The Minute After: North Carolina Central
Notes on a 72-56 win over North Carolina Central:
The Hoosiers came into tonight’s matchup against North Carolina Central sporting an effective field-goal percentage of 56.7 percent — good for 31st in the country. (How bout that, eh?)
But in the first half, IU came out cold. It only hit 36.4 percent from the field (12-of-33) and 25 percent of its 3-pointers (3-12) for an eFG of 40.9 percent.
The Hoosiers came into tonight’s matchup against North Carolina Central sporting a defensive effective field-goal percentage of 39.8 percent — good for 19th in the country. (How bout that, eh?)
But NCC was able to rip off marks of 41.7 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three, good for an eFG of 47.9 percent.
Yet, the Hoosiers entered the locker room with a 10-point lead (34-24).
So how was it done?
Offensive rebounding, free-throw rate, forcing turnovers/defense and taking care of the basketball. The Hoosiers missed a ton of bunnies around the rim, but their efforts on the glass and only five turnovers in the first half gave them the opportunity to hoist up a total of 45 shot attempts to NCC’s 31. They shot 11 free throws (making seven of them) to only two for NCC.
And the Eagles also coughed up the ball 10 times.
This extra-shot trend wasn’t as pronounced in the second half (IU: 12-of-25 from the field, 2-of-6 from three, 12-of-14 from the line; NCC: 12-of-22 from the field, 1-of-3 from three, 7-of-12 from the line), but it didn’t need to be because the Hoosiers shot the ball much better and continued to take better care of the basketball than we’ve seen all season, as they finished with 13 turnovers on the night.
NCC also continued to cough up the ball at a rough rate, finishing with 22 turnovers on the evening.
The Eagles had some solid talent on the other side of the ball and played a nice uptempo style. They also shot the ball better (47.8 percent from the field) than any team the Hoosiers have faced all season.
And IU still won handily.
How bout that, eh?
+ Terrific to see Derek Elston with this kind of night. Coach Tom Crean went with him over Bobby Capobianco — who only played five minutes, a few of which were when the game was already in hand — and he played smart, energetic basketball, which is what he does when he gets the opportunity.
In 21 minutes, Elston scored nine points (3-of-6, 0-of-1 from three, 3-of-4 from the line) to go along with six boards and two blocks.
+ Like Elston, Jeremiah Rivers saw some solid minutes off the bench (19) and he also handled the ball a bit more than we’ve seen in IU’s previous four games. At one point he broke down a full-court press and took it coast-to-coast, getting fouled on a layup attempt in the process. After Jordan Hulls had a hard time containing Landon Clement in the first half, Crean put Rivers on Clement in the second half and he shut him down for the most part.
Rivers was also a little more aggressive on offense overall, scoring five points (1-of-1 from the field, 3-of-4 from the line) to go along with six boards.
It’s looking like his role may be expanding a bit more, provided he continues to play within himself.
He did have an errant pass to Hulls that sailed out of bounds in the second half. But one turnover in 19 minutes of action is more than OK if he’s bringing it in other areas.
+ Nice to see Crean also adjust at halftime and get the team to work the ball to Watford down on the block, which led to a fair amount of trips to the line. On a night when he was only 4-of-14 from the field and 0-of-2 from three, Watford converted on 9-of-10 free throws to finish with a team-high 17 points.
+ Now 5-0, this team is starting to exude a little confidence — something we’ve yet to see in the Tom Crean era. If they keep up this kind of play during the non-conference slate, such confidence will continue to grow and should suit them well by the time Big 10 play rolls around.