In front of a near capacity crowd Friday night at Assembly Hall, a trio of Indiana freshmen each turned in a debut to remember.
Leading just 20-18 with 7:03 remaining in the first half, Maurice Creek and Derek Elston sparked a 9-0 run that put Indiana in the drivers seat on their way to a 83-60 win over Howard.
Creek led all scorers with 17 points and Elston and Christian Watford added 14 each for the Hoosiers, who shot nearly 56 percent from the field and had 20 assists.
“We really, really shared the basketball,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “Anytime you have 20 assists, that’s a real benchmark that your offense is really moving and it’s crisp.”
Sixteen different players saw the floor for Indiana and no one amassed more than 26 minutes. With a brand of basketball that is expected to be far more up-tempo than a season ago, Crean is focusing on getting maximum effort from each Hoosier at all times.
“I want them to understand it’s the quality of the minutes, not the quantity,” Crean said.
Creek’s 17 came on 7 of 11 shooting from the field. Watford (4 of 6) and Elston (6 of 7) were equally efficient.
“I just thought they played together,” Howard coach Gil Jackson said. “They looked to get easy shots. You didn’t see anybody playing selfishly.”
Free throw differential: Indiana shot just 13 free throws in the game and Howard shot 18 of 30.
Double-double: Watford had 11 rebounds to go along with his 14 points.
Rivers debut: Jeremiah Rivers finished with six points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal in 26 minutes. “I think what’s going on right now is that it’s extremely hard for our team to keep up with him. I’d rather have them try to speed up than to slow him down,” Crean said of Rivers.
Bison struggle from outside: Howard connected on just four of 22 three-point attempts.
Pick to Click: Watford.
Up next: USC-Upstate, November 16, 8:30 ET, Assembly Hall
- Box score
- IU wins regular season opener 83-60 – Indiana Daily Student
- Freshmen pace IU rot in opener – Associated Press