disappointed in our effort." – Sampson.
Random Thoughts: How badly did IU struggle offensively in the early going? In the game's first 12 minutes, the Hoosiers had called as many timeouts (3) as field goals they had made (3) while falling behind 17-7… after shooting just 32 percent in the first half and committing 12 turnovers, Indiana shot 46 percent in the second half and committed only four turnovers…after averaging 19.3 3-point attempts in their first four games, IU attempted a season-low nine against Duke…Ben Allen had one of his better games from a rebounding standpoint, pulling down six boards in just 16 minutes of action. The 6-11 sophomore continues to struggle defensively, though, when lured away from the basket by smaller players who can then attack him off the dribble. That led to quick foul trouble for Allen, who has committed a team-high 16 fouls this year despite averaging just 13.6 minutes/game.
Upon Further Review: The Duke Game
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