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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, January 28, 2018 4:40 pm

Halftime: Where are the 3s?

Dylan Sinn | The Journal Gazette

Well that wasn't what most people expected.

Purdue, which came into the game tied for the best 3-point shooting percentage in the country, missed its first seven 3's, not making one until the 5:45 mark of the first half. Some of the poor shooting can be attributed to missing open shots, but Indiana's defense also deserves credit. 

The Hoosiers have clearly focused on the perimeter at the expense of protecting the inside. As I wrote in the lead up to the game, that was the key question for Indiana's strategy: how would it defend Purdue center Isaac Haas? The answer, for most of the half, was to leave the big man on an island with Juwan Morgan and take their chances. Despite Morgan's best efforts, Haas has feasted inside, repeatedly catching lobs for easy layups, and finishing with 14 points in the half. The upside for IU, however, is the strategy has allowed it to remain glued to Purdue's shooters on the perimeter, forcing tough shots.

Twice I can remember, the Hoosiers sent a second man at Haas after he caught the ball. Once, he passed out of it and Purdue ended up with a wide open dunk. The second time, he passed out of it, and Dakota Mathias buried a wide-open 3 after Indiana missed a rotation. It's safe to say that is probably not a great strategy for Indiana.

Robert Johnson and Juwan Morgan both had big first halves, as they had to in order for IU to be in the game. The pair combined for 24 points, and IU leads at the break 37-35. The Hoosiers' 14-4 lead was the largest deficit Purdue has faced since its 16-game win streak began.