INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana defeated Harvard by a final score of 89-76 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday evening.
Indiana trailed 40-39 at halftime. The Hoosiers were led in the game by sophomore center Kel’el Ware with 28 points. Mackenzie Mgbako had a career-high 18 points and that duo tied for the team-high with eight rebounds.
Below are the three keys to the game, highlights and expanded stats.
Indiana (5-1) will host Maryland on Friday evening.
See also: Woodson, Mgbako and Ware postgame
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Starting frontcourt dominates. Indiana’s starting frontcourt trio of Kel’el Ware, Malik Reneau and Mackenzie Mgbako combined for 63 points on 27-of-40 shooting. Ware was a perfect 8-of-8 late in the game and finished 12-of-13 from the field. Indiana outscored Harvard 50-28 in the paint. IU also held a 34-26 edge on the glass, breaking a trend of poor rebounding efforts.
2. Surviving without Xavier Johnson. Harvard guard Malik Mack was a tough cover for IU, and a perfect assignment for Xavier Johnson. But the sixth-year IU guard was questionable coming in and left the game in the first half with an injury and did not return. Indiana got contributions from a number of players and had 20 assists in his absence. Trey Galloway and Gabe Cupps took on the Mack defensive assignment with mixed results, but they had eight assists and no turnovers on the other end. And expanded minutes and contributions from Anthony Walker and Kaleb Banks helped the cause.
3. Improved second half perimeter defense. Following an early season trend, Harvard torched Indiana from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half, making 8-of-17. But Indiana clamped down and the Crimson made just 1-of-9 after the break. Did the Hoosiers find answers guarding the arc? We’ll see, but at least for one half the numbers say there was improvement, and IU did seem to have some degree of success closing out.
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