Notes on a 102-60 win against the Hey Bulldogs:
Another home non-conference game, another dominant performance. We know the drill by now.
Sure, it wasn’t a complete cakewalk. South Carolina State came out with more intensity than the Hoosiers. Indiana also hit a stretch in the early first half where it couldn’t buy a bucket — despite getting some good looks — and were letting the Bulldogs get some easy buckets. They actually snagged a 27-20 lead at the 7:59 mark in the first half, but the Hoosiers started to connect, were grabbing offensive rebounds when they weren’t and getting after it a bit more as they finished out the half on a 23-8 run to take a 43-35 lead into half.
The second half was an offensive clinic as Indiana scored a whopping 59 points on 61.1 percent shooting from the field (21-of-31), 66.7 percent from three (4-of-6) and 81.3 percent from the line (13-of-16).
Matt Roth built off his Friday night performance, scoring a season-high 14 points on the back of 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point land. If he can continue a return to his sharpshooting ways, this team will have one more deep threat teams will have to account for. Christian Watford continues to be a steady offense force, totaling 22 points (7-of-14 from the field, 2-of-4 from three and a perfect 6-of-6 from the line).
We probably don’t make enough of a deal out of his ability to get to the line. He’s currently hit the most free throws out of anyone in the Big Ten, and is connecting at a very strong 84.6 percent clip. Elite scorers get to the line and convert.
Derek Elston got the start again and quickly racked up two fouls. It felt like a game he might disappear in, but he hit a jumper to give Indiana a 30-29 lead, and played some aggressive offense in the second half en route to 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Very efficient scoring performance out of the bearded one. He also snagged six boards.
In his return off his ankle injury, Verdell Jones didn’t skip a beat as he scored 13 points (4-of-5 from the field, 5-of-5 from the line) to go along with only one turnover.
And lest I forget, Will Sheehey converted off two alley-oops. He is Mr. Dunkington. The first, one off a nice backdoor screen from Victor Oladipo that Jordan Hulls assisted on from the perimeter, is a play we may be seeing a bit more of as the season progress, as Tom Crean now has the personnel to pull it off consistently.
Jeremiah Rivers went down with an ankle injury after stepping on the foot of Westley Telafar in the second half and he was on the floor for a while. He was helped off the court by two teammates. Rivers has earned his way into the starting lineup and is doing a lot of good things on the basketball court, so hopefully it’s nothing too serious.
Perhaps most importantly, the Hoosiers only turned the ball over a total of eight times this late afternoon. I’m not about to say they’ve cured their turnover bug, but eight turnovers is a solid performance for this team in that area, no doubt.
From here, it’s off to Vegas. Is Indiana’s first road win(s) on the horizon? We’ll find out later this week.
Filed to: South Carolina State