Freshmen hit the ground running in Indiana opener

  • 11/14/2009 12:25 am in

In front of a near capacity crowd Friday night at Assembly Hall, a trio of Indiana freshmen each turned in a debut to remember.

Leading just 20-18 with 7:03 remaining in the first half, Maurice Creek and Derek Elston sparked a 9-0 run that put Indiana in the drivers seat on their way to a 83-60 win over Howard.

Creek led all scorers with 17 points and Elston and Christian Watford added 14 each for the Hoosiers, who shot nearly 56 percent from the field and had 20 assists.

“We really, really shared the basketball,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “Anytime you have 20 assists, that’s a real benchmark that your offense is really moving and it’s crisp.”

Sixteen different players saw the floor for Indiana and no one amassed more than 26 minutes. With a brand of basketball that is expected to be far more up-tempo than a season ago, Crean is focusing on getting maximum effort from each Hoosier at all times.

“I want them to understand it’s the quality of the minutes, not the quantity,” Crean said.

Creek’s 17 came on 7 of 11 shooting from the field. Watford (4 of 6) and Elston (6 of 7) were equally efficient.

“I just thought they played together,” Howard coach Gil Jackson said. “They looked to get easy shots. You didn’t see anybody playing selfishly.”

Free throw differential: Indiana shot just 13 free throws in the game and Howard shot 18 of 30.

Double-double: Watford had 11 rebounds to go along with his 14 points.

Rivers debut: Jeremiah Rivers finished with six points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal in 26 minutes. “I think what’s going on right now is that it’s extremely hard for our team to keep up with him. I’d rather have them try to speed up than to slow him down,” Crean said of Rivers.

Bison struggle from outside: Howard connected on just four of 22 three-point attempts.

Pick to Click: Watford.

Up next: USC-Upstate, November 16, 8:30 ET, Assembly Hall

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  • Kelin Blab

    My quick observations:

    – Wateford's activity is very very encouraging and is a prototype Crean player…i.e. Victor Oladipo

    – Creek seemed very comfortable at all times on the court, gives a high similarity of Etwan Moore, I don't think he will relinquish that starting spot

    – Elston “AKA Billy Bad Ass”….did exactly what he did in high school when I saw him vs Deshaun
    Thomas…scored inside, outside, rebounds, and knocked people around

    -Hulls, did what Hulls does….runs the offense, leadership, and make good decisions

    – Bawa is NOT as raw as Tijan, and has some skills to work with. He stayed on his feet often, playing big and not going for shot fakes.

    – Bobby C, got into some foul trouble but had some decent defensive minutes…..should bounce back

    My other quick notes:
    – Tijan will hopefully not hurt someone in practice, his arms are everywhere.

    – Please get out of your minds IU recruiting the 'back to the basket' type of post player. That is NOT in Crean's style if you didn't notice tonite.

    – Rivers played, well, didn't make the jumpshot very well, but did some good things and some sloppy things

    – VJ3 impressed me as he didn't try to press the issue and played a solid game. Didn't try to force too many shots let the game come to him

    – Dumes coming off the bench could work, if he accepts that roll. The kid gets after it on D and still has a nice stroke….

    – thought I saw Jelan Kendrick in the stands? Confirm?

    – We will beat PU and Maryland at home, tough loss against KY I believe.

  • Hardwood83

    A lot to like here- I am stoked to see this group grow and improve.

  • illinoishoosier

    It seemed like everytime Elston came in the Hoosiers made a run. He was always around the ball. He is definitely good enough to be starting, but man, he is a sparkplug off the bench. I think it is an important note that he did all this while playing only 14 minutes. This time will have to increase as the year goes on.

    Creek dominated the game defensively and offensively. He made a couple of tough shots and had a couple of nice dunks. He will be very important to our success in the B10 season.

    Watford always has his hands on a rebound. He just sneaks up on the ball and somehow finds it. His freethrow shooting will land him plenty of 20 point games this year.

    Overall good effort out of everybody. I hope it impressed Kendrick and Selby. They could turn this team into an instant competitor for a B10 title and a long run in the NCAAs.

  • Kendrick was not in attendance. Ron Patterson was.

  • i was wondering if it'spossible to have a link to the game highlights somewhere. i don't live in bloomington anymore so i can't watch the games, except when its illegally streamed (lol).

  • ESPN should have them….maybe

  • Hardwood83

    BTN has some highlights- but not too in-depth.

  • Wish

    Watford is going to have a difficult time rebounding in the Big Ten while playing the '4' position and I wonder if he came to IU to play down there. He floats on offense, a good thing, but he's still going to have to bang with the MSU, Wisconsin and Purdue guys down low and that's going to be a handful. I think that's why you have people asking for another big guy (or two).

    Elston was fantastic, Bobby C not so much and Hulls was what Hulls is. I hope Creek doesn't turn into Bracey and I worry about Dumes 'not getting his shots' and going outside of the offense to get them. Bawa looks like he can be something in the future and Watford had the desire I wanted to see in such a highly recruited player.

    Once the first game jitters left they looked like a young team trying to find their way. An encouraging win for the Hoosiers.

