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Indiana basketball defense disappears in blowout loss to Auburn

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Indiana Basketball
Indiana basketball players Kel'el Ware, CJ Gunn, Malik Reneau, Gabe Cupps and Mackenzie Mgbako huddle during Indiana's 28 point loss to Auburn. ©Indiana Athletics

Indiana basketball was embarrassed on the national stage once again in a 28-point loss to Auburn on Saturday at Holiday Hoopsgiving in Atlanta.

The defense of Indiana was non-existent, allowing a season-high 104 points to Auburn.

The 104 points is only the second time a Mike Woodson-led Indiana basketball team has allowed over 100, the only other occurrence was a double-overtime loss against Syracuse in 2021 when the Hoosiers allowed 112 points in a loss.

Six different Auburn players scored in double figures against the Hoosiers, who could not buy a stop. Aden Holloway and Jaylin Williams led the way each scoring 24 points for the Tigers in the win.

“I’m not happy with the way we played tonight. I mean it’s kind of like a carbon copy of our UConn game where they couldn’t score, we couldn’t score and it was back and forth, and then finally we just caved in,” Mike Woodson said about the loss. That’s something we gotta get better in that area in terms of putting a 40-minute ballgame [together].”

After a hot start from the beyond the arc had the Hoosiers up 22-10 with 12:54 left in the 1st half, the momentum completely flipped and it was all Auburn the rest of the day. Auburn closed out the half outscoring Indiana by 30, closing out the half on a 42-12 run.

Indiana opened the second half the same way they opened the game, they came out with a punch, opening the half on a 10-3 run.

Then as they did in the first half, Auburn punched back and the Hoosiers had no answer. Auburn outscored them by 17 after the initial Indiana run and coasted to a blowout win.

Auburn’s ball pressure stalled the Indiana offense, forcing 12 turnovers which allowed Auburn to get out in transition. Auburn scored 20 fast break points and 15 points of turnovers in the win.

“They didn’t do anything differently than we thought they would do,” Woodson said. “They pressed us right from the start … I don’t know if fatigue set in … we just didn’t execute in certain situations.”

Indiana only forced three turnovers as Auburn had no issues on the offensive end. The Tigers finished with 25 assists with Jalen Williams leading the way with seven.

Auburn was able to score at all three levels and had no issues attacking the Indiana defense and even beat Indiana at their own game, outscoring the Hoosiers in the paint 32-30.

The Hoosiers were out-toughed in the loss as they struggled to match Auburn’s physicality and settled for jump shots. The Hoosiers attempted a season-high 17 three-point attempts and made a season-high six threes.

Auburn made 14 threes, shooting 48.3% from beyond the arc, and consistently got good looks from deep. Four different Auburn players made multiple threes in the win as the Hoosiers had no answer for Auburn’s offense.

Indiana was not perfect on the offense end, but the 76 points they scored was their third-highest total of the season. The Hoosiers’ play on the defensive end killed Indiana.

“I got to get us in a better position especially … when we gotta play Kansas,” Woodson said. “We got a week to prepare, I gotta get us in a better place where we can put a 40-minute ball game together.”

Indiana is in the fourth game of a critical stretch of the season and is now 2-1, with wins over Maryland and Michigan. Their matchup with Kansas will complete the stretch before they head into the easier part of their non-conference schedule.

Indiana will have a perfect chance to redeem themselves against Kansas, but if they play like they did in Atlanta it could be a long day for the Hoosiers.

Indiana has proven they can bounce back from a bad loss already after winning four straight games after their blowout loss to UConn.

“At the end of the day, it’s a long season. One game won’t determine how we play,” Reneau said. “We bounced back from the UConn game … we are going back to the drawing board.”

SEE ALSO: ‘We just caved in’: There’s no way around it — Indiana basketball gets embarrassed again on a national stage

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Drew Rosenberg is staff writer for HoosierIllustrated.com and hosts 'The Talkin' Bout the Hoosiers Podcast' covering Indiana University athletics. Drew is a senior, studying Sports Media and will graduate from the Indiana University Media School in the spring of 2024.

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