Welcome to another edition of 6-Banner Sunday, where we highlight the six most essential IU basketball stories of the past week.
Despite losing De’Ron Davis for the season, the team has shown improvement in wins over Minnesota and Penn State. And Simon-Skjodt Assembly Hall will welcome an IU legend on Sunday afternoon … he’ll just be on the opposite bench.
In this week’s edition:
- Indiana downs Penn State
- Davis out for the year
- Previewing Northwestern
- The return of A.J. Guyton
- More consistent guard play needed
- Best of the rest
Indiana downs Penn State
The Hoosiers picked up their second consecutive conference win, defeating the Nittany Lions, 74-70, on Tuesday evening at Assembly Hall.
It was an all-around effort from Indiana, with five players scoring in double-figures, led by Juwan Morgan’s 21. Despite another poor shooting performance from beyond the arc (6-of-27), Indiana controlled the battle on the boards and only turned the ball over nine times. As with seemingly all meetings in recent years between these two squads, the ending was too close for comfort when Penn State hit several desperation threes late, but time simply ran out on the Nittany Lions.
After the win, Archie Miller praised his team’s ability to come out with the win despite an imperfect showing:
We weren’t great, by any stretch of the imagination. But guys were locked in, playing to win. I think we had a good mindset in terms of that and we’ve got to keep growing.
More IU-Penn State content:
- Notebook, Film Session, The Minute After, Five Takeaways, Photo Gallery (ITH)
- Assembly Call postgame show
- Postgame pressers: Miller, Morgan, Johnson and Hartman, Pat Chambers (ITH)
- Podcast on the Brink: Dissecting the 3-2 start to Big Ten play
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Davis out for the year
On Wednesday afternoon, IU athletics published a press release stating that sophomore De’Ron Davis will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his right Achilles.
After drastically changing his body over the offseason and sharpening his game, Davis came into the season as perhaps the most hyped player on the roster. Early on, he showcased a much-improved game, scoring in double-figures in six of the first seven games of the season. The performance that stood out most came against Duke, when Davis put up 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, bullying the heralded freshman-filled frontcourt of the Blue Devils.
Following the career-night against Duke, Davis’ production slowly declined as he struggled with foul trouble. In his last game against Wisconsin, Davis scored just two points in 10 minutes.
The recovery period for Davis is expected to be somewhere around six months, and he should be ready for his junior campaign.
On Thursday, Davis tweeted out a post-surgery photo where he looked to be in good spirits. We wish Davis the best during his recovery.
Indiana’s next game comes later this afternoon when the Hoosiers take on a veteran Northwestern (11-7, 2-3 Big Ten) team. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. eastern on CBS.
The Northwestern Wildcats came into the season returning nearly everyone from a 2016-17 team that made the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Expectations were high, and a Big Ten regular season title did not seem out of the question. But Chris Collins’ team struggled out of the gate and have yet to find their rhythm. Northwestern has yet to win a game over a Kenpom Top-50 team. Blowout losses include a 36-point defeat to Texas Tech, a 26-point clobbering at Oklahoma, and 15-point losses to Nebraska and at Penn State.
But downing the Wildcats will be far from a simple task for Indiana. The Hoosiers have struggled with consistency throughout the season and have been far from perfect on their home floor.
For Inside the Hall, Alex Bozich broke down the keys for Indiana:
The two key areas are rebounding and free throws and the Hoosiers are going to need a solid performance in both to prevail. The Hoosiers are currently the Big Ten’s third best offensive rebounding team and Northwestern is second. Both teams are also in the top five in defensive rebounding percentage, so second chance points are certainly worth monitoring.
More pre-Northwestern content:
The return of A.J. Guyton
There will be a very familiar face inside Assembly Hall tomorrow, although in a much different position. A.J. Guyton, the 2000 Big Ten Player of the Year for Indiana, will be on the Northwestern sideline.
Guyton, in the midst of his first season director of player development for Northwestern basketball, will make his first trip back to Bloomington since being inducted to the IU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.
Guyton, who scored over 2,000 points in his four years donning cream and crimson, spoke to Mike Miller of The Herald-Times about his impending homecoming.
It’ll be loud, and it’ll be great to experience it on the other bench and see what those other teams went through trying to win games in Assembly Hall. I’m excited to see the new things that the new building has to offer and to be in that moment. And honestly? I hope we pull the win out.
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More consistent guard play needed
Even with the transfer of Curtis Jones, the Hoosiers have plenty of capable guards on the roster. The issue has been finding consistency from top to bottom.
Every guard on the roster has had their share of ups and downs throughout the season. Now without De’Ron Davis’ post presence for the remainder of the campaign, it will be incumbent on the guards to step up.
In a lengthy post for The Hoosier Network, a brand new site from IU students featuring IU sports content, Zain Pyarali breaks down the situation in the IU backcourt.
It’s time for Newkirk and Green to turn the page and become more consistent on the floor for the Hoosiers. Tuesday’s game against Penn State was the step in the right direction for both.
With Johnson having a down game just three-of-13 shooting, 10 points and four turnovers against the Nitanny Lions, Newkirk and Green were able to stabilize the backcourt. Newkirk put up 16 points; four assists with no turnovers and Green contributed 13 points with zero turnovers, as well.
They also both combined to make all eight free throw attempts in the final 25 seconds of the game to ice the win for IU.
Best of the rest
There was tons of happenings in the world of IU sports this week, so we decided to fit everything else into banner no. 6. Here’s everything else you need to know:
- IU women’s basketball fell at home to No. 10 Ohio State on Saturday (HSR)
- Running back Devonte Williams to transfer from IU (HN)
- Top 10 ranked swim and dive earned a split in a dual meet at rival Michigan (IU Athletics)
- IU baseball will start the season ranked No. 17 (IDS)
- Raptors’ trust in OG Anunoby has paid off (Dime Magazine)
- Can Cody Zeller return before the Hornets’ playoff chances expire? (Charlotte Observer)
- Yogi Ferrell continues to prove he’s not a one-year wonder (Mavs Moneyball)
Before you go, a few updates on IU targets and commits:
- Archie Miller was in attendance on Saturday night to watch 2019 target Trayce Jackson-Davis (Twitter)
- 2018 commit Rob Phinisee scored 31 on Saturday in a loss to Zionsville (Twitter)
- 2018 commit Jerome Hunter poured in 21 for Pickerington North on Saturday (Twitter)
- And lastly, check out this video about 2018 commit Jake Forrester and his dunking powers (Twitter)
And with that, the joy of hanging Banner #6 is now one week closer.
Thanks for your continued support for The Assembly Call. We’ll be back next weekend with a new roundup.
Now go enjoy yourself a 6-banner Sunday.