The Indiana Hoosiers looked dominant in their opening game of the Maui Invitational as they defeated the Providence Friars 79-58 improving to 2-0 on the season.
A mixture of suffocating defense from Indiana and double figure scoring from four of the five starters propelled the Cream and Crimson to their second victory of the season and their first of the invitational.
“We had a lot of contributions, important contribution, from everybody on the team,” head coach Archie Miller said. “To beat a team like Providence you really have to answer the physicality of the game.”
The Indiana Hoosiers did just that.
IU outrebounded the Friars 42-33 and accumulated four more offensive rebounds in the process. Going into the season Miller worried with how IU would fair against rebounding teams and was proud with how his responded.
The frontcourt of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson were not the only ones fighting inside for rebounds. Senior Al Durham grabbed six rebounds and sophomore Armaan Franklin was able to bring in five.
Leading the way for the Hoosiers throughout the entirety of the game was redshirt junior Race Thompson. From the jump ball, Thompson dominated on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball.
“Confidence, that’s the main thing,” Thompson said. “I put in a lot of work in the offseason, changed my body, and that’s just showing right now.”
Thompson tallied his career best in points with 22 on 8-of-12 shooting and added his first ever double-double with 13 rebounds. Miller was thrilled with the performance from his big man.
“Just got a monster effort from Race Thompson and I’m so happy for him,” Miller said. “His development the last eight months, his attitude, his leadership and how he plays is how he practices every day, so it was good to see that.”
With the career performance came some reason for concern.
Thompson was on the floor for 35 of the 40 minutes due to Joey Brunk being out for the second game in a row with an injury and the foul trouble that Jerome Hunter was in. When asked, Miller expressed his concern.
“A lot of concern early in the season about playing that many minutes,” Miller said. “No question about it, fatigue will play a factor in the tournament.”
The invitational does not get any easier for the Hoosiers moving forward.
IU looks to move to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in the invitational on Dec. 1 when they face off against the Texas Longhorns at 1:30 p.m. EST on ESPN. Indiana is 1-1 against Texas in the programs history and will try to take the series lead on Tuesday.
“This is going to be a game we’re really going to have to answer the bell, probably,” Miller said. “This tournament is really about momentum and energy, and we gotta get our energy up and we gotta play smart.”
Photo: Brian Spurlocki