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Indiana basketball survives against Morehead State as Anthony Walker shines in the win



Indiana Basketball
Dec 19, 2023; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Anthony Walker (4) shoots the ball while Morehead State Eagles guard George Marshall (12) defends at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. © Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana basketball narrowly survived a close one against Morehead State on Tuesday night, winning 69-68 at Assembly Hall.

Indiana had one of their worst performances of the season and trailed most of the game as a result. The Hoosiers trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half but a 17-0 run helped them rally back and eventually pull out the close victory.

Senior forward Anthony Walker was the lone bright spot for Indiana in what was an all-around poor effort from the Hoosiers.

“I really couldn’t tell you specifically, but it shouldn’t have happened,” Walker said about the slow start. “We know that, and we obviously grouped together and pulled together and pulled out with a win, but this is a good lesson for us. They’re a good team. They play hard. They’re well-coached. Just being able to come together when we did get punched in the face early in the game and finish the game is something that means a lot to us.”

In a game where most of the Hoosiers did not show up until the final ten minutes, Walker came out with energy from the get-go. After checking in off the bench, Walker scored 8 points in his first three minutes of action.

“Phenomenal. He deserves the MVP tonight,” Mike Woodson said about Walker’s performance. “He played 22 minutes, had 18 points, nine rebounds. By far his best game since he’s been wearing an Indiana uniform. We needed every bit of it to win this game tonight.

Walker’s 18 points and 9 rebounds were both Indiana career-highs for him and while he did not start the game, he was in to finish the game for the Hoosiers and his effort on both ends was huge in the victory.

“It gives me the utmost confidence, just knowing that Woody trusts me down the stretch in specific games and just knowing that I always have to be ready, and that’s for anybody on the roster, whether that’s the starting five or the last man coming off the bench,” Walker said about his role. “Just being able to play well, all glory to my teammates, all glory to Coach for keeping me on the floor and just my effort and the work that I’ve put in.”

Indiana found themselves trailing by as many as 15 in the second half but they showed resilience down the stretch. After going down 64-49, the Hoosiers closed the game on a 20-4 run to pull ahead and secure the victory.

“He gets the game ball based on what he did tonight. But again, I’m not taking anything away from Morehead,” Woodson said about the win. “They played a great game. I’m just pleased that we didn’t quit, could have easily thrown in the towel and said, hey, we’ll get ready for the next game, but we didn’t do that. We kept fighting and was able to get the win.”

Indiana does not always need 18 points from Walker, but on a night where Kel’el Ware, Mackenzie Mgbako and Malik Reneau combined for only 29 points while shooting 9/26 from the field, the Hoosiers needed someone to step up and Walker did just that.

“That’s just a part of being on this team. We know everyone is capable of being the most scorer or the most rebounder, whatever the case may be in a given night,” Walker said about being ready to contribute in multiple ways. “Not just me being ready but everyone coming off the bench and the starters that play most of the minutes. Just being ready, making sure that Coach Woody trusts me and always being ready for the moment.”

While Walker may not always stuff the stat sheet, he is one the most vocal guys on the team and his leadership has been extremely important for a team that has so many new faces including himself. Tonight was a perfect example of how his leadership and experience can benefit Indiana basketball.

“Just to pick it up, just to pick the energy up. They’re not a lesser team because of whether they’re D-I, D-II, mid-major, whatever the case may be,” Walker said when asked about his message to the team. “Anybody can beat anybody on any given night, especially in college basketball. Just getting our energy up, getting our main guys going, getting them more comfortable is something that I took pride in and something that I did.”

Despite it only being his first year in Bloomington, Walker’s experience will provide a big boost for the team as they head into conference play.

SEE ALSO: Indiana basketball was lifeless until late run sparked major comeback win — but it doesn’t take away the overall performance

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Drew Rosenberg is staff writer for 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.