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Defending 3s. Making 3s. The biggest thorn in the side of Indiana basketball shows up again despite win



Indiana basketball
The Indiana basketball program has been outscored 111-33 this season beyond the three-point line, the third year of this concerning trend. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Thursday was the final tuneup before the Indiana basketball program faced its first power-five opponents next week and it was another lackluster performance in an 89-80 win over Wright State.

The Raiders came into Thursday shorthanded, without its best player and the second-leading scorer in the entire NCAA in Trey Calvin (27.5) and that did not matter. They scored a season-high in points and a large part of that was due to their ability to hit 3s — which was the weakness of the offense this season.

Wright State entered Assembly Hall shooting just 32.3 percent from three this season, averaging just five made 3s per game. Just 19.5 percent of its points this season came from three. Thursday yielded 41.2 percent from three.

Wright State ended 11-of-26 from three on the night. They had just 10 made 3s combined in the first two games.

“Just us switching correctly and getting next to a guy before he shoots the basketball,” Indiana basketball head coach Mike Woodson said postgame. “That would help.”

Only three players made a three for the Raiders all night. Alex Huibregtse was 3-of-6, Tanner Holden was 1-of-1 and Andrew Welage was 7-of-10. That trio entered Thursday a combined 1-of-11 from three this season. Neither Huibregtse or Welage made a three in the first two games.

Huibregtse was 0-of-7 while Welage hadn’t attempted a single shot — let alone a three — this season. He hadn’t even scored in the previous two games.

Welage finished with 25 points. Holden had 24 points and Huibregtse added 15 points.

It was a significant stretch late in the first half when the Raiders grabbed all of the momentum. Down 13 points with 5:16 on the clock, Wright State went on a 21-13 run to cut the lead to six. It was a result of three 3s and two other long 2s — a total lack of concentration from the Indian basketball defense.

“We gave up three straight threes,” Woodson said. “They were sitting at 30 with about I think four on the clock, four or five on the clock. You can’t go in giving up 19 points basically is what we gave up going in at halftime. That’s something we hadn’t done since this unit has been together, a 19-point stretch in four or five minutes. That’s just too many points. They made a game out of it going in at halftime.”

Indiana was outscored 33-9 on 3s on Thursday.

Against Army, Indiana was outscored 39-12. And, Florida Gulf Coast outscored Indiana 39-12 on 3s in the opener.

In total, Indiana has been outscored 111-33 in three games on 3s.

“We haven’t put a perfect game together,” Woodson said. “The game before this game we made our free throws. We didn’t make them tonight. The three ball has been a major concern. We haven’t shot the three ball very well. So I figure if you put all those together, boy, life might be pretty good.”

On Thursday, Indiana was 3-of-16. Mackenzie Mgbako finished just 1-of-7 from three. Trey Galloway was 1-of-4. Anthony Walker was 0-for-2.

Indiana basketball is now 11-of-44 on 3s this season — 27.5 percent.

It is now the third straight season that Indiana basketball has struggled in the three-point category, on both ends. Last year, it averaged just 5.7 made 3s per game — ranked 334th in the country. IU was outscored by 189 points on 3s last season. The year before, Indiana averaged 5.9 made 3s per game — ranked 311th in the nation. It was outscored by 177 points on 3s.

“Well, it would be a major concern had we lost those three games. We won them. Be curious to see what you guys would really be saying had we lost the games,” Woodson said. ” … we’ve just got to keep working, take it a practice at a time, a game at a time and see where it leads us.”

“We’ve just got to figure out how to put a complete 40-minute game together the way I’d like to see.”

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.