  • yea you're right i just checked out the btn site they have some highlights, but like you said, not too in-depth. but it looks like we had a lot of dunks last game

  • JerryCT

    I was very impressed by the solid play of everyone. The freshmen are incredibly fearless in their play. Last year I did not see our kids get better very fast but I think this bunch is special , each one of them .

    To me the most efficient player last night was Elston who only played 14 minutes but seemed to be the kid who broke the game open.

    Also it is easy to under estimate what Pritchard means to the team and it does not show in the box score. He did not get credit for any steals but took charges ( 2 or 3 ) altered shots, and did not allow 2nd chance pts. He also starts the offense by his single handed “double screens”.

    It was good to see Dumes back. In 14 minutes he got 7pts but missed 2 FT's and had a layup taken back for a travel . His D is maybe the best on the team.

    I liked virtually everything I saw.

  • shrekie

    A lot of things to be encouraged about from last night. The talent level of the three new starters is so far beyond last year's team. Having a point guard like Rivers is such a noticable difference, he really seems able to control the game. I agreed with most of the comments below, Elston had a really solid game in limited minutes, I'd love to see him play more. Pritchard was tough around the basket and stepped up for a few charges.

    The only disagreement I have with the comments below relate to Dumes. I thought his defense looked incredibly lazy. He had two steals because he was reaching in on guys the entire second half. Better players would have gone right past him or gotten a foul called. His bricks from the free throw line didn't impress me either. I think he can help off the bench, but right now I like the other guys in the back court (Rivers, Creek, Hulls, and Jones) a lot better.


    I'm going to copy cat Kelin's style of commenting here ( hope you don't mind Kelin):

    – Thought most of the mistakes made were mistakes that are to be expected from the type of team that we have right now but more importantly are the type that are fixable and I believe CTC can and will fix them.

    – Believe that Dumes will continue to come off of the bench and it will be interesting how he handles that if it becomes reality. If he starts to go outside of the offense for his shots, well Crean has already shown what will probably happen if that is the case in that he will see even less of the floor.

    – Rivers had four turnovers but I tend to agree with CTC in that at least some of those were due to the fact that the rest of the team could not keep up with him and that it is better to try and speed them up rather than trying to slow Rivers down. This will be the situation less and less as he continues to knock off rust and the others continue to come along with their game.

    – It is going to be hard to keep Big E(lston) off of the floor. He is already starting to remind me looks wise as well as game wise of a taller and somewhat faster Brian Evans……which is not a bad thing by any means.

    – Bawa may be able to help us more this year than what most expect. The body and desire seem to be there and so are the people with the know how to help him get better quicker.

    – Hulls continues to be the other person in the highlights, you know the one that makes the pass that makes it possibe for the one making the shot to be make it into the highlights. This is something that every successfull team has to have. Oh and then there is the little thing of him AGAIN not having any turnovers.

    – Watford continued to show that he is already in the mix for Big Ten freshman of the year. If he continues the free throw shooting percentage he has shown so far he will see alot of double doubles this season due in large part to that. He will be a S-T-U-D.

    – Mr. Selby we know you were there watching and can you honestly tell yourself that you don't want to play the style of play you witnessed last night. That style of ball would allow you many avenues to showcase your many talents and would fit you like a glove ? When you get here and start playing for Coach Crean the inevitable comparisions to a certain former gaurd, now starring in the NBA, that Coach Crean developed are sure to follow rather quickly and not in a bad way either. Trust me being known as one of the big reasons that Indiana bball returned back to the title of perenial powerhouse will serve you well on and off the court when you first get here, during your playing days here, during your playing days at the next level and for the rest of your years after bball.

    – Maybe the most encouraging thing is that the vast majority of these kids are no where near their full potential and will only continue to get better. Look out rest of bball world we are on our way back and we are not slowing down for anybody or anything. GOOOO HOOOOSIERS !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Just for clarification, Selby wasn't at last night's game. He didn't arrive in Bloomington until today.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Awesome to see IU back on the floor! No need to repeat what has been said. Quickly, Elston (Kelin, I love “Billy Bad Ass”) is better than his ranking coming in. He made an impact every time he was on the floor. Creek and Watford were both very active. Bawa has a chance to contribute. The offensive weapons are so much more than we had at any time last season. Yes, the defense struggled at times but this team will be able to score fairly consistently.
    Great start for the Hoosiers.

  • Kelin Blab

    Mike thanks……..makes it an ez read……..

    I agree 100% with your Bawa assessment ……he seems to know how to play big and not leave his feat. Did a solid defensive job while in there….Didn't rebound as much but I think that will come.

    I am a little torn on Elston starting cause I like him coming in bringing that fire power off the bench but you won't be able to keep him on the bench if he keeps playing like this….love his quick release on this shot….


    Alex, my bad had just listened to Chris & Hugh post game video and thought I remembered them saying that Selby was in town this weekend. Went back & listened to it again & found out that I got a little ahead of myself and that they had said he would be in town starting tomorrow. Guess it was somewhat wishfull thinking on my part that he had been here and got to the feel of AH sold out & rocking. Thanks for clarifing that for me. Maybe I should have put it as ” if you had been here”.

    Kelin/Alex, I know I got more than a little long on my post. Hard to keep it short when I've had so much anticapation bottled up for so long. Guess the players are not the only ones that have some things that need some work.