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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, January 06, 2019 6:50 pm

No. 21 Indiana falls to No. 2 Michigan, 74-63, snaps seven-game win streak

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

ANN ARBOR, Michigan –

How it Happened

For the first time in several games, the Hoosiers avoided the disastrous opening minutes that have so-often characterized their performances this season. Michigan got off to fast start, especially on offense, but Indiana matched the Wolverines, at least for several minutes. When Aljami Durham drained a 3-pointer with 15:40 left in the half, it was 11-9 Wolverines.

Then came the Michigan onslaught. Unfortunately for Indiana, Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford each picked up two fouls within minutes of the opening tip and they had to sit down for several minutes. Without them, Indiana's offense was impotent and its defense was porous. The Wolverines ripped off a lightning-quick 12-0 run to take command of the game and didn't slow down even when Morgan and Langford returned. When Brandon Johns Jr. scored with 8:49 left, Michigan's lead ballooned to 19 at 32-13 and the Wolverines were a remarkable 13 of 16 from the field.

At that point, the Hoosiers looked in imminent danger of getting run out of the gym. Instead, they steadied themselves a bit and kept the deficit within a manageable – if still daunting – range. There were still too many easy baskets for the Wolverines, but they went just 5 for 15 the rest of the half and Morgan got going for the Hoosiers, finishing the first half with 10 points, albeit on 12 shots. By halftime, Michigan's lead was 44-29, but it could have been significantly more. Neither Langford nor Morgan picked up a third foul despite playing most of the half, giving the Hoosiers a shot in the second 20 minutes.

Early in the second half, the Hoosiers made a concerted effort to get the ball inside to Morgan in the post. It worked for the most part as Morgan made several tough basket and drew three fouls in the first several minutes of the half. With Michigan struggling to make anything on offense, the Hoosiers crept closer and a Langford corner 3 cut the deficit to 11 with about 16 minutes left. 

As the half wore on, the Hoosiers remained within striking distance. Despite a disappointing amount of layups rolling off the rim for Indiana, the visitors crept closer and closer. When Michigan extended its lead back to 15 at one juncture, Morgan responded with a powerful layup plus a foul and hit the free throw. Then Devonte Green drained a deep 3 from the top of the key to make it a 6-0 run and slice the deficit to single digits with 12:54 left. At that point, Michigan's crowd sensed the lead was slipping a bit and got loud again after being silent much of the half, but the Hoosiers warded off the extra energy and remained in the game.

The Hoosiers cut the lead to as few as seven, but in the end Michigan's defense was too good. Indiana couldn't put together a consistent stretch of offense to really put the pressure on and missed four consecutive field goal attempts at one crucial juncture with about six minutes left. That was enough to keep the Wolverines comfortably in front and Indiana never really got close enough to make it tense. The Hoosiers battled down the stretch, but they'd dug themselves too big a hole in the first half.

Player of the Game: Juwan Morgan

The main reason Indiana was able to make this a game in the second half was because of Morgan's strong presence in the post. Michigan made everything difficult for the senior forward in the post, but he battled through and finished with a game-high 25 points. He wasn't his usual efficient self, going 9 of 22 from the field, but that's to be expected against the Wolverines. Morgan added six rebounds. It was fourth 20-point performance this season.

Facts and Figures

Indiana has lost in Ann Arbor three straight seasons by an average of 18.3 points. ... The Hoosiers are 1-2 against ranked opponents this season. Indiana is 0-5 against top 5 opponents under Archie Miller. ... Michigan improves to 15-0 with the win. It's the first time the Wolverines have opened the season with 15 straight wins since 2012-13 when they went to the Final Four. ... Indiana came in No. 2 in the country in field goal percentage at 52.6 percent, but shot just 43 percent from the field. ... Michigan entered the game No. 3 in the country in scoring defense, giving up just 55.1 points per contest. ... Langford came in fifth in the Big Ten in scoring at 18.3 points per game and had 17 points on 5 of 11 from the field. ... The Wolverines are tied for the conference lead with No. 8 Michigan State at 4-0. ... Indiana is 1-3 in true road games this season. ... Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole led Michigan with 18 points each. 

What's Next?

Indiana has four days off before its next game, a road matchup Friday against the Maryland Terrapins (12-3, 3-1 Big Ten) at the Xfinity Center in College Park. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on FS1. The Terrapins have won five of their last six, including a 74-72 over then-No. 24 Nebraska. They will be coming off a matchup Tuesday against Minnesota.