It was great when IU knocked off #1 Kentucky. Then, to beat then #2 OSU, that was pretty sweet. Since then, things have taken a little bit of a downturn. The Big Ten Conference is one of the toughest in this country this year and there are no easy wins. But a loss to Minnesota – at home no less – and then blowing an 11 point lead. Yikes! I wasn’t able to watch the game last night and after seeing the results, I wasn’t too sad to have missed it. IU is still a good team and am I confident they will get things turned around. Hopefully this “bump in the road” will prepare them for an end of season run and on into March.
Here’s what IndyStar had to say about last night’s game:
When Indiana lost to Minnesota last week, the Hoosiers simply didn’t shoot well. When IU fell to Ohio State on Sunday, it was a dismal first half that did in the Hoosiers.
This one was more of the gift-wrapped variety.
Trying to snap a two-game losing streak, No. 11 Indiana squandered an 11-point lead in the final 7 minutes Wednesday and dropped a 70-69 decision to struggling Nebraska at the Robert Devaney Sports Center.
All of a sudden, an Indiana (15-4, 3-4 Big Ten) team that once boasted victories over the then-Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the nation on its NCAA resume is now staring at a pair of nasty losses. Nebraska and Minnesota were a combined 1-9 in Big Ten play, and each was in last place going into its game with the Hoosiers.
“We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and make sure these losses don’t start piling up,” said sophomore guard Victor Oladipo. “We felt like we got our edge back tonight. Now we have to build on that.”
Two free throws by Brian Jorge Diaz with 11 seconds to play gave the Cornhuskers their first lead since the 14-minute mark of the first half at 70-69.
Jordan Hulls hurried the ball into the frontcourt, turned the corner and had a drive to the basket. When the defense shifted over, Hulls was forced to put up an off-balance shot in the lane that he missed. The rebound went to the floor and rolled toward the IU bench; Hulls picked it up and hoisted a desperation shot at the buzzer that missed the mark.
The last possession was tough for Hulls.
The one before it, however, was even worse.
Hulls, who came in shooting 89 percent from the free throw line for the season and 88 percent for his career, had a one-and-one free throw opportunity with 23.8 seconds to play and his team clinging to a 69-68 lead. Hulls had hit his first four free throws.
This one bounced hard off the right side of the rim and was rebounded by Nebraska.
“He’s a human being and nobody is more disappointed that he is,” said IU coach Tom Crean. “But we wouldn’t trade having him at the line again. You all know that he has been phenomenal at the line. He just missed a free throw.
“I hope he gets that same opportunity here again in the near future.”
When Hulls hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 6:37 to play, Indiana led 63-52 and appeared on its way to its second true road victory in Big Ten play.
But a combination of Indiana getting careless with the ball and Nebraska getting too many second-chance opportunities proved to be IU’s undoing. The Huskers had a 10-2 edge in second-chance points and scored 16 points off of IU’s 15 turnovers. Ten of those miscues came in the second half.
“We’ve got to take care of the ball better,” Crean said.
“I think we’re going to go back and look at the film and we’re going to look at the turnovers in the second half and just see how excruciatingly painful those were for us. They turned into easy baskets for Nebraska.”
Cody Zeller led IU with 18 points but didn’t score a field goal in the final 14 minutes. Hulls was the only other Indiana player in double figures with 12.
The Hoosiers shot 51 percent from the field and hit eight 3-point baskets. They limited Nebraska (10-8, 2-5) to 37 percent shooting.
But the Cornhuskers simply hit the big shots when they needed them down the stretch. Bo Spencer led Nebraska with 23 points.