LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An Indiana season that began with much promise ended in the quarterfinals of the National Invitational Tournament on Tuesday night.
The Hoosiers trailed nearly the entire game, falling 73-63 to Wichita State. They finished one win shy of a trip to New York City and Madison Square Garden that would have helped alleviate some of the disappointment of not reaching the NCAA tournament.
"You've got to give Wichita State a lot of credit," IU head coach Archie Miller said after the game. "Excellent defensive team with great size. Our inability to get to the foul line and run good offense was the big difference, and then you know, 11 made threes. Coming in the game, they weren't a great three-point shooting team ,and they had some guys really step up, especially Dexter Dennis making five of them."
IU was down seven at halftime, 36-29, then got within one at 51-50 on a three-pointer from Devonte Green. He was fouled on the shot but missed the free throw. Dennis answered with a three, and the Hoosiers never got the lead.
Markis McDuffie had 21 for the Shockers, who became the first team to advance to the NIT semi-finals by beating each of the top three seeds in their region, all on the road. Dennis added 17 for Wichita State. Indiana was led by Senior Juwan Morgan with 21 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
"You know, couldn't obviously be anywhere without him," Miller said about Morgan. "He was an outstanding player. He's an outstanding guy to be around every day. Battles hard. You know, easy to coach. Just a great guy. Great teammate. But really improved, and now he's got to rest his body and get ready for the next step, and I'm with him 110 percent this next thing. I think he a chance to be a heck of a player here for a long time at whatever level he can get to."
Al Durham added 13 and Green had 12.
Romeo Langford sat out his third straight game with a sore back, and it appears likely that he has played his last game for the Hoosiers. The freshman from New Albany is expected to enter the NBA Draft.
Indiana started the season 12-2, lost 12 of 13 during the Big Ten season then won six of their last eight to finish 19-16.
Miller was asked about the keys he's going to look at for next season.
"I haven't thought about it yet," he said. "But at the end of the day, it takes time here in the offseason to really take a deep breath. It's a long year, and then we have to make sure that our players are all on same page as we move through the spring."
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