Indiana took a trip down to Atlanta to play Auburn and fell flat, losing 104-76 to the Tigers. The Hoosiers are now 1-2 against power conference teams in non-conference play. Here are three takeaways from the game.
Three-point defense is still an issue
Indiana played much better three-point defense in their previous two games, holding Maryland and Michigan to 2-16 and 4-17 shooting, respectively. That was not the case against Auburn. The Tigers came into the day as a poor three point shooting team, making just 29.6% of their long-range attempts (good for 289th in the country). Today, they shot 14-29 (48.3%).
“It’s tough to get out to the three point line when they’re pushing it up without getting matched up,” Indiana Freshman Guard Gabe Cupps said.
Aden Holloway was the standout behind the arc for Auburn. He knocked down 5 of his 8 attempts and was able to create separation against the Indiana guards on a consistent basis.
Auburn hit 14 threes and Indiana made just 6. The 24-point differerence in points from long distance is not a recipe for success in the future.
Auburn’s size and athleticism bothered Indiana forwards
Malik Reneau was the only Indiana frontcourt starter to have success against Auburn offensively, finishing 6-13 from the floor. Even still, he struggled early, missing five of his first six shots.
“They just physically took us out of everything that we wanted to do,” Indiana Head Coach Mike Woodson said.
Kel’el Ware and Mackenzie Mgbako both finished the game shooting 2-8. This was only the third game of the season that Ware shot below 50% this season (the others being a 5-11 performance against Louisville and 2-5 against FGCU).
Mgbako took seven of his eight shots from three, going 2-7 from behind the arc. He continued his double-digit scoring streak, scoring 10 against Auburn. But the efficiency was not there compared to his previous three games.
In those three games, he got it started inside the arc, combining to shoot 63% (12-19) in two-point shots. Today, there was only one attempt inside the arc.
Indiana had no answer for Auburn’s run
The Hoosiers jumped out to a 22-10 lead early in the first half. In the last 12:33 of the first half, Auburn went on a 42-12 run. Indiana turned the ball over seven times in that time frame as well.
They lost any sort of offensive momentum they found earlier in the game and were pressured by the Tigers full court press, consistently taking close to the full five seconds to inbound the ball.
There was a little fight early in the second half. Indiana cut the Auburn lead to 11 with just under 16 minutes remaining in the game. However, Auburn responded with a 10-2 run in the next 2:20 of game time.
Indiana will have a full week off before they take on a tougher challenge – #2 Kansas at Assembly Hall on Saturday, December 16 at 12:30pm.