Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Pittsburgh

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Indiana moved to 6-1 with a comfortable 81-69 win over Pittsburgh in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall. Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Panthers:

· This was Indiana’s best performance of the season to date: If the Hoosiers are to find success with any consistency this season, last night was a decent blueprint of what needs to occur, sans the poor defensive rebounding. Indiana shot it at a very high rate (59.1 effective field goal percentage), didn’t turn it over much (14.1 turnover percentage) and put in strong work on the offensive glass.

The defense wasn’t great as Pittsburgh scored 1.08 points per possession, but when Indiana is shooting it so efficiently and getting easy baskets (48 points in the paint), the Hoosiers are tough to stop. Last night, Indiana not only got easy baskets at the rim, but also hit timely perimeter shots against a defense that was allowing teams to shoot just over 20 percent on 3s coming into the game.

Here’s a look at how Indiana scored last night, via Shot Analytics:

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· Emmitt Holt emerges as a legitimate rotation piece: Indiana fans had been clamoring to see more of Holt, a freshman from Webster (NY), and when Hanner Mosquera-Perea picked up two early fouls, he was called into action early. Holt, who is just 6-foot-7 but has a 7-foot-1 wing span, not only held his own, but he changed the game.

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Holt rises to the challenge in IU’s win over Pitt

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Indiana desperately needed a post presence on Tuesday night against Pittsburgh.

They found it in freshman Emmitt Holt.

In a game in which the Hoosiers were once again outsized and outrebounded, they managed to defeat the Panthers by a 81-69 score in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Holt, playing in just his third game of his college career, led the Hoosiers with 15 points — including a 6-of-6 line from the field.

All of those shots were made in the paint.

“I guess it came out of the blue,” Holt said following the game. “We’re working hard every day in practice. (This is) just something that came about.”

Against the Panthers, Holt seized his opportunities in the paint. Two of his layups came off offensive rebounds and he drew another two fouls off layup attempts as well. He also was effective on the defensive end, utilizing his 7-foot-1 wingspan to alter shots.

He finished with two blocks, five rebounds and zero fouls.

Even Indiana coach Tom Crean was surprised at Holt’s performance after the fact.

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Video: Crean reacts to win over Pittsburgh

Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 81-69 win over Pittsburgh in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall.

Watch the full press conference below:

The Minute After: Pittsburgh

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Thoughts on an 81-69 win over the Panthers:

They billed this one as a toss-up.

But the Hoosiers, save for a little lag at the end, put together a strong 40 minutes of basketball, leaving little doubt as the lead ballooned to 23 points in the second half that this was their game. While Pitt, one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the country, excelled in that category again tonight (52.1 OR%), Indiana still gave great effort on the defensive boards, gang rebounding as best it could. And it actually had a strong night cleaning up its own glass (42.4 OR%), leading to a 17-14 second-chance points advantage over the Panthers.

Couple that with adequate defense and a tremendous performance on offense, and you get a result like tonight for the Hoosiers. Indiana had one of those fun-to-watch games where it appeared Pitt — especially in the first half —  just had no chance on the dribble-drive as Indiana’s ball-handlers either scored at the cup or dished it for corner 3-pointers or easy looks for teammates at the rim. The Hoosiers entered the half an efficient 5-of-7 from distance and simply didn’t need to launch any more from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes because of their work around the rim. By game’s end, the Hoosiers amassed 58 of their 81 points in the paint and scored a strong 1.27 points per possession.

It was a balanced attack. No Hoosier had more than 15 (Emmitt Holt), but seven players had six or more points. With Hanner Mosquera-Perea saddled with two fouls in the first half, Holt entered the contest and continued to show he belongs … and then some. In 19 minutes of play, Holt led the Hoosiers in scoring on a perfect 6-of-6 line. At one point in the second half, he poked a rebound loose from a Panther, sprinted up the court, received the pass on the break and scored. Holt was also active on D (two blocks) and the boards (five).

Beyond Holt, Ryan Burton also needed to put in first half minutes for the Hoosiers up front and gave some solid time on the backline of Indiana’s 2-3 zone, which did a decent job of keeping the Panthers at bay during that stretch.

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Photo Gallery: Indiana vs. Pittsburgh

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Check out 28 photos by Jamie Owens from Indiana’s 81-69 win over Pittsburgh in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Assembly Hall in the embedded photo gallery after the jump. See more images and purchase prints from J. Scott Sports.

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Video: IU players react to win over Pittsburgh

Nick Zeisloft (eight points), Robert Johnson (six points, nine assists) and Emmitt Holt (15 points, five rebounds, two blocks) met with the media following Indiana’s 81-69 win over Pittsburgh in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall.

Watch the full press conference below:

Video: Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh players react to loss to Indiana

Jamie Dixon, Michael Young and Chris Jones met with the media following Pittsburgh’s 81-69 loss to Indiana in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Assembly Hall.

Watch both press conferences below:

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