The Indiana Hoosiers opened the Maui Invitational last night by hosting Austin Peay State University in a 102-76 thrashing featuring 16 three-pointers.
Coach Tom Crean is pleased with the way his team played last night – everyone is healthy, the team shot 81% in the second half, and nearly set a school record for three-pointers made. Even on limited minutes, McDonald’s All-American and future Big Ten All-Freshman Thomas Bryant impressed with 11 emphatic points and six boards on 5-6 shooting.s
There was little to go off for Austin Peay in the second half, though the Governors deserve credit for hanging in throughout the first half on the back of some lackluster Indiana defense. The Hoosiers, though, could not be stopped in the second twenty minutes and cruised their way to victory led by Yogi Ferrell with 22 points.
For starters, the shooting was excellent and particularly the three-point shooting. One of the bigger questions that lingered from the Eastern Illinois win was whether or not the Hoosiers could improve off of their 9-27 shooting from beyond the arc that night. Coach Crean got his answer when they nearly doubled that total, hitting 16-27. Additionally, Indiana won the rebounding battle, nearly doubled the assist count of Austin Peay, and reached double digits in steals to capitalize on turnovers.
Nick Zeisloft had a great night shooting 5-7 from the floor (5-7 3PM) for 15 points, Ferrell had 22 points on 8-10 shooting (4-5 3PM) and extended his three-point made streak to 67 games, and James Blackmon Jr. also played well, hitting for 20 points on 7-12 shooting (4-6 3PM).
More than truly bad, these are things to watch for as the season progresses. First, the on-ball defense in the first half was pretty poor. Often times it looked as if the Hoosiers were scrambling to get back in their spots and find their matchups, and though the Governors didn’t make them pay like they could have, it’s a point to build off when Indiana encounters more difficult opposition.
Also not great – the amount of turnovers. Last night, the Hoosiers gave the ball away at an NBA-level pace 20 times. Blackmon Jr. and Ferrell were the main guilty parties with 5 and 4 TOs, but as a team the giveaways were occurring far too often.
The Hoosiers now take a break from Maui action and will take part in the Gavitt Tipoff Classic when they host Creigton on Thursday night, tipoff set for 7 pm ET.