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Indiana Basketball Pulls Away Late Against Kennesaw State

Coming into Friday night’s game against the Kennesaw State Owls, the Indiana Hoosiers had won just two of their last five games. It’s a big win for Indiana basketball, as a loss would’ve dented their confidence, even with their current durability issues. The Hoosiers were without star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis and guard Xavier Johnson due to varying injuries.

With the game tied at 27 at halftime, Indiana basketball relied on their tough defense and interior offense to get the win. Thankfully for the Hoosiers, they’ll have almost two full weeks off before their next game on the road against the Iowa Hawkeyes when Big Ten play resumes. If the Hoosiers can get Trayce Jackson-Davis back at full strength after the holiday break, they’ll be in a good position to contend for the Big Ten title this year.

Indiana basketball vs kennesaw state
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski / USA Today Sports

Indiana Basketball Wins Ugly over Kennesaw State 69-55

Freshmen Show Immaturity

It’s unrealistic for any team to expect underclassmen to be able to carry their team day in and day out. With that being said, Indiana basketball was playing a far inferior Kennesaw State team at home, and their freshmen were the reason the game ended up being so close.

Taking care of the ball is important in any game, but it is even more important against teams that struggle to match up on paper. Most upsets occur thanks to teams not taking care of the ball.

In the first 25 minutes alone, freshman forward Malik Reneau and guard Jalen Hood-Schifino combined for seven turnovers. Although their roles will shrink once their team starts to get some of their players back from injury, they will be needed off the bench if they want a chance to contend in the Big Ten. If they continue to be lazy taking care of the ball, Indiana could struggle with consistency all year.

Free Throw Woes Continue For Indiana Basketball

Entering Friday’s game, Indiana basketball was tied for 171st in the nation in free throw percentage, at a measly 70.6%. They struggled even more than usual, hitting just 16-of-26 (61.5%) from the line. For any team to consistently win close games, they need to be able to hit free throws consistently.

The worst part of their free throw struggles was that they came at home. While free throws haven’t yet caused them to lose any games, they will if this trend continues. Although Indiana likely won’t have to worry about making the NCAA Tournament because of it, it is very likely to hurt them in the hunt for a conference title and a high seed in the tournament.

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