Notebook: Career nights from Morgan, Davis help Hoosiers down SIU Edwardsville

A different atmosphere surrounded Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Friday night. After its big win against No. 3 UNC on Wednesday, IU had to bring its own energy instead of feeding off the crowd. And with the absence of OG Anunoby added to the plate, Indiana needed someone to step up.

“It goes across the board for everybody on the team, when someone goes down everyone has to step up,” sophomore Juwan Morgan said. “I don’t think it takes just one person to do everything that OG does for us. I think collectively we all had to do that for him.”

As it turns out, more than one Hoosier accepted the challenge. Freshman De’Ron Davis and Morgan had career-high nights for IU to lift the Hoosiers past Southern Illinois Edwardsville 83-60 on Friday evening.

The Hoosiers began the game with a rocky start as it took them almost four minutes to score. They shot just 0-for-8 from the field to start. When Zach McRoberts checked into the game and hit a three-pointer from the right corner, he scored IU’s first points.

“One reason that I wasn’t concerned with our slow start was the ball was going through the paint at the beginning of the game,” Tom Crean said. “And as long as that is happening, things are good.”

IU outsized SIU Edwardsville scoring 42 points in the paint and outrebounded them 45-31. Once IU gained momentum, sparks from Morgan and Davis and solid defense kept the Hoosiers rolling. Entering the under-8 timeout in the first half, IU increased its lead to 13 and kept piling it on. This second wind was all IU needed to ensure its sixth victory of the season.

Morgan was locked in and led the Hoosiers with a perfect 8-of-8 shooting performance for 18 points. Morgan rebounded enough for two, Crean said, adding 10 rebounds in his 20 minutes of play. The double-double for Morgan was the first of his career.

“I think just mentally I’ve been thinking too much about shooting, things like that,” Morgan said. “I just got back to what I was at last year and things that helped the team and I didn’t have to make plays or anything. And if I ran hard and set a screen, I knew my teammates would find me.”

As for Davis, Crean compared his role to be similar to that of a hockey player in short bursts and shifts. Tonight, Davis played 17 minutes and finished with 14 points, shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Davis also added three assists in his career-high night.

“I think (Davis) will continue to grow as he gets healthy and as he gets into even better shape and he understands how hard he has to play for how long,” Crean said. “That’s a big thing right now for a young guy, and especially for a young guy that wasn’t here all summer and is coming off the injuries.”

Other notable stats for IU was that it made 19 straight free throws and finished the game shooting 87 percent from behind the line. The win also marked Indiana’s 22nd straight home win, the longest active streak in the Big Ten.

Next up, IU continues its home stretch with Southeast Missouri State on Sunday. The Hoosiers will look to emphasize closing out on defense and helping each player understand what their strengths are, Crean said.

The Minute After: SIU Edwardsville

Thoughts on a 83-60 win over the Cougars:

An inevitable sluggish start from the Hoosiers quickly turned.

And by game’s end, Indiana had completely dismantled the Cougars, dominating the contest in impressive fashion. In terms of guarantee games, Indiana’s defense tonight performance ranks first. The Hoosiers’ talent, size, and length simply overwhelmed SIUE. They entered the contest averaging 5.2 blocks per game. Indiana had eight swats tonight, tying a season-high.

After a breakout game against North Carolina, De’Ron Davis continued his growth in the cream and crimson. Davis notched a career high 14 points while flashing an array of moves down low. The Overland (Colo.) product plays with a maturity uncommon for a freshman who missed crucial time in IU’s system this summer. More often than not over the last two contents, Davis takes his time, makes a considerable move away from his initial post position and puts it in the hoop over his defender. He finished the night 4-of-6 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the line, continuing to show great footwork and a smooth free throw stroke.

Though he had just one of Indiana’s blocks this evening, he’s showing why he left the state of Colorado as the all-time blocks leader. Davis is an intimidating presence on defense with good instincts.

Elsewhere, Juwan Morgan played his best game as a Hoosier in racking up his first double-double in an IU uniform (18 points, 10 rebounds) on a perfect 8-of-8 performance from the field. With OG Anunoby sidelined, the freshmen are going to get more opportunity for minutes before conference season hits. But Anunoby’s absence may benefit sophomore Morgan the most. He entered the season to high praise from his teammates and coaching staff about how much better he’s gotten from last year. Morgan now has more room to spread his wings as a do-all wing in Crean’s system.

Butler and Louisville, two teams above the Hoosiers in the KenPom rankings, loom later this month. With Anunoby’s return date uncertain, players like Morgan and Davis stepping up could be huge.

