CHICAGO, Ill. (WDRB) — If you wondered why the Indiana University basketball team came to the Big Ten Tournament wishing, hoping and praying for an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, Archie Miller’s team provided a powerful reminder for more than 32 minutes Thursday afternoon at the United Center.
Missed three-point shots (IU made a flurry late in the second half to finish 9 for 25).
Crazy two-point shots.
Blown defensive assignments.
A lack of toughness around the rim.
Turnovers (16 for the game).
Sporadic offensive creativity.
With 7 1/2 minutes to play, the Hoosiers trailed by 20. They lost 79-75.
They remembered how they played while winning their last four games against Wisconsin, Michigan State, Illinois and Rutgers. Or at least they started making shots. Sharing the ball. Attacking the rim.
But too late.
Archie Miller's team cut Ohio State's lead to 72-69, but three was as close as they got as their four-game winning streak ended. Keyshawn Woods scored for the Buckeyes to push the lead back to five.
Indiana misfired on its next possession, nearly losing the ball before Evan Fitzner was whistled for an offensive foul. Ohio State got to the finish line from there.
Indiana led for 41 seconds, never by more than a point. They slipped behind less than three minutes into the game and stayed behind. They trailed by as many as 20, inspiring groans from the several thousand IU fans, who outnumbered the Buckeye faithful at least 3 to 1.
The Buckeyes took the ball where they wanted when they wanted. They kept the Hoosiers off their spots — and out of the lane. They made Romeo Langford look like a guy who should return for another season of college basketball, even though there is less than a 0 percent chance of that happening.
Langford finished with 9 points, making four of a dozen shots.
The Hoosiers were led by Devonte Green (26 points on 8 for 10 shooting from distance) and Juwan Morgan (12).
The Hoosiers slumped to 17-15. They figure to draw a tournament invitation Sunday night but the invitation will be to the NIT, for the second time in three seasons.
Not enough quality wins. Far too many losses, regardless of their two victories against Michigan State, Wisconsin, Marquette and Louisville.
It was a flat ending to an uninspiring season that featured 12 losses in 13 games to a season that began with unbridled optimism after the Hoosiers won 12 of their first 14 games and returned to the AP Top 25.
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