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‘We lost our intensity, our focus’: Indiana Basketball was embarrassed once again by Purdue

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Indiana Basketball

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – For the second time this season, Indiana basketball was embarrassed at the hands of their arch-nemesis Purdue. This time the Hoosiers suffered a 79-59 defeat at Mackey Arena.

After a promising start through the opening minutes, nothing went right for Indiana. The Hoosiers trailed 20-18 with eight minutes left in the first half, but it was all Purdue for the next 28 minutes.

“I thought we played well early. And from the 15, 10 minute mark going into the half, we just couldn’t score,” Mike Woodson said postgame. “We threw the ball away and that gave them the cushion going into halftime. Then we were so awful coming out the second half, couldn’t make shots and they capitalized on it.”

Indiana’s offense went stagnant for much of this game, including a 6:59 run in the first half without a made basket. Indiana would have been scoreless during the run if not for a single free throw from Payton Sparks.

Indiana’s leading scorer Malik Reneau struggled in the loss.

“I thought Malik tonight, he just wasn’t Malik and they had a lot to do with that from a defensive standpoint,” Woodson said. “I think he was trying to do it himself and just looked out of character. He’s been pretty solid for us this season, but tonight it just wasn’t his night.”

Reneau only played 23 minutes before fouling out. He finished with six points and five rebounds while shooting 3-of-11 from the field. 

Despite losing by 20 points, it felt Indiana lost by a lot more as there was never a moment in the second half where it felt like the Hoosiers had a chance to win. 

“You can’t dig yourself a hole because you’re not going to be able to come back against these guys,” Trey Galloway said about Purdue. “That’s just how it is. You’ve got to be on point from the get-go and last that for 40 minutes and we didn’t.”

Indiana basketball had no answer for Purdue’s Zach Edey and Braden Smith. 

Smith controlled the game in the first half, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the first half. He also added nine rebounds and four assists in the win. 

Edey dominated the paint and finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. 

The low point of the game for the Hoosiers came in the second half when Edey banked in the first three-pointer of his collegiate career.

“We lost our intensity, our focus,” Galloway said.

Indiana lost by a combined 41 points to Purdue this season in two losses. It’s the first time since the 1933-34 season that Indiana lost by 20+ points in multiple games in a single-season to Purdue.

After a loss like this, one can only ask where Indiana basketball can go from here. 

While the season may seem lost, Woodson believes there is still plenty to play for as Indiana still sits in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten standings.

“We’ve got to continue to work and build with our team,” Woodson said. “I mean, we’re a very young team.”

The message is similar to the one he’s repeated all season. Indiana needs to get better and it hasn’t happened. 

Indiana is at the tail end of a disappointing season and their youth is still being used as an excuse. With seven games left in the regular season, either you are going to figure it out or you’re not, and Indiana has not figured it out. 

“The season’s not over with guys, we still have seven more games I believe to go and anything can happen,” Woodson said. “We have four of those seven at home, which we got to take care of our home court.”

While the season appears to have slipped away, Indiana is still in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten standings with opportunities to knock off teams like Wisconsin and Northwestern, both of whom come to Assembly Hall.

While Woodson emphasized that the season is not over, he made an interesting comment about the next offseason.

“We just got to continue to grow as a team, and we’re going to have to add some pieces,” Woodson said. 

It seems like Woodson could be looking ahead as he will try to avoid repeating the results of this season. 

Indiana basketball will get eight days of rest before they host Northwestern and look to salvage what is left of the 2023-24 season.

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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 graduated from Indiana University's Sports Media program in 2024.

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