2-0 was the objective Indiana head coach Archie Miller said after the game, and in that regard Saturday’s 85-74 win over Portland State was a success.
While the Hoosiers chalked up win number two, a feisty Viking squad allowed little opportunity for IU to walk away feeling a great deal of satisfaction.
Seemingly every time Indiana started to pull away in this one, Portland State had an answer, led by big games from guards Matt Hauser and Holland “Boo Boo” Woods.
Although it wasn’t pretty, ultimately the Hoosiers were able to finish off Portland State and meet the primary objective.
The Hoosiers (2-0) will host North Alabama on Tuesday at 7 p.m. EST.
A combination of Portland State playing much better than their KenPom No. 270 ranking and Indiana still finding their way conspired to make this one more uncomfortable than many expected.
IU didn’t get their first double digit lead until 6:20 remained in the first half, and they struggled to retain that kind of margin throughout. Portland State cut the lead back down to five just minutes later, and then repeated the feat with 11:41 to go in the game when IU led by just a 58-53 margin.
Ultimately, Indiana’s size was too much, as the Hoosiers owned a 41-24 rebounding margin including 16 on the offensive end.
But a variety of struggles on both ends of the floor proved that this Hoosier squad has a long way to go.
Portland State’s pressure defense didn’t cause IU to turn the ball over. The Hoosier had just 10 miscues on the day.
Archie Miller was pleased with the lack of mistakes.
“Didn’t see a ton of offensive fouls with us being out of control,” MIller said. “Didn’t see a ton of just really bad shots. I thought we were very comfortable with it.”
But the Viking defense did have an undesired impact on IU.
“At the time maybe we took sort of the speed of our break out of it,” Miller continued. “At the end of the day we still were finding a way to score baskets and do some things.”
Forced more into the half court, Miller thought his team left opportunities on the table.
“We didn’t take advantage of the switching very much,” Miller said. “We didn’t have very much movement, which was hard for us to get going.”
The Hoosiers struggled from the perimeter, making just 3-of-14 shots from three-point range, but against a much smaller opponent, IU’s size won the day.
Indiana won the points in the paint battle by a staggering 52-22 margin, and the Hoosiers also held a 23-12 advantage in second chance points.
Hoosier fans will be having nightmares about the name Boo Boo Woods, who had 27 points while Hauser added 21.
Miller saw a defensive effort against PSU’s top scorers that was a cause for concern.
“Some alarming things out there defensively,” Miller said. “This team has to grow up a little bit faster on the defensive end. We are going to have it a whole lot tougher.
“To be honest with you, first week, if we don’t get our defense going in another direction here, we’re going to experience some really hard moments in games. We can’t get stops. The free-throw line, all you have to do is look at 32 free-throw attempts in the game. I know they ended up shooting 41% from the floor, their two guards end up going 8-14 from three.”
It is unusual for a mid major to get so many free throw attempts on the road against a high major opponent, and that seems to suggest that Indiana is reacting more than initiating on the defensive end.
Without enough pressure on the ball, Portland State’s guards were able to get moving downhill and IU’s help wasn’t always timely.
“With this team we got to find a way to get better fast on defense,” Miller said. “We don’t have the toughness or the pressure on the ball right now that we’re going to need.”
OTHER GAME COVERAGE
- Final box score and specialty stats
- Archie Miller and IU players post-game
- Three quick takeaways
(players with meaningful minutes)
- Joey Brunk* (B) Didn’t make a lot of noise in this one after getting the start. Brunk was able to draw fouls and get to the line which is a point of emphasis on this team for Miller.
- Justin Smith* (B+) Smith is an elite talent in transition, which is all the more reason why an uptempo game suits Indiana. The three-point shot isn’t there, but the stat of the game for Smith was his 8 rebounds.
- Trayce Jackson-Davis* (A-) First career double-double for Jackson-Davis as he seems to have emerged as the early leader in the battle for minutes in the paint — at least while IU plays smaller, quicker teams.
- Armaan Franklin* (C+) Not a bad effort, but it was certainly more freshman like for Franklin. There will be highs and lows, but IU needs more from the perimeter and could have used a better defensive game against PSU’s guards.
- Al Durham* (B+) Durham was off from long range, but everything else seemed right on the offensive end. A bigger, stronger faster Durham appears to be on his way to a highly productive junior season, and he will likely benefit even more when defenses have to respect a healthy Devonte Green when they are on the court together.
- Rob Phinisee (B-) There is rust, as Miller indicated that Phinisee has practiced about 1/10th as much as his teammates. The 26 minutes suggest Phinisee is progressing well, and more consistent play should follow. 7 assists on 3 turnovers was a plus, and there were defensive moments.
- Jerome Hunter (B) Hunter continues to seem to progress during each outing, and his two late first half three-pointers provided a spark.
- Race Thompson (A) Miller called Thompson “very impactful” and that might be an understatement. 10 points, 9 rebounds, a block and 4-of-4 from the stripe is incredibly impressive in just 16 minutes of action.
- De’Ron Davis also appeared in the game.
Note: Damezi Anderson missed the game with what Miller referred to as a “sore leg.” Miller also indicated that senior co-captain Devonte Green is at least another week away from returning.
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