Indiana vs. Seton Hall: 5 takeaways from the Hoosiers’ loss
What unfolded before 8,400-plus fans at the Prudential Center Wednesday couldn’t have surprised first-year Indiana men’s basketball coach Archie Miller, as his team fell to Seton Hall 84-68 in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
The Hoosiers (1-2) showed some fight, for awhile, but the issues that have plagued Miller’s team early this season all rose to the forefront, as the Pirates (3-0) used a quick 10-0 run to open the second half and never looked back.
Here are five takeaways from the game.
DAVIS AIN’T READY
Miller knew that Indiana lacked depth in its ability to defend what he called “one of the toughest teams – toughness wise” anywhere in the country, and he ended up being prophetic.
Indiana sophomore center De’Ron Davis was exposed, just as Miller had feared he would be against the big and experienced Seton Hall frontcourt.
“As we play bigger and better teams,” Miller said in a press conference Tuesday, “(Davis) is going to have to really be smart about how he approaches post defense.”
On Wednesday, the young big man showed that he still lacks in that basketball intellect, experience and ability to defend without fouling.
Davis was limited to just 15 minutes and fouled out of the game.
“He gets tired quickly,” Miller said of Davis. “We have to recognize how long he can go before he gets tired. When he does get tired, we have to get him out. That’s important in terms of fouling.”
“When you’re fatigued, you’re going to make mistakes.”
The Hoosiers lack size and experience behind Davis, so when he is ineffective, Indiana is going to struggle against “bigger and better teams,” as Miller alluded.
Davis scored a basket to open the second half, but Seton Hall quickly responded with a 10-0 run over the next few minutes to put the game away.
Davis finished with just four points on three shot attempts and outrebounded Miller, who didn’t play, by one.
“We’re hopeful that De’Ron can log big games for us in terms of minutes,” Miller said, “because you can see he’s a presence down there.”
Perhaps he will develop into that “presence,” but he wasn’t on Wednesday.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Miller, as well as the Indiana players, has repeatedly made the statement throughout the preseason that every player is sort of starting at the same point in terms of knowledge of the new coaching staff’s system, as well as receiving an opportunity to play.
It is clear that freshman guard Al Durham and freshman forward Justin Smith are taking advantage of that opportunity.
After combining for just 27 minutes in the Hoosiers’ opening game with Indiana State, the two were given extensive minutes (somewhat due to injuries to forwards Juwaun Morgan and Collin Hartman) in Indiana’s game Sunday against Howard, as they logged 57 combined minutes.
Morgan was able to bounce back from an ankle sprain and play 28 minutes against Seton Hall, but Hartman remains out indefinitely, so Smith is getting more and more time, as is Durham.
“He’s going to get thrown into the fire,” Miller said of Smith recently. “For him, that’s awesome because he’s going to get live reps.”
Smith and Durham both started Wednesday and played a combined 60 minutes. They each scored 10 points.
The experience will prove to be invaluable down the road, but the growing pains will be frustrating for the Hoosier Nation to endure.
During the Pirates’ 10-0 run to put the game away early in the second half, Smith showed his inexperience as he fouled the shooter once, turned the ball over and also missed a shot.
“You have to get him in there and play,” Miller said of Smith. “When you’re thrust into the fire, you’re going to live with some mistakes.”
Indiana did on Wednesday.
Durham didn’t commit a single turnover against Seton Hall, but Smith had four miscues with the ball.
NEWKIRK WILL BE FINE
Coming into Wednesday’s game, fifth-year guard Josh Newkirk was in an early shooting slump.
Through Indiana’s first two games, he had missed 75 percent of his 16 shots overall, as well as 9 of 11 3-point attempts. However, Miller wasn’t overly concerned about those numbers.
“Right now,” Miller said following the Howard game, “early in the season, probably some of (Newkirk’s) percentage-wise is him probably thinking is it a good shot or bad shot? He has to get away from that.”
Newkirk did Wednesday, as he made all three of his shot attempts, including both 3-point shots.
He finished with eight points, but did turn the ball over four times in 20 minutes.
“As long as he takes good shots, inside-out ones, the ones that are open,” Miller said, “he’ll make it. I’m not going to tell Josh to stop shooting.”
RELATED STORY:Indiana vs. Seton Hall: 5 things Archie Miller said
MORGAN HEALTHY AND HELPFUL
Until Hartman can return from a groin injury, Indiana is going to lack for some degree of size and ability, particularly defensively, so the fact that the 6-foot-7 Morgan could return from an ankle injury and play nearly 30 minutes Wednesday was very, very helpful, especially given Davis’ lack of effectiveness.
Morgan only scored eight points, but he did grab a team-best seven rebounds and gave Indiana a body to defend the massive Seton Hall frontline.
SAME OL’ ISSUE
Indiana State currently ranks as the nation’s top 3-point shooting team, which isn’t surprising after facing the Hoosiers’ perimeter defense.
Indiana had allowed the Sycamores and Howard to make a combined 30 3-point shots.
“If you give up three’s at the rate we’re giving them up,” Miller said following the win against Howard, “it’s not a good thing.”
It wasn’t on Wednesday.
The Pirates shot just 17 3-point shots, but they were able to make nine of them (53 percent). For the season, Indiana’s defense is allowing the opposition to shoot 50.6 percent from 3-point range.
“I just think doing our (defensive) job,” Miller explained, “proper technique, communication, we can be better. I think that will help us.”
Indiana fans will have to wait and see on that.
For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis on Twitter at Tom101010 and on Facebook at Thomas Davis.