Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over North Florida

  • 12/08/2013 12:03 pm in

Indiana bounced back from Thursday’s second half debacle at Syracuse with a comfortable 89-68 win over North Florida on Saturday night at Assembly Hall.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Ospreys:

· The Hoosiers didn’t let the Syracuse loss linger: With a young team, there’s always the possibility of a loss carrying over to the next game. Aside from a narrow defeat at the hands of Connecticut and a narrow win over LIU-Brooklyn, Indiana had yet to experience much adversity this season until the Syracuse game. Tom Crean talked at length in his Friday press conference about putting the loss to the Orange to bed quickly and for the most part, his young team did just that.

Indiana moved the ball early, hit some perimeter shots and forced North Florida out of its zone. It rebounded relatively well and got to the line at a decent clip.

In other words, it got back to establishing its identity.

“I think this team can be a very good rebounding team and can be a team that gets to the foul line,” Crean said. “I think what we saw tonight is can we keep building on this, when we move the ball and we get in rhythm on 3s, we’re pretty good with it.”

· Evan Gordon had his best performance of the season: Evan Gordon hadn’t had much of an offensive role through the first eight games despite averaging in double figures in each of his first three collegiate seasons.

That changed on Saturday night as the graduate transfer from Arizona State gave IU a major lift off the bench with 15 points (7-of-9 shooting), four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 19 minutes.

Beyond Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh, Indiana has yet to establish another consistent scoring threat. In some games, it’s been Jeremy Hollowell while Will Sheehey had his share of bright spots early. Gordon’s career numbers suggest that he’s as good of a candidate as any to put up points for an offensive that currently sits outside the top 100 in the KenPom adjusted efficiency ratings.

“When we recruited Evan, I said this to him on the bench tonight, when we recruited him — hopefully he’s figuring this out, we saw a lot left in the tank that he could get better at,” Crean said. “We didn’t just see a guy that had played four years of college basketball that was coming in for his fifth year. We didn’t just see that. We saw a guy that could make improvements. We saw a guy that could have a bigger role.”

· Robinson’s role key in IU run: After North Florida closed the gap to 35-29 at the 6:11 mark, the Hoosiers reeled off 14 straight points to push the lead to 49-29 at the 2:45 mark. This was IU’s best stretch of basketball all night.

One of the catalysts in the run was freshman Stanford Robinson, who scored the first five points of the run and finished the evening with six points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in 17 minutes.

While he’s still too careless with the ball at times (19.5% turnover rate), Robinson is usually in attack mode when he’s on the floor. He’s taken 23 free throws in 78 minutes this season and is shooting 52.2 percent on his 2s. He’s a player who should continue to expand his role as the season moves on.

· Another double-double for Vonleh: It’s becoming the rule that if Noah Vonleh is able to avoid foul trouble, he’s going to either nab a double-double or get close to it. The freshman from Haverhill (Mass.) now has six double-doubles in nine games and is averaging 13.3 points and 10 rebounds.

A deeper dive into Vonleh’s numbers show just how special he’s been so far: He’s fourth among Big Ten players with an offensive rebounding percentage of 15.9 and second with a defensive rebounding percentage of 27.3. Vonleh’s free throw rate is 104.5 (70 free throws attempted/67 field goals attempted) and he’s drawing 9.2 fouls per 40 minutes, which ranks fourth nationally.

· Sheehey’s struggles continue: It was another tough evening for Will Sheehey as he followed a three point, zero rebound and zero assist performance in Syracuse with six points (3-of-9 shooting) and four rebounds in 21 minutes.

Over his last three games, Sheehey is averaging five points, three rebounds, one assist and a steal in 23.7 minutes. Against North Florida, Sheehey picked up a few ticky tack fouls that seemed to inhibit him from establishing a rhythm. His best basketball this season lies ahead, but it’s important for the Hoosiers to get their senior on track in time for Saturday’s meeting with Notre Dame in Indianapolis.

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  • ForeverIU

    I had a vision, albeit a fleeting one, that Cliff would decommit from Kansas (if it looks like Noah is leaving) and he and Jaquan would be at IU next year. LOL.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    I know what you’re saying. I sometimes wonder with a kid like this (Cody was sort of the same way) with a kid who is so unflappable on the court if they “coach” him to get a little more fired up.

    Or even if maybe his teammates just tell him “Man if you just got a little more excited, fans wouldn’t be on you so much”

    And, at the risk of starting an epic poopstorm, I think there’s a little bit of a racial element to this. Kids get called lazy a lot more if they are not white.

