Indiana broke its five-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 75-73 double overtime win over Wisconsin at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The victory improved the Hoosiers to 14-14 overall and 5-12 to the Big Ten.
Here are five points to remember about the Badgers win:
· Langford "finally" hits a winner: Finally.
This is the word used by Romeo Langford to describe his feeling about the superposition he made with 0.8 seconds to double overtime to sink Wisconsin Tuesday.
Langford had been able to make two winners this season for the Hoosiers, but he was disappointed. On both occasions (at Michigan State and Iowa), Langford opted for shots back.
This time, there was no regulation. Langford attacked the basket full steam. And once his shoulder would have passed Khalil Iverson, it was clear that he would not be denied.
"Rob (Phinisee) came on the screen, and they messed up the reading," Langford said. "I just saw a track to go to the basket, and that's what I did."
· Solid 3-point shooting helps UI create its first lead: Indiana led by no less than eight in the first half and scored 1.12 points per possession on a powerful 3-point shot.
The Hoosiers scored 6 of their 14 attempts of 3 points in the first period and four different players connected remotely. Al Durham Jr. hit 3 of 4 and Langford, Phinisee and Devonte Green each hit a triple. It was a great performance for a team that has emerged as the worst scoring team in the league.
The stellar shots did not continue in the final 30 minutes of the match, as Indiana missed his six attempts from a distance, but the Hoosiers would not have strengthened their lead without this performance in the first half.
· A balanced offensive effort: The Hoosiers only managed 1.96 points per possession in Tuesday's win, which is not a particularly high number, but they did it with balance.
Langford led the way with 22 points, but three other Hoosiers finished double digit. Justin Smith bounced back after a tough performance in Iowa with 12 points, while Durham and Phinisee added 11 points each.
Juwan Morgan had only nine points on three out of 12 shots, but he managed five offensive rebounds.
Indiana relied too much on Langford and Morgan all season to carry the burden on the offensive, but that was not the case in the win against the Badgers. If the Hoosiers want to continue this momentum in the last three games of the season, they will need an ongoing offensive balance to do so.
· Defense strikes hard: As Jerod Morris pointed out this morning on TwitterIndiana's defense has been a major force in its last three games.
Since the defeat of Minnesota, the Hoosiers have the sixth best defensive efficiency of the country, according to the notes of Bart Torvik. The last three opponents of IU have a total of 19 against 77 against the Hoosiers out of 3. Indiana is now eighth in the conference with 1.03 points per possession allowed with only three regular season games to play.
It remains to be seen if this can last, but it will not take long to get an answer. The state of Michigan, which has the league's best attack, will travel to Bloomington on Saturday.
· Race Thompson looks like a precious piece for the future: Race Thompson has not been an important factor in the season for the Hoosiers who had recovered from a concussion, but the rookie of the red shirt class is finally healthy and makes its mark.
Thompson's offensive game still has a long way to go, but he has made solid contributions in the last two games thanks to his defense and rebound.
His job in the defensive post against Ethan Happ was impressive Tuesday and he also took seven rebounds in 22 minutes, a career-high.
"He has more physics than we are used to," said Archie Miller. "He can hit. He can mix a little. The other thing is a very good rebounder by the minute. He bounced the ball from both sides of the floor for us in the minutes he gave. He was able to do that. So it's a big step for him. "
Classified in: Wisconsin Badgers