Indiana is 4-0 for the first time since the 2014-15 season after their convincing 100-62 win over Troy on Saturday night in Bloomington.
IU will return to action on Wednesday night when the Princeton Tigers come to town for a 7 p.m. tip.
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
Indiana pushed the pace offensively.
Coming into tonight, the most first-half points the Hoosiers scored this season was 47. Against Troy, IU put their foot on the gas. The rhythm and flow of Indiana’s offense was a notch above what had been seen in the first three games of the year.
As the saying normally goes in basketball, defense leads to offense and Indiana’s first half was proof of that. Scoring 58 points in the first half can be credited to many different things IU did well.
One of them is the active hands they had defensively, forcing Troy into 12 turnovers and getting seven steals in the first 20 minutes of action. The Trojans 12 first half turnovers led to 19 Indiana points.
Getting their hands on a lot of balls and forcing Troy to speed up on the offensive end of the floor allowed Indiana to get out and run and score 10 first half fast break points.
IU also had sharp ball movement on Saturday night. In the first half, Indiana had 11 assists, which surpasses the 10 they had in the second half against Western Illinois for the most assists they have accumulated in a half this season. IU had another 10 assists in the second half and 21 for the game.
A big reason the ball movement improved was the return of senior guard Devonte Green from injury. Green made his season debut on Saturday night and was a welcome sight for Hoosier fans because of his ball handling and scoring ability.
In the 11 minutes he played in the first half, Green’s rust was seen from his 1-for-5 shooting from the field resulting in only two points. However, he did not struggle to find his teammates, as his four assists tied for the team lead.
The Hoosiers delivered their best defensive performance to date.
Early in the season thus far there have been times where the defense has not played up to the standard that head coach Archie Miller and his staff would like to see.
Following back-to-back outings allowing the opposing team to shoot 50 percent from beyond the arc, that was a big point of emphasis and area that Miller discussed he would like to see improve against Troy. His team did not disappoint.
“Yeah, we were better (on the) details getting back; not giving up very many easy ones in transition was a huge part,” Miller said after the game. “Our guys on the ball I thought did a much better job to start the game in terms of our pressure and just not letting them be comfortable.
“A couple we did give up, we probably broke down in the areas we normally have been doing. But over the course of first half in particular, I think they were 2 for 11 at halftime. That was a good step. Second half they probably missed some good ones that maybe wasn’t their night from behind the line.
“First half I thought we dictated a little bit of their misses. That’s a big part moving forward. Three-point line is huge.”
Indiana turned in their best defensive performance of the year in terms of the opposing teams overall field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and points scored.
Troy shot 31.7 percent from the field, 20 percent from three, and only scored 62 points. Compare that to previous bests, all coming against Western Illinois, when the Hoosiers allowed 34.4 percent from the field, 29.2 percent from three, and allowed 65 points.
Balanced Scoring and Paint Dominance help Indiana hit the century mark.
It was another balanced scoring night for the Hoosiers on the offensive end of the floor, as four players scored in double-figures. Justin Smith had 22 points, Al Durham and Trayce Jackson-Davis had 17 apiece, and Damezi Anderson had 14 points. All four players were in double figures by halftime.
Continuing to have balance in the scoring department will make it more difficult for opposing teams to hone in on one specific player. Furthermore, having both guards and big men score makes for a nice inside and outside game for Miller and the Hoosiers.
IU finished with 38 total points in the paint compared to 20 for Troy. Indiana won the rebounding margin 51-38 and, the Hoosiers collected 15 offensive rebounds on the night and turned those into 18 second chance points.
Sophomore point guard Rob Phinisee did not play tonight due to strep throat.
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