It may not have been much of a test, but a shorthanded Indiana squad got back in the win column as the non-conference slate draws to a close.
The Hoosiers got off to a sluggish start — where have you heard this before — and led just 25-22 with 7:54 left in the first half. But IU closed the first half on a 10-0 run to take a 47-29 lead into the break. Elon never got closer than 14 the rest of the way. Indiana won it, 96-72.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers won with another edition of The Report Card.
No. 18 Indiana (9-3, 1-1) will next host Kennesaw State on Friday evening.
Elon showed Indiana a zone most of the game, and for the most part, the Hoosiers carved it up.
The Hoosiers shot 58 percent (40-of-69) from the field and 40 percent (8-of-20) from 3-point range. Even without starting center Trayce Jackson-Davis, IU made 32-of-49 (65 percent) from 2-point range, admittedly against an undersized Elon squad.
Indiana’s offense generated 23 assists on 40 field goals against 13 turnovers. At 1.22 points per possession, IU was right up in the range where they’ve been against many of their non-high major foes. Same goes for the turnover rate, effective field goal percentage and offensive rebounding rate.
Perhaps what this game showed more than anything else — Indiana does have some depth — at least on the offensive end. With three main rotation players out, the Hoosiers had four players reach or tie career scoring highs.
But in the end, this game didn’t prove a whole lot, as IU likely won’t see much zone in the Big Ten. And when they do it will come against much greater size and length. Indiana needs to be tested more against the man-to-man, pack-the-paint, post-double scheme we’ve now seen repeatedly, and that’s something Elon couldn’t and didn’t provide.
Indiana’s play on the defensive end was concerning. Without their best interior (Jackson-Davis) and perimeter (Xavier Johnson) defenders, the Hoosiers looked mediocre at best.
Indiana gave up .913 points per possession. That was a season-high against a non-high major opponent. Without Xavier Johnson to guard the ball, head coach Mike Woodson thought Indiana’s perimeter defense suffered, and he didn’t mince words after the game.
“We’ve got to do a better job on the ball and guarding the ball,” Woodson said. “We had quite a few fouls called tonight in guarding the ball in a one-on-one position, and then we’ve got to do a better job in our pick-and-roll defense in terms of getting over the screen and getting into the ball. We were terrible tonight in that area.”
The Hoosiers also had several miscommunications on ball screen coverages which led to open shooters. Elon made 10-of-24 (41.7 percent) from three despite coming in shooting 25.6 percent. And the Phoenix also made above 50 percent from 2-point range despite IU’s size advantage.
IU also fouled too much against a team they had both size and athletic advantages against. They continue to prove they are not fundamentally sound in this area. Indiana fouled 20 times and sent Elon to the line for 17 free throw attempts — four more than what IU had.
But Indiana’s defense forced 19 Elon turnovers and scored 18 points from them. That was ultimately the difference. The Hoosiers had 11 steals on the night
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- IU basketball: Jordan Geronimo has a dislocated finger, no timeline for Jackson-Davis or Johnson
- Watch: Woodson, Kopp and Gunn discuss win over Elon
- IU basketball: Indiana 96 Elon 72 — Three keys | Highlights | Final stats
- Long form highlights:
Race Thompson (B) With Jackson-Davis out, IU needed a big game from Thompson and he delivered a solid effort. Elon allowed him to turn and shoot over his left shoulder far too much, and Thompson’s motor was good all night. It was Thompson’s ninth career double-double and his first of the season.
Miller Kopp (B) The fifth-year continues to shoot the ball well this season, and he was active defensively with a block and two steals.
Trey Galloway (C+) Did a nice job of penetrating the zone to create opportunities for his teammates. But if Galloway is the starter in place of Xavier Johnson, Indiana will need more scoring production. And he was part of a sub-par perimeter defensive effort.
Jalen Hood-Schifino (B-) It was a mixed bag for Hood-Schifino, who produced a career high 17 points to go with seven assists. He’s shooting the ball well after a sluggish start to his career. But Hood-Schifino had five turnovers and now has four games with four or more. Most of his turnovers came on ill-advised passes. Hood-Schifino doesn’t appear to be back to his early season defensive form either.
Malik Reneau (D) Considering the opponent and the opportunity for Reneau as a starter, this was a disappointing effort. He seemed sped up at times on the offensive end, and he didn’t provide much resistance on the other.
Tamar Bates (C+) Bates continues to show promise as a scorer, and he had a couple steals on the defensive end. He seemed to lose track of who he was supposed to be guarding on the perimeter on multiple occasions.
Kaleb Banks (B) With his length and versatility, Banks continues to show promise for the future.
C.J. Gunn (B+) This was a bit of a breakout game for Gunn, who did a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor. His shot mechanics look great from three, and if he can get that part of his game going he may prove difficult to keep out of the rotation.
Logan Duncomb (B) Duncomb looks like someone Indiana can lean on if needed. He had a great sequence where he got a put-back basket, sprinted to the other end for a transition block, and then sprinted back for an offensive rebound. “Logan, seemed like every time I throw him in there, he does something positive,” Woodson said.
Anthony Leal and Nathan Childress played in the final five minutes. In total, Indiana had 10 scholarship players healthy and available on Wednesday. Trayce Jackson-Davis (back), Jordan Geronimo (finger) and Xavier Johnson (foot) were all out.
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