No words could be spoken after IUPUI took its second straight loss of the season Friday night to Milwaukee 62-49 as a part of the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Classic. On the bright side, the Jags learned more important elements for the rest of the season.
First learned lesson: Alex Young cannot be the only lifeline for the team. Young was held to only 13 minutes and five points from foul trouble. In the first half, Young went out with his second foul with 8:00 minutes remaining in the first half. Milwaukee then scored on the next three possessions leading Coach Todd Howard to put his faith in Young to pull the Jags back.
Unfortunately for the Jags, Young was sent to the bench after being called for his third foul on the scramble for the loose ball with about three and a half minutes left in the half. Immediately following the call, Young smacked the floor and was called for a technical foul, adding a fourth personal at the same time.
The second half began with some hope as IUPUI scored eight consecutive points, primarily from the free throw line, and tied the score at 31.
"I thought Marcellus Barksdale played an outstanding game. He is our glue guy, he was really good offensively with all 12 of his points coming in the second half and he did a whale of a job defensively on (Kaylon) Williams."
Barksdale’s performance wouldn’t be enough for the Jaguars to mount a comeback.
Second learned lesson: The underclassmen need to be ready at all times.
Barksdale figured that out sooner than the rest. The freshman replaced Young in the second half starting lineup and finished as the only Jaguar in double figures. Seniors leaders Christian Siakam and Stephen Thomas finished with nine points and four boards, and 3-of-13 shots and eight points, respectively. After getting within three points under ten minutes left, Milwaukee came to the top with a 9-1 run to put away the game.
The Jags were outrebounded 40-28 and shot only 30 percent from the floor.
"I'm real proud of the freshmen and sophomores with Alex's (foul) situation, to get us back in the game in this environment," Howard said. "That's a real positive I'll take from this.
Game three of the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Classic tips off at 4 p.m. on Sunday when IUPUI takes on Eastern Michigan inside the Jungle.