BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Of Indiana’s first 32 points on Saturday afternoon, 18 came on layups and dunks, while ten came from the free throw line. The final four were tallied on jump shots just outside the lane. IU coach Archie Miller said his team would have “strength in numbers” this season, and IU brought both size and balance to beat Portland State, 85-74.
Early defensive pressure from Portland State
In the first stanza, Portland State snagged an early 5-4 lead before IU gained control, thanks to layups by Justin Smith and Al Durham. IU consistently navigated Portland State’s “Peery Pressure”, as the Vikings’ coach had his team chase after the Hoosiers after each make. After moving the ball to the offensive side of the court, IU rebounded and drew fouls on Portland State to create some distance between themselves and the Vikings.
The Hoosiers outrebounded PSU, 25-11, in the first half and got into the double bonus with 7:00 to go before the break. Indiana led for 18:22 out of the first 20 minutes. Out of the nine Hoosiers that saw the court, eight different players registered points, but no one hit double digits, showing the depth that Archie Miller wants to see this season.
At the under-four media timeout in the first half, Indiana led Portland State, 34-29. In the final stretch before the intermission, redshirt freshman Jerome Hunter connected on back-to-back threes. Prior to those makes, Indiana had made just one jump shot. Indiana once again did not have the service of senior guard Devonte Green (hamstring), so the Hoosiers needed an outside threat. Hunter tacked on a late free throw, which resulted in a 44-34 halftime lead. Of Indiana’s 44 points, 24 came in the paint, and another 11 came at the free throw line.
Hoosiers come together, finish strong
Out of the break, IU expanded its lead to 16, thanks to more points in the paint from freshman Armaan Franklin, fellow frosh Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Durham. However, Holland “Boo Boo” Woods, described as the headliner on the PSU roster in our preview earlier this week, would not allow the Vikings to go down quietly. The 2018-19 2nd team All-Big Sky guard, who did not make a field goal in the first half, erupted for 12 points on four threes in a 3:25 stretch that brought PSU to within seven. PSU also used dribble drives to make its way through IU’s “packline” defensive system, which is designed to prevent that kind of play. The Vikings trimmed the Hoosiers lead down to 5 with 11:41 to go.
A key flashpoint occurred a few seconds later. PSU senior Alonzo Walker and IU point guard Rob Phinisee exchanged some words in front of the Vikings’ bench. No physical confrontation took place, but while Phinisee walked away, Walker kept chirping, and the referees hit him with a technical foul.
The heated moment seemed to inspire Durham. The junior guard and team captain went on a personal 5-0 run to push IU’s lead back up to double digits. Durham finished with a team-high 18 points, nine of which came after the technical.
Indiana’s lead never fell to below nine points the rest of the way. Interestingly, in the second half, of the 41 points IU scored, the Hoosiers made just one jump shot, a Durham three. The other 38 points came in the paint or at the free throw line. Indiana’s strength will be inside this year, so time will tell if this type of shot distribution continues throughout the season.
Final Box Scores
Indiana continues its season-opening homestand on Tuesday night, November 12 against North Alabama. The game tips off at 7 PM ET and broadcast live on BTN.
Featured Photo: Anna Tiplick/IndianaHQ