Indiana’s latest loss ‘a tough one to swallow’

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This loss won’t sit well with anyone in Indiana. Well, maybe Purdue fans.

The Hoosiers bumbled their way to 70-69 loss at Nebraska, their third straight setback and one that takes a little sheen of an otherwise fantastic season. As Dana O’Neil tweeted, losing to a respectable Minnesota team at home is forgivable. Trounced on the road by Ohio State is tolerable.

Losing to the Cornhuskers? That type of thing wasn’t even acceptable when Tom Crean was in full rebuild mode the previous three seasons. Especially for how the Hoosiers lost.

Indiana (15-3) blew a 13-point second-half lead to the Big Ten’s worst team. Even worse was they blew chance after chance not to blow it.

The Hoosiers led by 11 with six minutes left, got outscored 18-6 in that stretch after allowing too many 3-pointers, committing too many turnovers (10 in 2nd half) and botching too many possessions. And when Jordan Hulls (89 percent from the line) misses the front end of a one-and-one, it’s just not your night.

“That’s a tough one to swallow,” said freshman Cody Zeller. “Every game in the Big Ten is tough. I thought we played better, but it wasn’t enough, I guess.”

It really should’ve been good enough. Indiana shot 51 percent from the field, 44 percent from beyond the arc (on 18 attempts) and held the Huskers to just 38 percent overall. That’ll normally be enough to win a league game, but the old road blues bit Crean’s team again.

Indiana’s now 2-29 in road Big Ten games under Crean. Both of those wins have come against Penn State. The Hoosiers have lived a charmed life for much of the season, but this one hurts.

Losing to Nebraska’s just not good enough if Indiana’s truly a contender in the Big Ten. Not even close. Not that Crean’s panicking just yet.

“I’d be in there throwing stuff around, angry, screaming if I felt like we didn’t care or I felt we couldn’t get better,” Crean said. “That’s not the case at all. They care and we can get better. That’s exactly the attitude we’re taking toward this.”

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