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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Indiana forward Juwan Morgan shoots against Michigan center Jon Teske in the second half Sunday. Morgan led the Hoosiers with 25 points.

Monday, January 07, 2019 1:00 am

Michigan 74, Indiana 63

Slow start hinders Hoosiers again

Michigan takes early 19-point lead, ends IU win streak

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – All season, Indiana has made a habit of starting games slowly before recovering and outplaying their opponents down the stretch.

Against teams like Central Arkansas and Illinois, that works. Against an elite opponent like No. 2 Michigan, it's a different story.

The undefeated Wolverines raced out to a 19-point first-half lead over the No. 21 Hoosiers on Sunday at Crisler Center and held on to win 74-63 despite 25 points from Juwan Morgan and a valiant second-half rally from Indiana in front of an announced crowd of 12,707.

Romeo Langford added 17 points, including 11 in the second half, and six rebounds.

“We're trying to find a way to start the game a little bit better,” coach Archie Miller said. “To be honest with you, we've gotta be a little bit tougher. We're starting games not tough enough. ... We're not ready to be tough enough at the start of games.

“We take a punch, maybe a few too many, and then we get up off the ground and get going. ... On the road, you're not going to be able to do that in this league.”

The loss snapped a seven-game win streak for the Hoosiers (12-3, 3-1 Big Ten) and dropped them to 1-3 in true road games this season. The Wolverines remain undefeated, reaching 15-0 for just the third time in program history.

“Michigan established themselves very quickly in this game,” Miller said. “Very quickly got us knocked on our heels.”

It was on defense where Indiana really struggled in the early going. Michigan hit everything in sight, knocking down 13 of its first 16 shots while the Hoosiers had to fight for every basket.

By the time the Wolverines' early storm ended, they were in command, up 32-13 barely 11 minutes into the game.

“Coming out of the gate, getting the start on defense is really what translates to our offense,” Morgan said. “I think coming out with a tough-minded mindset, just saying, 'We're not gonna let them score or get any easy baskets,' will really help us on offense.”

After falling behind by 19, the Hoosiers toughened and sliced the lead to 15 by halftime. At the beginning of the second half, it was Morgan who helped them make it a game. The senior forward scored repeatedly against stout defense in the post and helped the Hoosiers cut the deficit to as few as seven. He shot just 9 off 22 from the field, but led all scorers and added eight rebounds.

“Juwan Morgan is just exceptional,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “A lot of post players come in here (to Crisler Center), (Jared) Sullinger, (Cody) Zeller, but that guy (Morgan) just gets baskets. He gets under everybody.”

Down the stretch, however, the Hoosiers couldn't quite close the gap, and Michigan held on behind 18 points each from Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole. The Hoosiers, the No. 2 team in the country in field goal percentage, shot just 43 percent and made only five 3-pointers.

“I don't think we've been as consistent as we need to be to get to where we want to go,” Morgan said. “That falls on (senior) players like me and Zach (McRoberts). We've had spurts of it, but just digging ourself those holes is hard for any team to fight back from.”