IUSportCom’s Drew LaMontagna and Cody Harner offer their takes as they give their IU player and team evaluations after the Hoosiers 84-50 win over Stetson.
After going into halftime with just 33 points against an inferior Stetson team (why I threw in the minus), Indiana came out in the second to go off for 54 more points. Oh, not to mention the starters came out of the game with just under five minutes left in the contest.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, Iâ€™m not taking away from Kory Barnettâ€™s well-deserved 2-point bucket, but itâ€™s clearly worth mentioning.
Freshman standout Cody Zeller led the team with 16 to go along with Oladipoâ€™s 13, Hullsâ€™ 12, and Jonesâ€™ 11.
The real eye popper this game was the spectacular alley-oops and dunks. Hulls flung one out for Zeller to get it going, then Moore followed by tossing one up to Oladipo from three feet beyond the arc. These were just two of the seven dunks that occurred throughout the game from IU to contribute to a dominant second half performance.
Crean said in the press conference, â€œOur offense is a lot better when our defense is cooking.â€ Last night was a perfect example.
The first half was not what fans have come to expect this season on both sides of the ball.
However, in the second half, things picked up and Indiana only gave up 21 points, a lot of which were as a result of pulling the top seven guys to insert players like Taylor Wayer, Kory Barnett, and Austin Etherington.Â Zeller had a career high 15 deflections, and IU held Stetson to just 25.9% shooting in the second half, 32.1% for the entire game.
Derek Elston off the bench has been a solid asset all season long, as he is finally healthy and executing well in his new role on the team. He chipped in seven.
Speaking of roles, Tom Pritchard knows his, and although his minutes come sparingly, he is sure to make the best of them.
Pritchard came out and played strong, disciplined defense, forcing Stetson in traps with the baseline, contributing one block and three boards to go along with one assist, and four points. I think I can still hear the â€œTOM PRITCHARDâ€ chants echoing in my ear.
I was a little disappointed with Sheehey, however, as he hasnâ€™t been playing up to the bar he had set earlier in the season. He did have six points and two assists, but I expected more out of him.
Overall the bench had 23 points, but they did see significantly more playing time towards the end of the game, so that stat can be deceiving.
In the first half of play there were too many substitutions. Players like Remy Abell got a surprisingly good amount of playing time within the first ten minutes of the game. Thatâ€™s not to rip Abell, I just donâ€™t think thatâ€™s his role yet.
â€œThereâ€™s no question I subbed too much in the first half,â€ Crean said. â€œI didnâ€™t let us get enough flow.â€ Creanâ€™s second half starting lineup was Moore, Sheehey, Verdell, Elston, and Zeller.
And with a poor offensive performance in the first half, Jordan Hulls on the bench just didnâ€™t seem right.
On Moore getting the nod, Crean noted, â€œWe wanted a defensive mindsetâ€¦it could have easily backfired, but it worked out.â€
I, myself had my doubts, but you canâ€™t argue with results, and thatâ€™s exactly what Indiana got out of the switch, so I credit him for that. I donâ€™t expect this to be an every game type thing, Moore knows he only gets limited playing time, so he must make them count, in this scenario, he did. His personal statistics may not show it, but clearly it had an affect on the game, particularly the second half.
What I liked..
I liked how Indiana fans are appreciating Tom Pritchard this year. Seeing significantly less playing time, Pritchard is excelling in his new role as a reserve. He is playing sound defense, and whenever he gets the ball, fans are egging him on to shoot, awaiting a chance to cheer him on. Itâ€™s nice to see the senior get some love.
I liked how Zeller is getting tougher down low. Surprisingly, he was not doubled as much as I had thought coming into the game, and he took advantage numerous times one on one with Stetsonâ€™s center, Adam Pegg. This kid improves each and every week and is ridiculously fun to watch.
I liked the ball movement. I like it, mostly because it actually works this year. In recent years, it was a game of hot potato until the shot clock was running low, followed by an ill-advised prayer from Verdell. Now, players are moving around, and the presence of Zeller down low has helped other men like Oladipo and Hulls to get open on the perimeter.
What I didnâ€™t likeâ€¦
I didnâ€™t like the offense in the first half. The top seven guys on this team are extremely talented, and need to be on the floor as much as possible together. With all the substitutions, they werenâ€™t able to do this, as it showed when they only posted 33 points going into halftime.
I didnâ€™t like the rebounding. This continues to be a problem for the Hoosiers, and Tom Crean is well aware as he noted that it is something that has to change if this team wants to continue to get better. Against an inferior Stetson team, IU tied them with 36 boards.Â Not a good statistic by any means, Indiana should dominate this category against a team like this.
(8-0) Indiana will welcome an (8-0) Kentucky team to Bloomington Saturday, December 10th at 5:15PM. IUHoosiers.com is promoting a â€˜Red Outâ€™ for the contest, so plan accordingly. Kentucky is on a different level than Indiana, thatâ€™s just a fact. It will be interesting to see how this game pans out, and how well Indiana can match up against the number one ranked team in the country.
After a sluggish start, the IU fans and crowd in attendance Sunday night were in an uproar, as the Hoosiers imposed their will in the second half to pull out an easy 84-50 win.
Overall, it was a balanced performance by the Hoosiers as it has been most of the year. It was a highflying affair as we saw many solo dunks and alley-oops as well.
The performer of night was none other than stellar freshman Cody Zeller.Â Zeller had his slowest start of the year as he was a mere 1-5 to begin the game from the field, but quickly got back into a rhythm and led the Hoosiers in scoring with 16 points.
These points didnâ€™t come softly as Zeller put down some thunderous dunks including a couple of and oneâ€™s. Zeller added seven rebounds, four steals, and four blocks to round out his all-around great performance. Grade A performance from Zeller in this game.
Victor Oladipo played a solid game for the Hoosiers as well. Oladipo shot the ball very efficiently as he went 6-8 from the floor and finished with 13 points to go along with four rebounds.
As Hoosier fans have become accustomed to, they witnessed yet another couple of highflying dunks from Oladipo. Oladipo was also very solid on the defensive end of the court as well as he pulled in three steals and harassed the Stetson guards. It was a grade B + performance by Oladipo.
Rounding out the top three players of the game is IU guard Jordan Hulls. Hulls operated as the floor general and had a solid performance for the Hoosiers. Despite a slightly lower percentage shooting night for Hulls this season, he still put up 12 points on 5-12 shooting. Hulls knocked down two three pointers and added four assists and two rebounds for the game.
Although it was a down shooting day for Hulls, his performance was still solid for the Hoosiers and why he was one of the top performers. Hulls earned a B performance for the game.
For the first time under Tom Crean, the Indiana Hoosiers have started the season 8-0.
Following solid performances by Zeller, Oladipo, and Hulls, IU pulled out an easy victory over Stetson.
This will be a huge boost in confidence as the Hoosiers go into Saturdayâ€™s game against No. 1 team in the nation, the Kentucky Wildcats.
With performances such as these, the Hoosiers are poised to give the best team in the country a great game that all IU fans should tune it to or be in attendance at Assembly Hall for.