It’s safe to say that on day one of the Maui Invitational, IU won “The Amazing Race.”
In an early-season litmus test to kick off the Maui Invitational, Indiana jumped out to a 9-4 lead at the first media timeout and pulled away from the Providence Friars, winning 79-58 inside the Harrah’s Cherokee Center on Monday. Redshirt junior Race Thompson played a starring role, scoring a career-high 22 points and grabbing a career-high 13 rebounds. The Hoosiers (2-0) crushed the Friars (1-1) on the glass, outrebounding Providence 21-13 at halftime, and expanding that margin to 42-33 by the end of the game.
Indiana head coach Archie Miller trotted out the same starting lineup as the season opener: Rob Phinisee, Al Durham, Armaan Franklin, Thompson and Trayce Jackson-Davis. After Providence scored an early bucket to take the lead, the trio of Thompson, Franklin and Durham helped IU gain the upper hand on the Friars. Franklin swished a three from the corner, while Thompson cleaned the glass and used a variety of inside moves to score on Providence’s big men.
IU’s defense grabbed plenty of attention all afternoon. The Hoosiers used active hands to force nine first half turnovers and 13 in the game. Four different Hoosiers had steals, paced by Trey Galloway’s three takeaways. Indiana didn’t concede a single first-half three pointer, and even when Providence scored, it mostly came on contested shots. When the Friars missed, IU ended the defensive possession quickly by securing the rebound and getting into transition.
“Another Banner on the Wall” – Ultrasoft Tri-Blend T-Shirt$24.95 – $27.95
“76 Perfection” Indiana – Ultrasoft Tri-Blend T-Shirt$24.95 – $29.95
Thompson was excellent all day. He grabbed an offensive rebound, scored IU’s first basket of the day, then blocked a layup all within the game’s first 62 seconds. He reached his career-high in points well before halftime. His previous high-water mark was 10 points, set twice last season against Portland State and Iowa. Thompson also notched his first career double-double in the contest.
Another noticeable defensive accomplishment was Indiana limiting Providence guard David Duke from start to finish. Duke, who was named to the preseason All-BIG EAST First Team, scored 12 points, but shot just 3-of-12 and committed a team-high four turnovers. IU guarded him with a variety of players, and never let Duke get comfortable.
The freshmen once again made a positive impact, even against tougher competition. Galloway influenced the game on both ends of the floor in his 24 minutes of action. Galloway recorded four points, three boards, two assists and a team-high three steals. Jordan Geronimo flashed in his seven minutes as well. There were multiple instances in which the high-flying forward skied over Providence’s front line to grab a rebound or attempt to block a shot. Geronimo also knocked down a straight-away three, exhibiting an ability to stretch the floor.
After halftime, Indiana kept Providence at an arm’s length thanks to great minutes from Durham, who scored 15 points and grabbed four rebounds in the second stanza alone. Durham, whose three-point shooting ability will be desperately needed by IU this season, didn’t miss a shot attempt after halftime, making all five buckets, including three from long-distance.
The Friars never cut the deficit below 10, as Indiana hit 46% of their second-half shots and got to the free-throw line 17 times in the final 20 minutes. After making just 10-of-22 (45.5%) attempts from the free-throw line against Tennessee Tech, the Hoosiers made 18-of-24 (75%) in this contest to seal the deal.
Up next: IU can’t celebrate the win for long. The Hoosiers will take the floor Tuesday afternoon against No. 17 Texas at 1:30 PM EST on ESPN. Texas knocked off Davidson in a well-played contest, 78-76 in the first game on Monday.
Featured Image: Brian Spurlocki