It wasn’t pretty, but Tom Crean and the Indiana Hoosiers won for the second time in four days, laboring past USC-Upstate 69-61 Monday night in Assembly Hall.
IU committed 18 turnovers and hit just 16 of 30 free throws, but Christian Watford’s 17 points and 10 rebounds pushed the Hoosiers (2-0) past the Spartans. It was the second straight double-double for the freshman from Birmingham, Alabama.
“The first thing I would say is welcome to the wacky world of freshmen and sophomore predominant basketball,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “That’s where we are at and we have a lot of learning to do.”
Three Hoosiers — Maurice Creek (14), Verdell Jones (13) and Derek Elston (10) — joined Watford in double figures. Jeremiah Rivers added two points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Indiana led 60-40 with 7:57 remaining, but USC Upstate (0-2) closed the game with a 21-9 run.
The Spartans, playing just their third season in Division I, were led by Mezie Uzochukwu’s 14 points.
Pick to click: Watford
Crean on Puerto Rico: “We are getting ready to play some high level guys when we get to Puerto Rico. It’s going to be a really good test for us to see where we stand. If we don’t match-up and play with that will and that fire and we are not as physical as them, we will get embarrassed.”
Pritchard struggles: Plagued by foul trouble, the 6-9 sophomore scored four points and didn’t record a rebound in just 10 minutes.
Dumes struggles, too: Indiana’s leading scorer last season logged 20 minutes, but hit just 1 of 6 shots and committed four turnovers. Dumes finished with two points and five rebounds.
Up next: Ole Miss in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday.