By Justin Albers
For The Herald Bulletin
Jordan Hulls sat at his locker, tapping his foot incessantly on the floor. He spoke in a quiet, monotone voice with a look on his face that said he’d rather be anywhere else than answering questions about No. 3 Indiana’s 68-56 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.
But there he was Saturday afternoon, trying to find the words to explain the Hoosiers’ 12th consecutive loss against Wisconsin. The Badgers are the only Big Ten team Hulls and his senior classmates haven’t beaten in their college careers.
“We didn’t box out, get rebounds,” Hulls said, his voice trailing off. “They got too many second-chance points, they made big 3s. We just didn’t bear down and get stops, and we didn’t make open shots.”
There’s nobody on the Indiana roster that works harder on his jump shot than Hulls. There’s probably no one in the country that does. Not a day goes by that he’s not in Indiana’s Cook Hall practice facility getting shots up.
Sometimes, though, that work doesn’t translate to the court. That was the case for Hulls on Saturday.
The Indiana senior was 2-of-9 from the field and 1-of-7 from beyond the 3-point line against Wisconsin, with his lone 3-pointer coming with 34 seconds remaining and the game already well in hand for the Badgers.
After the shot went in, Hulls threw is hands up in the air as if to say, “Finally.”
“It was pretty frustrating,” Hulls said. “I can’t play frustrated, but when you’re not shooting the ball well for awhile, it gets frustrating, especially when they’re open looks.”
Hulls missed several critical shots down the stretch in the second half, many of which were wide-open looks. After one 3-pointer struck the back of the rim and fell off, Hulls nearly pulled his hair out.
In the Hoosiers’ two Big Ten tournament games, Hulls scored a total of six points on 2-of-14 shooting and 1-of-10 from 3-point range. In his last five games, Hulls is 8-of-33 from the field (24 percent) overall.
“Jordy’s one of those guys where this kind of stuff, he doesn’t take it lightly,” said senior forward Derek Elston. “Jordy’s used to hitting all those shots, whether they’re in important stretches or just out there shooting around. Jordy has to see the ball go in. If I know Jordan like I do, I know he’s just going to go back there and start all over from square one.”
If you were to walk through Cook Hall late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, there’s a good chance you’d see Hulls on the court. He and his teammates know that if they are going to make a deep run in next week’s NCAA tournament, they are going to need Hulls to find his shooting touch, and fast.
“He’s definitely going to be working on his shot, especially for the (NCAA) tournament,” freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell said. “But I’m not really too worried about Jordan and his shooting slump.”