Hoosier State Hoops: Indiana and Purdue’s Week-in Review (Week of 3/25)

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Over the last week, the Indiana Hoosiers shocked the country and might have entered themselves back into the bubble conversation with wins over #19 Wisconsin Tuesday and #6 Michigan State Saturday with the scores of 75-73 and 63-62, respectively.

Indiana, in their first game, took on the Wisconsin Badgers in what was a dog fight throughout. Both teams left everything out on the floor in the overtime game. Romeo Langford, with under a second to go, was able to get to the hole and put the layup in to win the game.

“Finally I hit one,” Langford said, “I know that past two times I have had it in my hand at the end of the game and it did not go as we planned. I felt like they could not stop me from getting to the rim.”

Langford’s change in approach may have come from some advice head coach Archie Miller gave him following the loss at Iowa last week.

“We talked about it after the Iowa game to not settle and take it to the rim,” Miller said. “Sometimes that is easier said than done but he made a great play.”

Langford put in 22 points on 8-17 from the field and collected seven rebounds in what was a much needed effort to beat Wisconsin.

Indiana also received some contributions from many players such as Justin Smith with 12 points and six rebounds, Juwan Morgan with 15 rebounds and nine points as well as and Rob Phinisee, who dropped in 11 points and four assists.

Meanwhile, In Phinisee’s eyes, the crowd was a huge factor in how IU snapped their five game losing streak.

“The home crowd got into it and I feel like that boosted us,” Phinisee said, “And the next man was able to step up.”

Winning games like this in the middle of February was just not working out for the Hoosiers as they could not get any wins to save their lives ,but this is a game that can help them move forward collectively.

“I think we are playing extremely hard right now,” Miller said, “But good teams make runs and being able to respond from that in the last four minutes and in the overtimes was great to see that we did not lay an egg.”

Pressuring the ball was also a huge emphasis in this game for Indiana and Miller has been pleased to see how their effort has been better since Purdue last week.

“Our guys right now understand how hard you have to play at this level this time of year and you have to keep getting better with your effort as you can’t take a step down.”

On Saturday, the #6 Michigan State Spartans came into Bloomington looking to get closer to a Big Ten title, but the Hoosiers took it away as they won for the second time this season against the Spartans, the Hoosiers’ first sweep since the 2012-2013 season.

The player that shocked everyone was Forward Justin Smith as he led Indiana to a W with a career-high 24 points.

“I was due to hit some shots,” Smith said, “And then once I was able to hit a couple then my teammates gave me confidence to keep shooting it.”

For Indiana Coach Archie Miller, he thought the mindset of Smith was crucial for him in this game against Michigan State.

“Attitude is everything,” Miller said, “When your attitude is great and you are focused in on doing whatever you can to help then good things tend to happen and that has where Justin (Smith) has changed his mindset after Iowa.”

Devonte Green off the bench hit some crucial shots and finished with 13 points after he only had two points in the entire first half.

“It always feels good to make some shots,” Green said, “So I just stepped up and made shots.”

At one point Michigan State was able to go up 12 points in the second half but it did not phase Indiana from the main objective, according to Rob Phinisee who played stellar defense against Cassius Winston.

“We stayed together and the coaching staff kept encouraging us,” Phinisee said, “We stayed with it as we have been in that position before.”

On the glass, the Indiana Hoosiers were dominant as they had a 15-5 edge with offensive rebounds and were able to steal the ball ten times from Michigan State, which allowed them to take Michigan State out of what they wanted to do.

“We had to fight to hang in,” Miller said, “I thought defensively we were much better in the second half and as the 12 minute, 8 minute mark started to come around, you could feel our guys have a different vibe about them in terms of their energy level.”

Miller continued by saying this week was good in terms of their competition as they have been more dialed in now and they have now gotten back to work over the last week.


Purdue has now taken the lead over Michigan State for first place in the Big Ten as they blew out Illinois and Ohio State this week with scores of 73-56 and 86-51, respectively.

The 7’3 big man Matt Haarms put in a really successful performance as he was dominating with 21 points on 8-8 shooting and grabbed ten rebounds with 5 blocks as he led the charge up front against the talented center Giorgi Bezhanishvili.

“We had to move the basketball,” Painter said, “And he was going to get good looks and Matt has played really well here as he has done a better job rebounding the basketball and scoring over the basketball right now.”

Haarms in the postgame conference also had a very similar to answer to how they got him good looks in this game.

“We have been getting better at executing our offensive game plan.” Haarms also said that they have been cutting hard and working to make catches off passes easier.

Purdue’s star Carsen Edwards after a rough patch last week delivered a huge performance that Purdue fans were accustomed to see from him as he finished with 23 points on 8-14 shooting and played the entire game.

“We needed him to make plays,” Painter said, “And I thought tonight was his best defensive effort of the year and that is what I am pleased about more than anything.”

Even though Purdue was able to pull away in the second half, the level of respect Purdue has with Illinois was shown with Painter in the postgame conference.

“This was a dogfight,” Painter said, “That’s the way it is when you play (Illinois Coach Brad Underwood) teams.. When you go to play Illinois, you have to prepare differently.”

The win over Illinois is now Purdue’s ninth straight win against them since 2008 as they also maintained a four game win streak.

However, it got extended to five games on Saturday as Purdue on their senior night just dominated Ohio State 86-51.

Carsen Edwards, who may have played his last home game at Purdue, kept the consistency from earlier in the week and dropped 25 points on 9-16 shooting in the win.

“I took what the defense gave me and I was able to make some shots,” Edwards said, “I was trying to come out aggressive and I was able to move without the ball. I got some good passes from my teammates with the screens they set for me.”

Coach Matt Painter followed up on that and said, “You take what the defense gives you and play off of it. When he moves the basketball and gets two people on the basketball and gets it out of his hands quick then he puts people in a bind.”

Freshman forward Aaron Wheeler contributed in a big way with ten points and seven rebounds and the two seniors, Ryan Cline and Grady Eifert, each had eight points.

In this game, Purdue put up a ridiculous 52 percent from 3-point land with 11-21 shooting from distance.

Painter was more than pleased with the effort in the night’s game, especially in the first half.

“Obviously we shot the basketball well,” Painter said, “I just thought our guys did a great job of executing and we did a great job on the boards.”

As next week is approaching, Indiana will go play on the road Thursday against Illinois and Sunday against Rutgers for Senior night. The next two games for Purdue will be on the road as they will go to Minnesota Tuesday and Saturday they will play Northwestern.

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