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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, December 31, 2016 12:51 pm

Hoosiers no match for Cardinals in 2nd straight loss

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – In a matchup of a highly-touted offense and imposing defense, Louisville's suffocating length and intensity prevailed.

No. 16 Indiana looked nothing like the offense that entered fourth in the country in points per possession and got pounded by the sixth-ranked Cardinals on Saturday, 77-62 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the final non-conference game for each side.

The Hoosiers (10-4) have lost two straight games for the first time since the 2014-15 season, and they set season lows for points and shooting percentage (32 percent) in a performance that could raise further questions about their preparedness for Big Ten play.

Louisville (12-2) took control at the end of the first half, a development reminiscient of the last time the Hoosiers played in Indianapolis, where Butler beat them at the Crossroads Classic two weeks ago in more of a high-scoring game.

This one was a slugfest from the start, and Indiana kept up early, trailing only 25-24 after OG Anunoby dunked with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first half. But the Cardinals outscored them 14-3 the rest of the way to enter intermission with a 39-27 advantage.

The Hoosiers fell behind by 15 early in the second half and got as close as six before Louisville ran away again. Donovan Mitchell, the Cardinals' shooting guard, exploded for 17 points in the second half and finished with 25.

Anunoby led Indiana with 14 points, while James Blackmon Jr. finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds. De'Ron Davis, who started at power forward in place of Anunoby for unknown reasons, finished with eight points and eight boards.

Robert Johnson (nine points), Thomas Bryant (eight) and Josh Newkirk (six) were among the IU starters who struggled.

In an unexpected absence, backup guard Devonte Green sat out with an apparent injury to his left leg. The freshman sat on Indiana's bench with his left foot in a protective boot.