The Minute After: Marian
Thoughts on a 78-42 win against the Knights:
The prognosticators liked Indiana to win the league this year based upon how the team looked on paper. With so much of the scoring core back, plenty of experience from key players and the Big Ten’s best defense ready to rock again, it was the safe pick when juxtaposed against a Big Ten in flux and down a bit in terms of top-level talent.
But there was also this: Indiana had two freshmen in Malik Reneau and Jalen Hood-Schifino that could help tip the scales in its favor even further if they could meet expectations. It’s early to be sure. Marian is no Kansas, no North Carolina, no Illinois or Michigan State. Much bigger tests are to come. Still, Reneau and Hood-Schifino stole the show this afternoon and you couldn’t help but notice.
With Trayce Jackson-Davis out for precautionary reasons, Reneau got the start in his place and early on looked like his body double. He established position on the right block, moved patiently and scored with his left hand after moving into the lane. But Reneau proved he could do more on the court than just mimic his fellow lefty’s back-to-the-basket game. The Monteverde product scored in the pick-and-roll after receiving a nice pocket pass from Hood-Schifino. He took the ball up the court, made a move past a defender on the left wing and drove all the way to the cup for a score. Reneau caught a pass from Race Thompson for a dunk.
Reneau scored 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting and snagged 11 rebounds. Not a bad debut for the freshman.
Hood-Schifino did have two rough turnovers in the first half, but certainly showed why some feel like he could be a one-and-done player. He hit an impossibly tough turnaround fadeaway from the free-throw line, getting fouled in the process and making the free throw to boot. He drove to the basket and scored. He ran the show at point guard for stretches of the contest on his way to 11 points and four assists.
“He plays like a vet a little bit … He plays like he’s been in college for a while,” Jordan Geronimo said after the contest.
Simply put: Reneau and Hood-Schifino didn’t look like they were playing in their first college game today. Neither did fellow freshman CJ Gunn. The Lawrence North standout splashed two 3-pointers and played good defense, looking confident during his time on the floor.
There was also chatter about Logan Duncomb’s improved game this offseason. He delivered this afternoon. Like Reneau, the sophomore recorded a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds). It wasn’t always pretty, but Duncomb was productive and flashed more confidence. He looked like he belonged.
Thompson’s 3-point stroke looked strong today. He made 3-of-4. Xavier Johnson had a forgettable afternoon (2-of-11). Jordan Geronimo had a nice stretch in the second half where he made a 3-pointer and then drove off the right wing for a score at the hole. Indiana hit 8-of-19 from 3-point range (42.1 percent) and its defense remains stout and engaged.
The Hoosiers took care of business this afternoon. But just how the rotation shakes out with so many guys vying for minutes remains to be seen.
Filed to: Marian University Knights