Indiana's Failure to Finish the Game Cost Them Big Time

By Anthony Lenahan
Bradley Leeb-USA Today Sports

No. 1 Indiana for the most part, dominated Illinois the entire game until the very end.  The Hoosiers were in control of the game and up by at least eight points the whole game until the final three and a half minutes.  The top team in the country’s failure to finish the game cost them an ugly loss to an unranked Fighting Illini team.

A buzzer beater on a defensive meltdown by one of the top defensive teams in the countries finished off Indiana’s meltdown in the final four minutes.  After a Victor Oladipo turnover when the Hoosiers could have had the last shot to win it, Oladipo came back and swatted Illinois’ game winner, but it went out of bounds with .9 seconds left.  That is when Indiana broke down  and allowed Tyler Griffey to get wide open for a game winning lay-up.

Not only did Indiana’s defense allow Illinois to go on a remarkable run to finish the game and eventually win it, their offense was non-existent as well.  Indiana was only able to record one field goal in the final five minutes.  The top team in the country, with all of their offensive weapons, could only score one basket when the game was in crunch time.

Turnovers killed the Hoosiers as well.  They normally don’t turn that ball over a lot, but last night they lost the game because of their turnovers.  They had 14 turnovers, but those 14 led to 28 points for Illinois compared to Indiana’s 16 points off turnovers.

Indiana outplayed Illinois, but in the end the turnovers allowed the Fighting Illini to hang in the game.  Indiana shot 50% from the field and 9-17 from behind the arc.  When you shoot 50% from the field and over 50% from behind the arc and hold your opponent to under 45% shooting, you need to win the game.

Turnovers and Indiana’s failure to finish the game cost them the game in the end.  The Hoosiers can’t afford to play like they did at the end of last night’s game if they want to make a run for the national championship.  Luckily for them it’s only the middle of the season and this loss can only make them better.

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