IL loses at IN, remains winless on road

Illinois guard Trent Frazier dribbles around his defender during the game against Indiana at State Farm Center on Wednesday Jan. 24 2018. The Illini won 73-71

The Indiana Hoosiers continued their defensive transformation on Wednesday night, defeating IL 78-68 at Assembly Hall. "And as they continue to build their program, they're going to be very hard to play against in the Big Ten moving forward". The Illini may be alone in the cellar of the Big Ten standings, but for whatever reason they always seem to be a bad matchup for IU. "We're just getting more comfortable in the defense".

Numerous turnovers weren't just unforced, they were inexplicable.

IN continued to look far from crisp in the first five or six minutes, but the Hoosiers received a spark off the bench from Justin Smith.

"I think we're playing as well as we have all season", Miller said. It was anything but easy, but the Hoosiers kept their composure and grinded out a third straight win. IN has a road test against a poor Iowa (3-12) side on Saturday afternoon, and that's all Josh Newkirk is focused on as he plays the final three regular season games of his career.

"That's how you learn to win", Miller said.

"We take it one game at a time", Newkirk said.

The first time the teams played Frazier had 19 points. "I thought we did some good things, but I thought we had some sloppy turnovers". He made both of his attempts from three Wednesday and has made five out of last 10 3-point field goal attempts. He finished with 11 points on an efficient 4-of-6 shooting.

Just like Durham, Smith's role has vacillated throughout the season.

Miller said that will be invaluable moving forward.

Durham said learning from mistakes has helped them grasp the defense and play at the level they are right now. IN beat IL 78-68 behind Morgan's 14 points and 10 rebounds.

IN got off to a bit of a slow start scoring the basketball on Wednesday night as the Hoosiers quickly got down 5-0. Five players finished in double-figures scoring, the most unlikely players coming from freshmen Al Durham (14 points) and Justin Smith (13 points).

Morgan's reliability on defense was praised by IN coach Archie Miller: "He is doing it every game".

But after IN took its first lead during a 14-0 first-half run, the Illini never recovered. At one point early in the first half, Durham and Smith combined to score 13 points in a row for the Hoosiers. Morgan also had 10 rebounds, a career-high five blocks, four steals and three assists for the Hoosiers (15-12, 8-7). That took a 14-12 deficit to a 26-14 lead.

IU led 35-25 at the half.

IL did enough to win against an IN team with its own issues between forcing second half turnovers and giving the Hoosiers a steady diet of Leron Black.

The Illini led 14-12 on a layup by sophomore guard Te'Jon Lucas with 12:23 left before the Hoosiers exploded. "And both games played a little bit the same way except I thought we were better on the glass tonight and we made our free-throws". Johnson's 3 with 7:24 left extended the margin to nine and IL couldn't get closer than six again.

IU finished 20-of-29 at the free-throw line.

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