Tempo free wise, Indiana held SIUE to just .87 points per possession. But that number is even skewed a bit as the Cougars kept in their best players and Tom Crean emptied his bench earlier than usual. Tim Priller entered the contest at the 9:18 mark. Grant Gelon and Quentin Taylor also saw action. Indiana started strong with the ball, but faded a bit as the game went on. Even still, Indiana’s turnover percentage of 18.9 percent was a season low. Offensively, the Hoosiers posted a strong 1.20 points per possession and shot 87 percent from the line (20-of-23). But even on a night when the offense was high level, the Hoosiers are still shooting it below what we’ve come to expect from distance, hitting just 31.8 percent for the game (7-of-22).

This grueling stretch of four games in eight days comes to a close Sunday afternoon as the Hoosiers welcome Southeast Missouri State to Bloomington. Indiana then gets a full Monday-Friday of non-game action before hosting Houston Baptist next Saturday.

It’s been an interesting, up and down week and a half for the Hoosiers with the Fort Wayne loss and UNC win, but the overall trend line continues up.

Video: Tom Crean reacts to win over SIU Edwardsville

Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 83-60 win over SIU Edwardsville on Friday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Watch his postgame comments below:

Photo Gallery: Indiana vs. SIU Edwardsville

Check out 51 photos by Jamie Owens from Indiana’s 83-60 win over SIU Edwardsville at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in the embedded photo gallery. Purchase prints from J. Scott Photography.

Video: Jon Harris reacts to loss at Indiana

SIU Edwardsville coach Jon Harris, who played for Tom Crean at Marquette, addressed the media following his team’s 83-60 loss to Indiana on Friday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Watch his postgame comments below:

Video: IU players react to win over SIU Edwardsville

De’Ron Davis and Juwan Morgan met with the media following Indiana’s 83-60 win over SIU Edwardsville on Friday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Watch their postgame comments below:

At the buzzer: Indiana 83, SIU Edwardsville 60

Quick thoughts on Indiana’s 83-60 win over SIU Edwardsville:

How it happened: Save for a shaky start, this game was all Indiana. After trailing 4-0 to start, Indiana ripped off a 29-8 run to claim a 17-point lead. It never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way. Without any frontcourt size for SIU Edwardsville, Indiana dominated the glass by grabbing 15 offensive rebounds for 17 second chance points. The Hoosiers also blocked eight shots. Against an inferior opponent, Indiana was dominant, which is what you’d expect from one of the nation’s top 15 teams. The win was IU’s 22nd straight in Bloomington, the longest active streak in the Big Ten.

Standout performance: Sophomore Juwan Morgan was relentless on the boards and recorded his first career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The undersized Cougars had no answer for Morgan’s aggressiveness in the paint.

Statistics that stands out: Indiana had a turnover percentage of just 11.9 in the first half and 18.9 percent for the game, a season low. The Hoosiers also rebounded 45.5 percent of their missed shots.

Final IU player stats:

siuebox

Final tempo-free stats:

siutempofree

Film Session: North Carolina

Indiana’s 76-67 win over North Carolina on Wednesday night was highlighted by strong play on both sides of the ball from the Hoosiers.

We’ll take a look at a range of key plays from IU in the latest edition of Film Session:

On Indiana’s second possession of the game, the Hoosiers go into a little weave action out of the corner. OG Anunoby comes out of the right corner and gets the ball from Robert Johnson:

unc1

Anunoby takes the ball through the right wing as James Blackmon Jr. comes through off the left wing:

unc2

Blackmon Jr. sees space and begins a downhill drive to the rim:

unc3

Justin Jackson leaves Johnson to help on Blackmon Jr.’s drive. Johnson sets up on the right wing and Blackmon Jr. finds him with the pass:

unc4

Johnson knocks down the 3-pointer to put Indiana up 5-0:

unc5

In its previous two outings, Indiana had struggled to get quality looks from distance due to lack of ball movement and not enough dribble penetration. This early possession from the Hoosiers on Wednesday night was a good sign the offense had returned to form and Indiana was ready to rock against the Tar Heels.

Video:

What to Expect: SIU Edwardsville

Indiana returns to action tonight at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall as the Hoosiers host SIU Edwardsville. The Cougars are 4-3 with wins over Grand Canyon, IUPUI and Hawaii, but losses to Arkansas State, Illinois State and Texas State.

The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN3 with Jordan Bernfield & Homer Drew on the call:

SIU Edwardsville is the first of two Ohio Valley Conference opponents that will come to Bloomington this weekend as Indiana completes a grueling stretch of four games in eight days.

