The Minute After: McNeese State

  • 12/12/2015 9:35 pm in

Thoughts on a 105-60 win over the Cowboys:

In transition or in the halfcourt, it didn’t matter. Indiana’s offense stomped all over the Cowboys this evening en route to a blowout victory in a game it put away in the first half.

The scoring numbers impress: 1.39 points per possession, an effective field goal percentage of 59.6 and 13-of-28 from distance (46.4%). The ball movement was sharp and Indiana had five players in double figures. But most important, the Hoosiers took care of the ball. (Well, except Troy Williams. He continued to be sloppy and had four of Indiana’s nine turnovers.) Indiana turned it over on just 12 percent of its possessions. As we’ve noted time and again, when the Hoosiers limit their mistakes, the offense is a force that can make up for their deficient defense.

James Blackmon Jr. had his way with the Cowboys. The sophomore was aggressive in transition and in the halfcourt taking the ball to the rim for scores. But he also made 5-of-10 from distance on his way to a game-high 24 points.

The Hoosiers focused on getting Thomas Bryant the ball at the onset, but it faded as the first half went along and he had just two field goal attempts heading into halftime. However, in the second half, Indiana’s guards got Bryant some more looks and he created opportunities for himself. He finished a perfect 7-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from the line for 18 points in 21 minutes.

This was perhaps the most important performance of the game for the Hoosiers. Bryant was the absolute emotional leader the first couple games of the season — never more apparent than in Indiana’s win against Creighton. But since Indiana’s Maui slide and his “injury issues”, the lion has been in the cage. If Bryant can get a little healthier and re-establish himself more down low, it bodes well for the Hoosiers as they head into Big Ten season.

They need him.

O.G. Anunoby had a nice run in his 14 minutes of action. He didn’t shoot it great (1-of-5, three points), but played under control and with confidence. He added three block and three rebounds. Juwan Morgan’s return to the court was nice to see as well. Like Bryant, he’s needed as Big Ten season nears.

Indiana had more than a handful of poor defensive possessions. It left the Cowboys open on the perimeter for open 3-point looks all night, but they just couldn’t convert (4-of-22, 18.2 percent). The Hoosiers also failed to pick up players in transition, which McNeese State capitalized on for scores. And there were the typical breakdowns in the halfcourt as well.

All that said, the Hoosiers did hold the Cowboys to just .79 points per possession, under their .92 average heading into the contest. Indiana also turned McNeese State over on 25.3 percent of their possessions, though a healthy amount of the Cowboys’ miscues were self-inflicted.

The Hoosiers get a week before their matchup with Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic next Saturday. Notre Dame, like Indiana, is scoring well but is defense optional. If Indiana can take care of the ball like it did this evening, it should put itself in good position to pick up a victory in its last non-conference game against a competent opponent.

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