Musing on a 88-60 IU win over Florida Gulf Coast:
Them threes is back.
As I wrote after IU’s first exhibition game, there’s enough 3-point shooters on this team to really do some damage. But as we saw against Ferris State, when they’re contested and don’t come in the flow of the offense, the 3-point shooting percentage can struggle.
Tonight against Florida Gulf Coast, IU did a much better job of stretching the floor, moving the ball and making the extra pass to get the likes of Jordan Hulls open down in the corner for good looks. The Hoosiers started out hot from beyond the arc (8-of-11) and though they cooled off in back half of the first half (0-of-7), they were mostly still smart looks.
Hulls was 6-of-9 from distance for 18 points. He had it tonight.
For the game, IU hit 50 percent (14-of-28) of its 3-pointers. And they shot an impressive 52.6 percent (30-of-57) from the field.
IU’s overall energy was also high from the get go, which allowed them to get up early, and despite a few defensive lapses and turnovers that allowed Florida Gulf Coast to chip away at the lead, the Hoosiers were pretty much in control all evening.
Part of the reason the Hoosiers’ offense opened up tonight was due to the return of Verdell Jones. Jones’ debut saw him taking over point-guard duties from Jordan Hulls, and his ability to get into the lane and draw the defense allowed for less predictability and more variety. And guys like Derek Elston, Tom Pritchard and Christian Watford worked well around the rim with some nice passes for easy looks to vary the attack as well.
Verdell was a little rusty in his debut, as he finished with seven points (3-of-10, 1-of-2 from three), one rebound, two assists, one steal and five turnovers.
Speaking of turnovers …
They are still this team’s Achilles Heal. A rough 24 of them tonight to go along with 22 assists. IU shot well enough to mask all the bad passes and miscues, but against teams that are playing better defense or nights when the Hoosiers are not hitting shots at a high clip, the turnovers could be the difference between a win and a loss.
Without Guy Marc-Michel, the likes of Derek Elston, Tom Pritchard and Bobby Capobianco will need to do their best to stay out of foul trouble. Elston fouled out with over 10 minutes to go in the second half, and Pritchard played with four for a while in the second half.
On night’s like tonight it’s not as big of a deal. But until Guy returns, it’ll be something to watch.
IU recruiting target Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell was in attendance tonight, and on cue, Assembly Hall busted out the “WE WANT YOGI!” chants. Trey Lyles, an IU commitment for the class of 2014, was also in attendance this evening. Some students were also wearing “FREE GUY” t-shirts in the stands.
Christian Watford scored a career-high 24 points (8-of-12, 1-0f-3 from three, 7-of-9 from the line) to go along with five boards, four assists and only one turnover.
Great game from Watford, and good to see he got to the line a good amount and converted as well.
And last, but surely not least, Jeremiah Rivers led the team with +21 in the plus-minus category. Impressive.