Ugly first half dooms IU as No. 2 Purdue dominates Hoosiers in Assembly Hall

Zach Osterman
Indianapolis Star
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BLOOMINGTON – IU fell badly flat in its rivalry visit from No. 2 Purdue on Tuesday, losing 87-66. Here are three reasons why:

First-half disaster

It would be difficult to imagine anything that could have gone worse for Indiana in the opening 20 minutes Tuesday.

The Hoosiers saw three players in foul trouble. They missed 10 of their 12 3-point attempts. They were outscored 14-1 at the free-throw line.

Zach Edey controlled the paint, Purdue fired away from behind the arc and IU staggered into halftime down 51-29.

Nothing went well. The decision to leave Kel’el Ware and Mackenzie Mgbako on the bench with foul trouble backfired. The arc treated the Hoosiers as poorly as the whistle. Xavier Johnson picked up a flagrant foul, his second in three games.

At the intermission, Assembly Hall mustered a few boos, but mostly, the sold-out crowd sat in stunned silence at the dominance it had just witnessed.

Jan 16, 2024; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers guard Braden Smith (3) passes the ball while Indiana Hoosiers guard Trey Galloway (32) defends in the first half at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

An answer, too late

Indiana did its best to atone for those first-half sins after the break, exiting the locker room on a tear that turned into a 17-7 run.

The Hoosiers started draining some of the 3s that hadn’t gone down in the first half. They played with an urgency in transition Purdue did not immediately match. Ware’s length bothered Edey. All of it brought the building back into the game.

IU’s wave crested after roughly seven minutes, when the Hoosiers (12-6, 4-3) cut the lead to as few as nine points. But fouls, free throws, Edey’s dominance and Purdue’s own quality elsewhere — Fletcher Loyer was particularly impactful — made the mountain too steep to climb.

Indiana had left itself too much to do. The Boilermakers got their balance back, and regained control.

A humbling defeat

In the end, whatever commendation Indiana earned for its second-half fight, it could not outweigh the ugliness of those first 20 minutes.

This was, by any measure, IU’s most important game of the season so far — a rivalry meeting at home with the kind of opponent that could provide the foundation for an NCAA tournament resume. Instead, facing a Purdue (16-2, 5-2) team fully in the mood to atone for last season’s sweep in the series, the Hoosiers fell badly flat.

One of Mike Woodson’s greatest initial achievements in taking over head-coaching duties at his alma mater was restoring Indiana’s competitiveness in this rivalry after too many years outside the win column against Purdue. Now, his most immediate task is picking IU up from its heaviest home loss to the Boilermakers in more than a decade.

It will take some doing.

Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.

No. 2 Purdue basketball vs. Indiana stats

PURDUE (16-2): Kaufman-Renn 1-3 1-2 3, Edey 11-23 11-12 33, Jones 7-12 0-0 17, Loyer 5-6 5-7 19, Smith 2-14 1-2 5, Gillis 2-3 2-2 6, Morton 1-1 0-0 2, Heide 0-0 0-0 0, C.Furst 0-0 2-2 2, Berg 0-0 0-0 0, Colvin 0-0 0-0 0, Waddell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-62 22-27 87.

INDIANA (12-6): Mgbako 6-10 1-3 15, Reneau 4-10 0-2 8, Ware 2-6 0-0 5, Cupps 2-5 0-0 5, Galloway 6-13 2-2 17, Johnson 0-5 0-0 0, Gunn 3-7 0-0 7, Walker 2-4 0-0 4, Sparks 2-5 1-2 5, Banks 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-65 4-9 66.

Halftime—Purdue 51-29. 3-Point Goals_Purdue 7-19 (Loyer 4-4, Jones 3-7, Gillis 0-1, Kaufman-Renn 0-1, Smith 0-6), Indiana 8-24 (Galloway 3-7, Mgbako 2-4, Cupps 1-2, Gunn 1-2, Ware 1-3, Johnson 0-2, Reneau 0-2, Walker 0-2). Rebounds_Purdue 41 (Edey 14), Indiana 32 (Reneau 9). Assists_Purdue 14 (Smith 9), Indiana 14 (Galloway 5). Total Fouls_Purdue 12, Indiana 19.

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