Highland Heights, KY. – Eight minutes is all it took to lose this game. Not 40 minutes, whistle to whistle, just eight. IUPUI led 21-12 with 8:50 to go in the first half and went scoreless over the next eight minutes. Northern Kentucky scored 19 straight points to go up 10 and take the lead for good. The Jaguars got the lead back to six just after the break but couldn’t keep pace and lost 77-59.
It was the eighth straight game IUPUI allowed their opponents to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor and the fifth straight game they failed to hit the 50 percent mark themselves. D.J. McCall was the only double-figure scorer for the Jaguars with 11 points. Aaron Brennan, Ron Patterson and T.J. Henderson meanwhile combined to shoot 8-for-30 for 23 points. On the other end, Drew McDonald scored a season-high 27 points on just 16 shots. He and added 10 rebounds for the double-double.
The Jaguars may have broken their losing streak with a win over IU Kokomo a week ago, but they have disturbing offensive and defensive trends that are almost season long. They’re allowing their opponents to shoot just under 52 percent on the season, a mark they have only surpassed twice themselves. They’re creating more turnovers than they are assisted baskets and they’re shooting almost seven percentage points worse from the three-point line than they did a year ago.
Just about every problem for the Jaguars this season reared it’s head Thursday night against Northern Kentucky. During Northern Kentucky’s 19-0 run, IUPUI shot 0-for-13 from the floor and 0-for-3 from 3-point range with four turnovers. The Norse shot 8-for-13 including 2-for-5 from 3-point range and assisted on three of their made shots. For the game, IUPUI had just 10 assists on 22 baskets and committed 12 turnovers.
This was just the first conference game for the Jaguars, but if the poor shooting and vapid defense continues, it’s going to be a long conference season. Still seeking their first road win, they’ll have just one day off before heading to Dayton to take on Wright State.