The Hoosiers said before this season began that defense was going to be the most important thing. The Indiana defense is still obviously a work in progress.
Tom Crean's team — fresh off a No. 13 ranking in Monday's AP top 25 — kicked off its trip to Maui by allowing Wake Forest to shoot 51 percent from the field, falling to the Demon Deacons, 82-78, on Monday.
Wake had a monster first half, shooting 57.9 percent, going 5-for-9 from 3-point range and scoring 28 points in the paint to hold a five-point advantage at halftime.
But after the Deacons got the first bucket of the second half, the Hoosiers scored the next nine points to take a one-point lead. A few minutes later, with the game tied at 63, Indiana went off on another 9-0 run. Wake chipped that down to three points with three minutes to play, and a minute later, a Wake basket brought it to just a 77-76 edge for Indiana. Neither team scored for the next minute and a half, with the Hoosiers casting up some abysmal shots before the Deacons got a bucket and took a 78-77 lead.
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Troy Williams was fouled on the ensuing possession, splitting a pair of free throws to just tie the game at 78 before a beautiful — and not well contested — drive and layup by Wake's Bryant Crawford gave the Deacs an 80-78 advantage with three seconds to play. Indiana couldn't erase that, and two more Wake free throws sent the Hoosiers to their first loss of the season.
Indiana shot just 40 percent in the second half, not able to put Wake away despite the Deacons putting up two scoreless stretches lasting four and a half minutes apiece in the final 20 minutes and finishing the game with eight missed free throws.
The Hoosiers missed 19 3-point attempts, were out-rebounded, 43-30, and were outscored in the paint, 52-32.
Williams was the high man for Indiana with 16 points, while Robert Johnson scored 14. Yogi Ferrell and Max Bielfeldt each had 11 points.
It's not a good loss for Crean, who, as always, is facing questions about his job security. Indiana is just a little more than a week away from a Big Ten/ACC Challenge showdown against No. 6 Duke.