The IUPUI Jaguars lost by 30-plus points for the second time in five days, dropping another Horizon League road game to Northern Kentucky 86-47 in Highland Heights Sunday. For a time in the first half it appeared that the Jaguars would make it a game but reasons for optimism quickly faded as NKU ran away with it in short order.
After falling behind 9-0 following three early three-pointers by the Norse, IUPUI rallied and even took a four point lead with under seven minutes remaining in the opening stanza. Fueled by four Vincent Brady threes, the Jags led 23-19 at the 6:52 mark of the first half.
IUPUI, however, would not score again until halftime as the Norse closed out with a 19-0 run, giving them a 38-23 lead going into the break. Any hope that the Jags would regroup and rally in the second half was quickly squelched as NKU opened the final period with a 17-4 run that put the outcome beyond any doubt.
The score flipped from IUPUI being up 23-19 to trailing 55-27 in a space of about 13 minutes. That’s a combined 36-4 run in a game where IUPUI only scored 47 points. As previously mentioned, the Jags have given up far too many of these back-breaking runs this season.
Asked if he could pinpoint anything that is leading to these deadly runs, head coach Matt Crenshaw replied, “That’s a multi-layered answer but it starts with turnovers. They made us pay for our mistakes. They scored 35 points off our turnovers.”
Crenshaw’s Jaguars turned it over 21 times, marking the fifth time they have had at least 20 turnovers in a game this season. He also mentioned inexperience is a factor in giving up these large scoring runs.
“Some of it is experience. A lot of these things you learn playing games. The only way you really learn is by being out there on the court playing,” said Crenshaw.
A lack of experience is affecting the Jaguars on the defensive end, according to Crenshaw.
“We can’t be a second late (on defensive assignments). We have to do things instinctually. Right now we’re not experienced enough or have played in enough games for those things to be second nature.”
IUPUI has three true freshman playing major minutes as well as other guys who are playing their first year at the Division I level.
One such freshman, Brady, led IUPUI with 17 points Sunday before fouling out late in the second half. His four first half threes were the only triples the Jags had in the game.
The Jags shot just 38 percent from the field, compared to NKU who shot 60 percent for the contest.
Asked if his guys might be satisfied since they were able to beat Green Bay last week, Crenshaw was having none of it.
“Anybody that comes to our practices, that knows our young guys – that would be disrespectful to think we’d be happy winning one game. We never play in games just to keep it close. We never play in games just to play. We go out there to win games.”
IUPUI will have two games in Michigan next week. They’ll start with old Mid-Con/Summit League foe Oakland on Wednesday before facing Detroit Mercy on Sunday. The Jaguars will look to bounce back with competitive performances as they seek to grab their first road League win of the year.