The Cougars are coached by Jon Harris, who played for Tom Crean at Marquette and was a part of his staff for the program’s Final Four season in 2003. SIU Edwardsville was picked to finish close to the bottom of the west division in the OVC, but owns two road wins already this season against KenPom top 200 teams in Hawaii and Grand Canyon.

Despite the competitiveness that SIU Edwardsville has shown this far, this should be a contest in which Indiana’s younger players get experience with less than four weeks to go until the start of conference play.

MEET THE COUGARS

SIU Edwardsville has four players averaging in double figures with a fifth at 9.9 per game. Leading the way is redshirt sophomore Tre Harris, who played at Kansas State for a season before transferring and sitting out last season.

The 6-foot-3 Harris, who comes off the bench, made 45.5 percent of his 3s in Manhattan as a freshman, including 40 percent in Big 12 games. Through seven games this year, Harris is using 27.6 percent of the team’s possessions while on the floor and is hitting 52.6 percent of his 3s.

Freshman Christian Ellis is the starting point guard and has a solid assist rate (31 percent), but is hitting just 51.2 percent from the foul line despite taking a team-high 41 attempts.

Joining Ellis in the starting backcourt are 6-foot-4 senior Burak Eslik and 6-foot-4 sophomore Carlos Anderson. Eslik, a native of Turkey, is a career 33.5 shooter from behind the 3-point line. Anderson is a low efficiency player, but is playing a team-high 32.1 minutes per game. Anderson has been solid at drawing fouls this season as his free throw rate (FTA/FGA) is currently north of 50 percent.

Justin Benton, a 6-foot-4 freshman, is the other member of the backcourt rotation. Benton isn’t much of an offensive threat as his usage rate of 11.9 is the lowest of any of the team’s regulars.

Jalen Henry, a 6-foot-8 junior and Keenan Simmons, a 6-foot-6 junior, make up SIU Edwardsville’s starting frontcourt. Henry is making just 43.5 percent of his 2s in seven games. Simmons has the team’s highest offensive rating at 129.4 because he rarely turns it over and is a decent finisher (52.8 percent from the field).

Brandon Jackson, a 6-foot-7 freshman, is making 46.7 percent of his 2s off the bench in limited minutes.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

SIU Edwardsville’s offensive profile suggests that it will need to get hot from distance and get to the foul line to keep this game competitive.

Without a post scoring presence, SIU Edwardsville is shooting 41.7 percent on 2s this season. The Cougars have been a very good 3-point shooting team so far at 39.3 percent, which is currently in the top 40 nationally. However, very little of their offense comes from behind the 3-point arc. Just 21.8 percent SIU Edwardsville’s offense is currently coming from distance. They’re also currently in the top 10 nationally at getting to the line with a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 52 percent.

Indiana should be able to impose its will in the paint in this game and on the offensive glass if shots aren’t falling from the perimeter. Like many low major teams, SIU Edwardsville simply doesn’t have the size to matchup with a Big Ten frontcourt.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

Ken Pomeroy predicts a 25-point win for the Hoosiers with a 99 percent chance for a victory. Sagarin is even more bullish on IU with his model projecting a 27-point win. The Vegas line opened at 27 and has settled at 25.5 as of Friday morning.

With OG Anunoby sidelined, tonight will mark an opportunity for De’Ron Davis, Zach McRoberts and possibly Freddie McSwain to log more minutes. Tom Crean mentioned on Dan Dakich’s radio show on Thursday afternoon that Robert Johnson is also banged up, so more minutes for Curtis Jones and Devonte Green could also be in the cards.

This is the first of five low major opponents that will come to Bloomington over the next 21 days, so look for Indiana to continue fine tuning things on both ends while getting its less experienced guys more playing time.

(Photo credit: SIU Edwardsville Athletics)

Indiana says OG Anunoby “out indefinitely”

Indiana sophomore forward OG Anunoby will be out indefinitely after suffering a sprained ankle in Wednesday’s Big Ten-ACC Challenge win over North Carolina, the school announced Thursday night.

The 6-foot-8 sophomore scored a team-high 16 points in IU’s 76-67 win over the No. 3 Tar Heels, but had to leave the game after landing awkwardly after a dunk with 1:36 remaining in the game.

Anunoby, who is averaging 12.5 points and six rebounds per game, did not return after that play. Tom Crean said postgame that it was too early to gauge the severity of the injury.

Indiana hosts SIU-Edwardsville on Friday and Southeast Missouri State on Sunday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.