Upon Further Review: IUPUI

Indiana Basketball is in the midst of something few thought the Hoosiers would experience this season - a winning streak. HoosierNation.com looks back at IU's 60-57 win over IUPUI, naming our MVP and also picking out what was most impressive, surprising and concerning about the victory...

Game MVP - Tom Pritchard. Not only did Pritchard come up with the game-clinching blocked shot as the final buzzer sounded, but he also became the first IU freshman ever to begin his Hoosier career with double-doubles in his first two games. The 6'9", 242-pounder finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and made seven of his eight field goal attempts while leading the Hoosiers to a hard-fought 60-57 win over IUPUI.

A couple of weeks ago many on-lookers were concerned whether or not Pritchard would be able to provide some offensive production in the paint, and they were equally worried about whether he could stay out of foul trouble. But he picked up only one foul in 34 minutes of action against IUPUI's athletic frontline, and Indiana's offense started clicking once it started getting the ball inside to him. If Pritchard wasn't finishing, he was kicking the ball back out and ultimately getting some good looks for IU's shooters.

Biggest Surprise… it was a pleasant surprise as well, and it's that Matt Roth was aggressive offensively. The freshman guard came off the bench and was 4-of-10 from the floor, including a 4-of-9 effort from 3-point range. He attempted a couple of 3-pointers from well behind the 3-point arc, knocking down one that had to be from at least 28 feet out. On a team that is loaded with guards, Roth is easily the best spot up shooter on the team, and it's hard to fathom the notion that anyone else is going to shoot a higher percentage from deep. It's unclear whether he was instructed to look for his shot a little bit more or if he came to that conclusion on his own, but that's a good sign for this team. His ability to stretch defenses well beyond the 3-point arc will create more space for Pritchard and others to operate around the bucket and in the mid-range.

What I Found Most Impressive… Indiana came up with three straight defensive stops at the end of the game to preserve the win. While the three-point margin might have led to some frayed nerves among the 13,000-plus who were in attendance, this result will be much more valuable than the 18-point victory IU enjoyed over the weekend against Northwestern State. As the competition continues to get more difficult the Hoosiers don't figure to be in line for too many more 20-point wins, and they're instead going to have to be able to come up with big plays down the stretch of games to win. Tom Crean's team did that Tuesday.

IU's forced Alex Young into a pair of tough 3-point attempts in the final minute, and the Hoosiers also corralled both defensive rebounds. After having issues on the boards against Northwestern State Indiana didn't give up an offensive rebound in the game's final six minutes against IUPUI, coming down with six caroms during that stretch. It was a valuable learning experience for Crean's team, one that will come in handy in upcoming games when IU finds itself in other close contests. The fact IU made the plays it needed to make will be a source of confidence the next time it finds itself in a similar situation.

What I Found Most Concerning… The Hoosiers had a bit of a scare at the 8:15 mark of the second half when point guard Verdell Jones went down in a heap underneath the IU basket. The 6'5" freshman had to be helped off the court with an apparent ankle injury and was unable to return. The injury initially looked more serious, though, than it apparently turned out to be. Afterward, Crean said Jones was in the locker room eating pizza and didn't think the injury would be anything that would keep Jones from being back on the floor when IU takes on Notre Dame in the first round of the Maui Invitational on Monday.

Turning Point: The game wasn't decided until the final seconds, but Indiana got itself back in the game when it abandoned its early 3-point barrage and instead looked to get the ball inside to Pritchard. IU attempted five 3-pointers in the game's first four minutes and quickly found itself in a 6-0 hole. IUPUI still held a six-point lead at 18-12 with 7:30 remaining in the opening half, but that's when IU started working it in to Pritchard. It started with a conventional 3-point play to cut the IUPUI lead to three, and Pritchard then added a putback basket and then a dunk on a nice feed from Malik Story. That put IU back on top, and IUPUI would never lead again.

Quotable: "They can say what they want about Tom Crean struggling, not a lot of teams are going to come in here and win. He's doing a solid job with those kids." – IUPUI Coach Ron Hunter

"You saw two young teams try to find themselves at the end." – Hunter

"You have to learn how not to lose before you learn how to win. Tonight, the bottom line was we were playing into their hands if we lived on the perimeter shooting jump shots…we needed to get the ball to the middle and play out of the middle." – IU Coach Tom Crean

"Every game could be different in what's the best way for us to win. There will be some night where we shoot 35 3s, there's going to be some night we might not shoot any, there will be some nights we're in a zone, there will be some nights we're all man. It all changes and it's good for them to learn how to do that." – Crean

"(on Daniel Moore) Him and Brett are similar. Daniel is really explosive and brings a lot of energy off the bench. He can get the crowd up with a play, and he also makes plays, he has great vision and is really quick." – Tom Pritchard

Randon Notes: When Kyle Taber hit a 3-pointer at the 13:26 mark of the second half it not only gave IU a 43-40 lead, but it was also the senior's first ever attempt from behind the arc. "I didn't know he had never taken a 3," Crean said. "It looked pretty good, didn't it?"…not only did Pritchard become the first IU freshman to ever start his career with back-to-back double-doubles, but he also became the first IU player in any class to start the season with two straight double-doubles since Jared Jeffries did it during the 2001-02 season...IUPUI missed its final 11 shots of the second half, resulting in a 19-2 Hoosier run. The start of the second half was a different story, as the Jaguars connected on 11 of their first 13 shots to close to 48-47 with 11:57 remaining…after scoring just 20 points in the first half, IUPUI scored 20 points in the first 6 ½ minutes of the second half.


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