There were a lot of plays that resulted in this gut-wrenching game, but one play stood out above them all. One play that summed up the way Indiana was playing from start to finish, and how they had no motivation throughout.
Over 8 minutes left, Indiana down 13 and trying to weather a storm from Fort Wayne. Matt Weir was driving into the lane and Josh Newkirk as guarded him. The defense on the drive wasn’t terrible, for Newkirk rode him to the basket, had his hands up, and made Weir miss the shot.
What happened next was what really summed-up the game. This was the result of a lack of motivation, hustle, and will to win the game.
As you can see, there are 5 Indiana defenders close enough to the basket to get a rebound off of Weir’s missed shot.
Devonte Green and Zach McRoberts sag off a bit due to De’Ron Davis, Juwan Morgan, and Josh Newkirk all right under the hoop and battling only one Mastodon player.
Josh Newkirk lets Weir box him out and De’Ron watched Juwan attempt to rebound, effectively making this 3-on-1 opportunity a 1-on-1 for this rebound.
Juwan misses his attempt to come down with the ball while De’Ron, our 6′ 10” center, just watches and doesn’t even attempt to make a play to the basket. Meanwhile, Josh did the same thing as De’Ron and just watched Weir single-handedly beat 3 Indiana defenders to the ball.
No one boxed Weir out, otherwise it would have been a simple rebound. Matt ends up battling his way to the ball and securing it.
To continue this poorly executed rebound, both Juwan and Josh had a chance to trap Weir in the corner and force a turnover. They could have made an attempt to redeem themselves and show more hustle, but instead they gave Weir space and let Fort Wayne set up another play.
The Mastodons were able to reset, take 30 seconds off the clock, and score an easy layup as the shot clock winded down.
Instead of Indiana getting a stop, something they had not been doing much of during the game, they let Fort Wayne take over 50 seconds off the clock and extend the lead to 15 with 7:30 left on the game.
This was just one of many instances where Indiana showed a lack of motivation and desire to win a game against a mid-level opponent, let alone an opponent who beat the Hoosiers last year. Indiana still had time to come back in this game. 13 points in 8 minutes is very doable, but there was no willpower or leadership to push this team forward and make a comeback.
Indiana will look to bounce back from this terrible loss as they play their second-to-last non-conference game against Tennessee Tech this Thursday, December 21st at 8:00PM before the holiday break.