BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The temperature outside Assembly Hall barely cracked 40 degrees on Sunday. Inside the building, thanks to Indiana’s menacing defense, it was even colder for the North Alabama Lions.
IU (4-2) never allowed UNA (2-2) to get into a rhythm, as the Hoosiers rolled to an 87-52 victory. Indiana’s opponents, who came from Florence, AL (where it’s sunny and 15 degrees warmer), missed 22 of their first 25 field goal attempts on their way to a 33% shooting effort on the afternoon. It’s the fifth straight game Indiana has kept its opponent to under 37.5% shooting from the field.
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Indiana started the game looking like a team that lost in heartbreaking fashion in their last affair. The starting lineup of Rob Phinisee, Al Durham, Armaan Franklin, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis scored the game’s first six points over a span of 3:10. After a couple substitutions, Jackson-Davis made a free throw to extend the opening run of the game to seven, before the Lions finally got on the board after 4:06 elapsed.
Indiana’s MVP in the first half was Jackson-Davis. He used his full repertoire of moves in the low post to keep North Alabama at an arm’s length, tallying 12 points before the break. IU got UNA into plenty of foul trouble, forcing six personals before the first media timeout and 13 in the half. All eight Lions who had even a minute of playing time picked up a foul before intermission, with ASUN Preseason All-Conference selection Jamari Blackmon getting whistled for three. Blackmon ended up scoreless for the ballgame, after dropping 19 points in this matchup last year.
Freshman Trey Galloway also had an impressive showing to help expand IU’s lead before halftime. Galloway scored nine points and made all four field goal attempts, infusing energy into the team, as he has done on multiple occasions in the non-conference season. He occasionally hit the deck scrambling for loose balls and stayed engaged on the sideline, even when he didn’t play. Galloway finished with 11 points on the day, two points short of a career-high.
After halftime, Franklin stole the show for the Hoosiers. In the first half, he was stymied a bit by an aggressive Lions defense that held him to five points on 2-of-7 shooting. However, the second stanza was a completely different story. Franklin scored 14 of his team-high 19 points after the break, including 5-of-5 shooting from the field and making all his four three points attempts. For the day, Franklin finished with the career-high 19 points, five rebounds, four assists, and a team-high +35.
Indiana’s three-point shooting caught fire in the second half. The Hoosiers made just four of 13 attempts in the first part of the game, but converted on nine of their 20 attempts after the break. Franklin was a big reason for that success, but Phinisee, Anthony Leal, and Khristian Lander all knocked down triples in the second half. The 13 IU threes were the 2nd-most in Archie Miller’s tenure.
Indiana led comfortably to the point that Miller substituted Nathan Childress, Cooper Bybee, and Michael Shipp into the game for the final minute. It’s always nice to see the walk-ons get playing time, especially when only family members and guests are permitted to enter Assembly Hall during the pandemic.
Indiana/North Alabama Box Score
Up next: On Saturday, Dec. 19, Indiana makes the one-hour drive up to Indianapolis to take on the Butler Bulldogs (1-0) in the Crossroads Classic. The game is currently slated to tip at 11:30 AM ET on FS1 from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Butler has a game prior to Saturday’s matchup against IU; they face No. 9 Villanova on Wednesday, at 7 PM ET, on FS1.
Featured Image: Christian Daniels