Notes on a 67-44 Sunday night win over Wright State inside Assembly Hall:
Wright State took away the 3-pointer from the Hoosiers. Couple that with its impressive ability to draw charges — and IU’s penchant for silly turnovers and travels; it had six turnovers in the first 10 minutes — and it left the Hoosiers with little to show on the offensive side of the ball.
Maurice Creek went out quick with two fouls. Christian Watford didn’t have anything going offensively early. So the Hoosiers turned to where they have so many times in the past when nothing is cooking: Verdell Jones. He scored IU’s first four points on two drives off the wing.
Near the end of the first 10 minutes, IU was able to get out on the break to open things up a bit. Shortly after entering the ballgame, Victor Oladipo scored on the break off a Wright State turnover, and on another fast break, Jordan Hulls was fouled and hit both free throws.
With the shot clock winding down, Jones bailed out the Hoosiers with their first made three of the night.
And then IU coupled points off the break with free throws by getting into the bonus early. Hulls was fouled on Wright State’s end of the court and made both free throws.
Jones was fouled during an inbounds play, and though he missed the front end of the one and one, Watford grabbed the rebound — IU continues to be a strong offensive rebounding team in the early goings of 2010-11 — and found Jones for another three.
The Hoosiers continued to get free throws — Bobby Capobianco made one of two; Watford hit three of four. Jones got another two points on the break and Vic stole the ball just before half and scored on a slick spin move as time expired.
Another six turnovers for a total of 12 in the first half, but IU’s uptempo attack and free throws — along with Wright State having trouble creating in their halfcourt offense due to point guard N’Gai Evans being out — saw the Hoosiers with a 30-19 lead going into half.
Jones had 14 points. Vic had six.
This frame started out with the makings of a blowout. Jones got out on the break and a goaltending call gave IU two points.
Creek hit a three. Watford hit a pull-up jumper. Jones scored and was fouled on a mini-break, but missed the and 1.
IU stretched the lead to 39-24.
But then it hit a wall. Stuffed into the halfcourt after they excelled on the break, and failing to draw foul calls, the Hoosiers didn’t score for almost seven minutes, had a number of turnovers and it allowed Wright State to get within nine (39-30) with plenty of time to make things interesting.
Watford and Jones stepped up, and that was all she wrote.
Christian looked strong in and around the rim on a few takes, and even scored on a double-teamed jumper from just outside the paint. And when Wright State decided to go to a full-court press to try and get back into this thing, Jones became a one-man wrecking crew.
He went coast-to-coast a couple time for easy buckets, and finished with 27 points (11-of-14 from the field, 3-of-6 from the line, 2-of-2 from three), six boards, two assists … but six turnovers.
Watford had 17 points, 10 boards and four assists. Strong line.
As Creek continues to work back from his knee injury, Watford and Jones proving they can step up and close out games will be big for this team.
Impressive stuff from both of them this evening.
Wrapping it up.
After attempting 28 threes in the opener, IU only attempted nine tonight (4-of-9, 44.4 percent). But with a lot more attempts in and around the rim — 18 fast-break points, 36 points in the paint (53.7 percent of their total points) — the Hoosiers shot 60 percent (24-of-40) for the first time since 2007.
IU also hit 71.4 percent of its free throws (15-of-21).
The turnovers (21) were again at issue. Tom Pritchard fouled out and Bobby Capobianco had four fouls. Again, without Guy Marc-Michel, those fouls might come back to hurt IU’s frontline against other opponents.
And it helped that Wright State only shot 43.5 from the line (10-of-23) and 32.6 percent from the floor (15-of-36), although a few guys flashed some strong on-ball defense for IU tonight to help there.
Anyway you slice it, though, it’s still a pretty strong win for the Hoosiers. They move to 2-0 with a win against a team billed as one of their toughest non-conference home opponents this season.