Notebook: Hoosiers dominate glass in season opener

  • 11/14/2015 8:23 am in

It only took about five minutes for Indiana to establish their dominance over Eastern Illinois.

After leading 9-7 with 15:11 to play in the first half, the Hoosiers outscored the Panthers 40-10 the rest of the half on their way to a comfortable 88-49 win in the season opener.

“I think it was just the whole energy of the place picked up,” senior Max Bielfeldt said. “We got a couple offensive rebounds. We got some big plays by a lot of the guys and just built on one thing to the next. Defense picked up and we were getting stops. It just all piled on to bring the energy way up and we just rode that and it turned out to be a really good thing.”

The dominance began on the glass, where Indiana grabbed 21 offensive boards. The Hoosier had five players with seven or more rebounds, and was led by freshman center Thomas Bryant who had nine.

EIU seemed helpless as IU would get offensive rebound after offensive rebound, and cashing in for a 26-1 advantage on second chance points.

“It’s very disheartening for your team when you have guys trying to block out and get guys off the boards and you can’t get it done,” EIU coach Jay Spoonhour said. “It seemed like they scored on every second-chance opportunity.”

Bielfeldt, who came off the bench, showed why he will be a valuable member of this year’s squad with 11 points and eight rebounds. He said the team’s aggressiveness paid off.

“We had a lot of guys just crashing out at all times, and if it wasn’t the four or five getting it, Yogi (Ferrell) was in there getting a hand on it so someone else could get it,” Bielfeldt said. “It was a really good team effort on the boards. It was a lot of fun to be a part of.”

Bryant’s emotion shows in debut

Bryant showed his strength on the inside in his first collegiate game by finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds. He slammed down a monster dunk in the second half and was called for a technical foul after he appeared to stare down an EIU player.

“He’s got great energy,” Bielfeldt said. “He loves the game, loves the team. He loves being here. It’s a lot of fun to play next to him just because of all the positive energy he’s bringing.”

Tom Crean said he loves how Bryant plays with emotion and doesn’t play emotionally. He said there’s a big difference in the two and that Bryant bringing the energy is a great thing for the team.

Bryant started at center alongside Colin Hartman, a different lineup then what IU used in its preseason games. It seems that the fifth spot will rotate between Hartman, Bielfeldt and Robert Johnson depending on matchups.

“We didn’t decide to change the lineup until they put their lineup in, and that’s maybe what’s going to happen throughout the year,” Crean said. “When you have numerous guys that are multi-dimensional that can play together, you’re going to be better, and Max and Thomas together or Max and Thomas separate, are key, key parts of our team. So we’ve got to be able to do both.”

Yogi’s streak continues

Late in the second half, senior Yogi Ferrell hit a three-pointer to keep his streak on consecutive games with a 3-pointer made going.

It now stands at 66 straight games, the longest active streak in the NCAA. He scored 13 points, grabbed seven rebounds and added six assists.

Other Notes

  • IU had six players score in double figures.
  • Robert Johnson was hot from behind the arc Friday, hitting 4-of-6 threes for 12 points off the bench. Crean said he still thinks of Johnson as a starter, and called him one of the team’s best defeners.
  • IU plays host to Austin Peay, which lost 80-41 to Vanderbilt on Friday night, on Monday night at Assembly Hall.

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  • Jtime

    Robert Johnson had a nice game on both ends of the floor. But Thomas Bryant was the storyline. This guy is fun to watch.

  • SCHoosier

    Great let’s get the 3 pt and FT shooting percentages to where they need to be to win against the top teams.

  • marcusgresham

    The FT percentage being low was really only the result of Williams and Anunoby (4-8 and 0-3, respectively.) No one else missed more than one.

  • cooper

    Sounds like rebounding was an improvement. Not sure how I feel about letting opponents dictate IU starting lineup, rather it be the other way around.

  • TomJameson

    It was interesting that after Troy was 0 for 4, CTC took him to the free-throw line during a time out and showed him what he was doing wrong. Troy went 4 for 4 after that.

  • I think it’s more a matter of the team being that flexible, or that much flexibility being the objective. Being able to plug in players to counter an opponent’s strengths/exploit their weaknesses should be a powerful advantage if it’s done right. Ultimately, it’s more like: IU _can_ adjust lineups that way, while (most) opponents cannot. It’s also probably not terribly unusual for really deep teams, which is clearly how CTC sees this one.

  • I’m looking forward to watching the replay tomorrow. I was really, really hoping that TB would bring that level of energy, and it seems like he’s doing so in spades. I imagine that he’ll be a real dynamo should the team fall behind, and that could make the difference.

  • SilentBob

    Lots of reasons to be optimistic about that performance. We played like we should play against this kind of competition. We’re still a long way from mid season form, missed a bunch of shots we’d typically make. Really like that we dominated despite not playing our key rotation players heavy minutes what so ever. Thomas was just a board shy of recording a double double in his first official game in only 19 minutes. Best way to maximize your defensive ability is by minimizing the amount of times you have to play it by not allowing second chance opportunities. If defensive rebounding can be a real strength of ours, I like our chances of ending the year ranked higher than we started.

  • Ole Man

    Bryant could have easily led the team in scoring and the team could have scored 100 if the guards hadn’t been ball hogs most of the second half.

  • SilentBob

    Agreed. That was a area of concern and something I’ll be watching closely. We missed him a lot. He was drawing fouls left and right when we did go to him so I don’t really understand why we weren’t going to him more. Especially since he seems a good free throw shooter for his position. But I commented this on the latest POTB episode, yea gotta keep the big man happy. Otherwise he is going to start driving the ball from the three point line and drawing charges like he did last night.

  • straight no chaser

    Hmmm, I wonder what it was that made CTC’s intervention so crucial. Was the rim a different height or of a slightly altered hue of orange, air circulation that was deflecting the ball ever so slightly to one side, or was the ball over-inflated and thus more susceptible to gravitational pull, or a complex intermingling of such factors that only the trained eye and intuition of Coach could have detected? LOL.

  • GaHoosier

    CTC was reminding Troy to square his shoulders and to not lean backwards on the follow through. Troy was missing them all short and to the right.

  • cooper

    I agree a deep team can be an advantage but make the other team make changes. A deep team is all the more reason to put out the lineup you want so weaker teams have to change and can’t put their best 5 on the court.

  • Ole Man

    Good observation. I noticed the drive as well when they didn’t get him involved

  • cooper

    I brought this up before. I worry how much he will get the ball with Blackmon, Ferrell and Williams wanting to show they are pro ready.

  • Chappy Dan


  • Ole Man

    Excellent question.

  • So I guess you don’t favor using matchups that are likely to be most successful against a particular opponent? You’d just rather throw anyone out there and see if it works.. and if the matchups aren’t working then what? Geez, I’m glad you’re not the coach.. whew.. Do you realize what you’re sayong?