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Hoyas Nip Hoosiers in Madison Square Garden, 91-87

The Indiana Hoosiers returned to Madison Square Garden for the 2nd time this season, this time to face the Georgetown Hoyas. Again, the Hoosiers leave New York with a loss.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The conversation before the game centered around how the undersized Hoosiers, whose tallest starter is 6'9" 225-pound Hanner Mosquera-Perea, would corral the Georgetown Hoyas' Joshua Smith - a 6'10" 350-pound goliath of a center. And the answer came fairly quickly. Smith struggled with the Hoosiers' speed on the attack, picking up his first foul in the first 30 seconds of the matchup and 3 fouls to go along with just 2 points before John Hopkins III had seen enough and benched him to finish the first half. The Hoosiers were effectively walled out of the paint, but rode 7-13 shooting behind the arc to a 40-30 halftime advantage.

The second half didn't see Josh Smith return early. Georgetown trotted out a shorter lineup, though still bigger than Indiana, but weren't able to keep the Hoosiers out of the paint as effectively. Still, they held their ground in the first 5 minutes of the second half to keep the deficit at 10, 51-41. Then Josh Smith returned. He earned a trip to the free throw line, sank both, and followed it with another quick 2 points in the paint. Smith's return ignited a 15-3 run that saw the Hoyas take their first lead since the score was 10-9, at 56-54.

From there, it was a back and forth affair. Georgetown held onto a narrow margin throughout most of the 2nd half, but the Hoosiers came back and briefly took the lead, 69-66. But the Hoyas controlled the next two minutes. With a minute and a half remaining, Indiana trailed 74-69. Cue 2 Yogi Ferrell made free throws. But a defensive lapse on the other end pushed the lead back to 5 points. With just 45 seconds left, Yogi Ferrell made a long, contested three. Trawick split his free throws on the other end and with the shot and the lead was just three. On the other end, Ferrell got the rock, got a second of daylight off of a screen at the top of the key, and sent the game into overtime.

But the Hoyas owned overtime. After opening overtime with a 7-0 run, Indiana pulled as close as 3 but could not close the gap again and lost by a final margin of 91-87.

Hot Take

While the Hoosiers did lose a tough game against a game Georgetown Hoyas squad, there was plenty to like about the way the Hoosiers played today. Indiana contained Georgetown for a half, sitting Josh Smith on the bench and holding the very talented D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera to just 5 first half points. That should be considered a step forward for a defense that Kenpom ranked 173rd nationally coming into this contest. Troy Williams continued to take positive steps forward as a player and was mostly under control on his way to 23 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 4 steals, and a big block. Blackmon had another strong game, but the zone took him out of his offense in the last 10 minutes of the game and overtime.

The story of the game, ultimately, was turnovers. After Indiana opened the season controlling the ball and valuing possessions, they racked up 17 turnovers against Georgetown's length and their active zone. With the ball handlers that Indiana has they should be able to get that worked out going forward. The zone wore on the Hoosiers as well, but throughout the game there were enough nuggets of good zone offense to build on. If the Hoosiers can get back to keeping their turnovers low they should be able to win a bunch of games in conference play. A loss is never a good thing, but this loss doesn't call for sounding the alarm. Yet.