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Three Keys: Indiana Shows Grit in Tough 85-74 Win Against Portland State

After a bit of a slow start, Indiana found enough of a rhythm to defeat Portland State by a final score of 85-74.

The Hoosiers improve to 2-0 on the season as they continue to rack up wins early on in their non-conference slate.  Indiana returns to action on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall against North Alabama.

See also:  Stats and Highlights | Post Game Interviews

THREE KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Jerome Hunter and Race Thompson produce off the bench. With injuries limiting Jerome Hunter, for the entire year, and Race Thompson, for an extended period of time, last season was not ideal for the two forwards. However, on the court and ready to contribute this year, both Hunter and Thompson made their presence known on Saturday.

Hunter finished the game with 9 points and 3 rebounds, including shooting 3-6 from the field and 2-4 from downtown.  He hit his two three-pointers late in the first half within minutes of each other to give IU an 11 point lead.

Thompson had 10 points and 9 rebounds, which were both career highs for the Minnesota native.  Even more impressive, Thompson produced those numbers in just 16 minutes of action.

2.  Front court steps up in this one. After getting really strong guard play in their win over Western Illinois, Indiana showed against Portland State that they can win even when their guards do not have their best outings. After Rob Phinisee posted a stat line of 14 points on 6-10 from the field and Armaan Franklin had 5 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and 0 turnovers in the regular season opener, the two guards had quieter days on Saturday. Franklin finished the game with 4 points and 2 turnovers whereas Phinisee finished with 7 points on 1-7 shooting from the field.

However, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Thompson stepped up versus Portland State along with another strong game from Justin Smith.  All three scored in double figures and produced at least eight rebounds apiece.

The constant from the guard perspective was Al Durham, who followed his big season opener with another 18 points and just one turnover in 32 minutes.  Indiana appears to be a team that can rely on several different options for point production.

3. The Hoosiers shot the ball well from the foul line, but three-point percentage leaves something to be desired heading into game number three.   Getting to the free-throw line 30 times and converting 22 of those attempts, good for 73.3 percent, is without a doubt something that the Hoosiers can be happy about when looking back at this game.

Furthermore, four players shot at least 80 percent from the line. Joey Brunk finished 4-5, Al Durham 3-3, Race Thompson 4-4, and Rob Phinisee 5-6.

In contrast to the quality free-throw shooting, the same cannot be said about Indiana’s three-point shooting. As a team, they went 3-14, or 21.4 percent.

Through two games, Indiana’s most consistent offensive players struggled from distance.  Smith, 0-2, and Durham, 1-4, could not find the touch from beyond the arc today.  Hunter’s 2-4 day was the lone bright spot.


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