IU's freshmen duo helps Hoosiers beat IL

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 15, 2018

Indiana: The Hoosiers continue to build momentum as the season winds down.

- Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) February 15, 2018You could argue that every returning IU player except for Newkirk is better than previous year, with a few guys taking major leaps.

"(Juwan is) out as reliable as you can get", Miller said.

IN (15-2, 8-7) received a big boost from the bench in this victory. They did a fantastic job making big plays. He had 14 points on 5-of-6 from the field. "But I have a hard time imagining there's an impactful player on a team that's done as much as him for us".

The Hoosiers turned it over eight times in the first half, and opened the second half with three quick turnovers. Add to that Durham's 2-of-2 night from beyond the 3-point arc and Smith's two offensive boards, and it was enough to help lift the Hoosiers to their third straight win. Smith had 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

Miller was particularly happy with the effort he got from his two freshmen.

Just like Durham, Smith's role has vacillated throughout the season.

And Smith scored in double figures for the fifth time this season and only the third since November 15 as well. Miller said postgame that he believes this is the best IN has been playing all season.

"Freshmen, they go through ups and downs and good starts, bad games", Archie Miller said. "That's what a freshman season is". But moments like tonight, hard-fought win where guys make winning plays, they stick with you - that's how you learn how to win.

Durham said learning from mistakes has helped them grasp the defense and play at the level they are right now.

IN is in its first year under coach Archie Miller. The Hoosiers are led in both scoring and rebounding by Juwan Morgan.

In this drought, IN managed to continue scoring. Durham scored five straight points and Johnson capped the burst with a 3-pointer to give IN a 26-14 lead with 7:24 to play.

Playing one of his best games of conference play, Durham finished with 14 points on five of six shooting. Durham's 14 points were the most in a Big Ten game this season, while Smith's output was his most since that infamous 20-point performance on January 6th against Minnesota. Morgan finished with 14 points and ten rebounds, including five blocks and four steals. The three pointer from Johnson capped off an 18-2 run and sent the Hoosiers into the third media timeout with a 26-14 lead.

IL never trailed by fewer than seven the rest of the way.

IL trailed by 10 points at the half but made a strong push over the first six minutes of the second half to trail 47-45 after Black's 3-pointer.

It was still a two-point game with 12:26 to play at 51-49 following a basket by Kipper Nichols. "And both games played a little bit the same way except I thought we were better on the glass tonight and we made our free-throws".

IU finished 20-of-29 at the free-throw line.

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