After losing to Indiana State, IUPUI’s hope heading into the Rock Hill Classic hosted by Winthrop was to snag at least a win from one of its three opponents. Instead, the Jaguars feel to their first foe, Elon, then the host Eagles and finally to Holy Cross, landing them at 2-4 on the season.
Prior to jumping into the first conference contests of the season, IUPUI will return to the confines of Indiana Farmers Coliseum to face Cleary University out of the NAIA. While it’s highly likely that the Jags will come away with a win here, the focus during this tilt will be issues that bedeviled them both against the Sycamores and their three-game stretch in South Carolina.
The primary issue for IUPUI remains the continued drought from beyond the arc. After Rock Hill, the Jaguars have, through six games, shot an abysmal 19.8 percent from three, averaging a paltry 2.8 made treys per game.
To make matters worse, while IUPUI struggles to make three-pointers, their opponents have flourished. During the first game of the MTE, the Phoenix splashed 50 percent (14-of-28) from three-point land. Then, while IUPUI went 3-for-17, Winthrop’s three-point percentage a considerably better 38.9%. The Crusaders would nearly match that percentage against the Jags (38.9%) in the final contest. Given that IUPUI lost each game by an average of just above 13 points, the three-point disparity made all the difference.
As a result of the power outage beyond the arc, improvements to the Jaguar’s performance on the court, specifically rebounding, points in the paint and turnovers, have effectively been negated. Elon was slightly better than IUPUI on the boards (32 to 31), while the Jags turned that single-rebound advantage the other way against the Eagles and Holy Cross. In the paint, IUPUI outscored the Phoenix, 40-16, in an effort to cancel of Elon’s hot shooting from three, to no avail. It was a similar story in the final two contests.
Turnovers during the MTE were a mixed bag for the Jaguars. While only committing 12 miscues against Elon, the Phoenix did even better, only turning over the ball eight times. IUPUI’s issue with coughing up the ball once again versus Winthrop, as both teams lost the ball 18 times. And while the Jaguars cut those down to 11 against the Crusaders, Holy Cross, like Elon in the first game, bested IUPUI in that category, committing only nine turnovers.
After Saturday’s tilt, the Jaguars enter what can only be surprised as a buzzsaw for the first two Horizon League games, traveling to the Nutter Center to play Wright State, then returning home to face off against the preseason favorite to win the league, Northern Kentucky.