  • msquaredb

    Ha! Good catch

  • mk

    Couldn’t agree more. IU fans are partial to the corn fed white boys. It is what it is. Hollowell has been an enemy of some of the elder IU fans since high school. Many didn’t even want to give him a scholly.

  • kbb247

    IMO it isn’t a racial element. Cody got some of that as well. Granted, I do not think it was as bad as JH gets, but Cody performed more times than not. I know it is another sport, but Jay Cutler gets drilled over the same thing. I think the one thing MOST of us can agree on, is that Crean will not tolerate or play a kid that he doesn’t think puts forth the effort. He preaches the hustle plays non-stop in all of his interviews, and wants the fans to cheer when they dive for loose balls etc. JH’s demeanor is what it is. If you ask him to be a Ra Ra guy, you asking him to do something he is not. As ForeverIU stated as long as his coaches and teammates feel he is putting forth the effort, that is good for me. People need to focus on how he PLAYS, not his lack of emotion. It is irrelevant.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    Totally agree. There is no reason we shouldn’t have a top 5 national schedule like michigan state does every single year. We are done “re-building” the program. Facing more syracuses or louisvilles before conference play only helps teams like ours in the long run even if we lose by 17 points. I don’t see any value whatsoever to playing more than a couple teams like Oakland or North Florida.

  • twarrior87

    maybe, maybe not. i’m not sure kansas has showed the same interest in JL as JL has shown in kansas… don’t forget JBJ is also his buddy as they share the mamba nickname

  • Ole Man

    Thanks, warrior! I had forgotten the shared nickname.
    Hope you’re right. And I hope Forever’s vision comes true. LOL.

  • drewheck

    The problem with Jeremy is that one game he looks like the best player on the team and other games it looks like crap. Inconsistent play from him is my hang up.

  • CreamandCrimson

    That’s a perfectly understandable reason to be frustrated with Jeremy’s play and I’m right there with you. But “inconsistency” could be considered an issue for pretty much everyone (sans Noah and Yogi) on this squad and Jeremy seems to get an inordinate amount of flak from commenters (call it the VJIII Award I suppose).

  • Benhyoung14

    I’d love some home and home series, but nobody wants to do that anymore. Normally, I’d want a top 5 SOS, but not this year. With a little more talent, yes. CTC has tried for a home and home, but people aren’t interested. Next year the possibility is there to play Kansas and Louisville. It doesn’t matter a whole lot in the Big Ten. The SOS will work its way out by year end. Especially with a win or two in the Big Tourney.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    Yes, exactly. I don’t recall Watford being excessively expressive either (although not to the degree that Hollowell is; the kid can play in a poker tournament if he felt like it). And how many wanted Zeller to be more demonstrative?

    As you pointed out, it’s the stat line that counts. I don’t care if a guy’s face won’t even twitch at his knee bending backwards, I care about seeing some decent shots, rebounds, and performance. Criticizing his sometimes out-of-control driving is legit – I’ve done so before – and taking aim at his mistakes is fair game. But I’d want people to criticize something substantive, not throw shade at stuff that’s interpretive at best. His demeanor is something I feel too many fans are frankly not in a position to properly judge. We see him what, twice a week for two hours at a time? The coaches see him every non-game day a week for as many hours long the practices are. If he was suffering an enthusiasm problem, it would’ve been addressed long before we saw these players hit the floor.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    We’re playing the Ville next year, but it’s in one of the neutral site things.

  • MillaRed

    You know the deal. There is a whipping boy in here every year. Kids just a sophomore.

  • MillaRed

    I see nothing racial injected here whatsoever. The kid is mellow. There are bLack, white, red, pink, blue mellow people all over the world.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Oh I know…I’ve been here from near the start of the site and yeah, I know the deal…Watford, VJIII, etc, I get it. I’m still going to point out (probably futilely) when Hollowell, or anyone else, is getting unfairly singled out time after time. You are right though, there is a whipping boy every year and Hollowell has drawn the short straw this year it appears.

  • BadBoyHulls

    don’t forget the marsh – mellows, there’s s’more out there than you would think

  • drewheck

    It’s aggrovating to see him shine one day and not the next I just want him to come out and give a consistent effort I feel like if he doesn’t hit his first shot he gets into a funk and it’s all down hill from there

  • ForeverIU

    Okay, looks like Cliff already signed his letter of intent. Oh well.