Upon Further Review - Connecticut

HoosierNation.com takes a look back at Indiana's 77-73 win at UConn, the Hoosiers' second straight road win and their fifth straight victory overall. We name the game's MVP, look at what were some of the most impressive and surprising things to come out of the win, and hear what the players and coaches had to say afterwards...

Game MVP - Rod Wilmont. There are a handful of candidates, but Wilmont was huge from start to finish. Wilmont scored 15 of his game-high 23 in the second half, including some huge buckets down the stretch. With the game tied 39-39 at intermission, the Hoosiers' fifth-year senior scored the first five points of the second half and nine of IU's first 11 points overall to put IU on top, 51-44. After UConn eventually recaptured the lead late, Wilmont connected on a 3-pointer to put IU up 69-68 with 1:54 left. Then, after UConn's Stanley Robinson scored in the paint, Wilmont beat Doug Wiggins off the dribble and hit a 12-foot leaner in the lane by put the Hoosiers up for good, 71-70, with just under a minute left. Wilmont was efficient as well, going 8-of-11 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc. On the defensive end Wilmont also did yeoman's work, where he was often battling much bigger players in the paint. Indiana has won its last two road games, and couldn't have prevailed in either contest without Wilmont. He's averaged 24.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in those victories over Penn State and Connecticut.

Biggest Surprise… A season-high 32 minutes for Mike White. It was a good bet the 6-6, 235-pound White would be an important piece to the Hoosiers' puzzle Saturday, but probably no one expected him to see 32 minutes of action. White entered the contest averaging only 8.6 minutes per game, but wound earning his first start of the season and finished with eight points and four rebounds. He was on the floor in place of Lance Stemler, who was unable to physically match-up with Adrien and the athletic and physical Huskie frontline players. White didn't exactly shut down Adrien – who had a double-double – but he gave them some much needed minutes and a physical presence inside. He also came up with a couple of clutch free throws at the 2:41 mark that tied the game at 66-66. Frontline depth continues to be one of this team's biggest weaknesses, and the more quality minutes IU can get from White, the less of a concern that becomes.

What I Found Most Impressive… Indiana's offensive execution down the stretch. Late-game turnovers had plagued the Hoosiers in road losses earlier this season, but they were efficient Saturday. After Joey Shaw turned the ball over on IU's first possession following the final television timeout, Indiana scored on each of its final six possessions. After Mike White's two free throws got things started, Wilmont used a screen and hit a deep 3-pointer, followed by his 12-footer leaner in the lane that put IU on top. Then Earl Calloway and Armon Bassett knocked down all four of their free throws on one-on-one opportunities, and Bassett ended things with two more free throws with 11 seconds on the clock. Indiana needed to be that efficient because Connecticut scored on five of its seven possessions after the media timeout, but Joey Shaw's rebound of a Doug Wiggins miss secured a huge win for the Hoosiers.

What I Found Most Concerning… The Hoosiers were, quite frankly, obliterated on the boards. Connecticut out-rebounded the Hoosiers 38-22, producing a 20-0 edge in second-chance points. Afterwards IU Coach Kelvin Sampson said it was part of the gameplan to not crash the offensive boards like they usually do, all in an effort to keep Connecticut from turning defensive rebounds into fastbreak opportunities. But that doesn't account for the 19 offensive rebounds UConn pulled down, led by the nine from Jeff Adrien. Indiana was able to overcome that disparity thanks to 50 percent shooting from 3-point range, 95 percent shooting from the free-throw line, and solid defensive effort in the second half, but Connecticut's much bigger and athletic frontline had its way with the Hoosiers on the boards.

Turning Point: It's not often that a game's turning point is in the first half, but Indiana's 8-0 run late in the first half was huge. Indiana got nine points from both Armon Bassett and D.J. White early and raced to a 26-12 lead, only to have UConn answer with a 24-5, eight-minute run that put the Huskies on top 36-31 with 1:49 left. Coach Jim Calhoun's club had all the momentum and looked to be ready to bury the Hoosiers, but a late IU flurry halted the run. D.J. White hit a jumper and a pair of free throws during the run, while Joey Shaw and Rod Wilmont also went 2-of-2 from the line during the final two minutes of the half. Doug Wiggins hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at half, but Indiana had wrestled some momentum back before intermission, which proved huge.

Quotable: " I think today was a case of a team bending, but maybe not breaking. Connecticut, especially when (Stanley) Robinson is at the three, they're a hard team to keep off the offensive boards." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"At our end, we made a decision not to attack the boards as much offensively as much as getting back on defense. Since we've been playing against Jim's teams, from Oklahoma to here, the first thing you have to prepare for is transition. They're so good in transition offense that you've got to get back." - IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"We just kept hanging in there. We were hot early, but that's not going to last. You're not going to make enough threes to win on the road." - IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"We're not concerned about the talk that we haven't beaten anybody. We're a pretty good team. Once we find that chemistry, we'll be unstoppable." – Uconn's Stanley Robinson.

"They made foul shots and we didn't. When you look at most every other stat, when we couldn't make shots, we banged the boards – Jeff Adrien had more offensive rebounds than they did as a team. It wasn't like one of those games where there was lopsided shooting, we both shot 48 percent. We missed a ton of foul shots at crucial times, didn't make a couple of big stops, they had a couple of easy hoops in the last two minutes, and that was the game." – Uconn Coach Jim Calhoun.

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