Upon Further Review: Minnesota

HoosierNation.com takes a look back at Indiana's 71-59 win over Minnesota. We name the Hoosiers' game MVP, look at what were some of the most concerning, impressive and surprising things to come out of the game and hear what the coaches had to say afterwards...

Hoosier MVP - Joey Shaw. There wasn't any particular player who jumped out in Wednesday's win, but Shaw led a solid effort by the IU bench with a seven-point, six-rebound, 20-minute performance against the Gophers. He was pressed into extended second half when A.J. Ratliff got in early foul trouble, and Shaw played the game's final 14 minutes and scored all seven of his points during that span. His second-half effort included a huge 3-pointer from the top of the key at the 7:48 mark that turned a 3-point IU lead into a six-point cushion, and Minnesota would get no closer the rest of the way. Equally as important as the points, though, were the rebounds. He shared team honors in the category with D.J. White, and Indiana owned a 33-26 edge overall, marking the first time in the last five games it has won the rebounding battle.

Biggest Surprise… Indiana got a very solid four-point, 13-minute effort from Ben Allen. Allen hadn't scored a point in this calendar year, going scoreless since IU's win over IUPUI in December. But he was the first player off the Hoosier bench Wednesday and he scored on a nice post move less than a minute later to end his scoring drought. It's been a tough year for Allen, who was slowed earlier in the year with mono. That, coupled with trying to adjust to playing in the post in Coach Kelvin Sampson's system, has led to an ever-decreasing role on this year's team. But Sampson said he's been pleased with Allen's attitude and how hard he's practiced and he reaped some rewards from that work Wednesday. While Allen doesn't appear poised to return to the starting lineup anytime soon, he could be getting back to the point he can be a positive contributor in IU's final three regular season games and into the postseason.

What I Found Most Impressive… This may wind up being a mountain or a molehill, but as the game was winding down and Roderick Wilmont was dribbling out the Hoosiers' final possession, Wilmont penetrated past his defender, elevated for an apparent jump shot in the lane…and instead of attempting the shot, kicked it out to a wide open Lance Stemler. Stemler, who had been just 1-of-15 from the floor dating back to the first Michigan game, knocked down the 15-footer to cap IU's scoring and draw a big ovation from the crowd. The impressive part isn't so much that Stemler hit the shot – despite his struggles he's still one of the team's best shooters – but the fact Wilmont was conscious enough of the fact Stemler needed a basket – however meaningless – to try to regain some much-needed confidence. That play shows a great deal about the growth of Wilmont during his five years in Bloomington.

What I Found Most Concerning… Afterwards, Sampson said this late in the season you take a win, put it in your back pocket, and move onto the next one. That's true, but the Hoosiers' performance gives reason for concern about Saturday's match-up in East Lansing against a red-hot Michigan State team. The Spartans have pounded Iowa and upset No. 1 Wisconsin in the last week, and they're playing with as much confidence as they have all season. They also desperately need this win in their quest to solidify their NCAA Tournament standing and earn a top-five seed in the Big Ten Tournament and thus a first-round bye. The pre-game thought was IU might come away with the sort of lopsided win that would give it a shot of confidence heading into this weekend's matchup, but it's clear Indiana will need to play much better Saturday if it hopes to win in East Lansing for the first time since 1993.

Turning Point: With IU leading 52-50 with 8:56 remaining, Rod Wilmont made the first of two free throws and then missed the second. But D.J. White jumped over Dan Coleman for the rebound – avoiding a potential fourth foul – and tipped the ball back out to Armon Bassett. Seconds later, Joey Shaw connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key to push the lead to six. Bassett scored on IU's next trip to extend the lead to eight, and White capped IU's 8-0 run with a 16-foot jumper from the wing that gave the Hoosiers a 60-50 lead with 6:18 remaining. Minnesota's window of opportunity had officially closed.

Quotable: "D.J. was a huge presence. He's bigger than he looks on tape, and we had a hard time scoring over him.." – Minnesota Coach Jim Molinari.

"Our bench gave us some good minutes tonight, which was good to see. It was good to end the game with Lance making a shot, too." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"(on taking charges) I think tonight, a couple times, there were situations we needed stops. Taking charges, it's position and doing what's best for the team. I'm not going to jump up and block anybody so I need position and to take charges." – Errek Suhr.

"You go in thinking, ‘who's ready to play?'" I like the way Ben's been practicing, you can tell he's getting some confidence. I like the way Lance has been practicing. You want your kids to shoot with confidence, score with confidence, but I'd be disappointed if Lance wasn't playing hard and playing good. You don't have to make a basket to help your team. There are a lot of ways to contribute to your basketball team. Lance and Ben, Mike (White), they all had their moments." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson

"There's a difference between knowing your role and accepting your role. Those are two different animals. We're going along here, and some nights guys play more, some nights they play less, and sometimes it's hard to adjust to that. But like in the second half, I don't sit there and say I'm going to play this guy this many minutes and that guy this many minutes. If a guy is playing good, I'm not taking him unless it's to rest him." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

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