Indiana lost at Assembly Hall for the first time since spring of 2015, as Nebraska’s unearthly shooting, an inability to execute, and injury combined to create an upset. Here’s three things, if you actually want to think about this any longer than you already have.
Another slow start
Boy howdy, was the first half of this game a mess. Nebraska started out shooting 37.5% from three-point range (they were averaging 28.6% going into tonight, and 25.4% in the last seven games) and at one point they were leading by twelve. OG Anunoby appeared at one point to take another knock to his ankle. We turned the ball over ten times.
Pretty much everything was a mess before Indiana started getting hot from behind the arc. Robert Johnson hit two, OG hit one, and Devonte Green hit another to take it from a 32-24 Nebraska lead to a 36-32 IU lead before the Huskers finally called a timeout. Nebraska hit one free throw, but that lead basically held up into halftime.
A slow everything
The second half didn’t go any better. Nebraska kept hitting shots they had no business hitting (their unreasonably high three-point percentage actually climbed after halftime, going over 50%) and IU kept...well, playing like they have in most of their games that weren’t against top-three teams this year. The halftime lead evaporated and turned into a deficit. Juwan Morgan got hurt.
For a time it looked like the team would be fired up by that enough to pull out the win. But they kept missing shots, Nebraska kept hitting them, and after the eight hundredth turnover and some free throws, the seal was on the result.
Issues in the post
One of this team’s biggest strengths so far this year has been depth and versatility at the forward positions. Juwan Morgan’s been kind of the poster child for both – he can play basically any position, and play them well. He takes pressure off of Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby, not to mention the guards, with his ability to play in the post and on the perimeter.
But Jordy Tshimanga’s foul – pulling Bryant down to the floor while going for a rebound, with no apparent intent but a flagrant foul nonetheless – throws all that into question. Morgan did return to the bench, eventually, heavily wrapped up and iced down. But with his injury history (including to that same shoulder) it’s hard not to assume the worst. And it’s hard to see this team reaching its potential without Juwan Morgan playing a big role. If he’s out for a while, that spells big trouble.