BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It was head coach Archie Miller’s ability to adapt that led the Indiana Hoosiers to a 88-75 victory over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Monday night in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. In a blistering first half for Indiana offensively, the Hoosiers found ways to score even though Eric Konkol and his Bulldogs staff prepared their team admirably against Indiana’s new-look “mover-blocker” sets. In the end, the margin created in the first segment was too much for the Bulldogs, who made a great run in the second half against an IU offense that sputtered.
Indiana (6-0, 0-0 Big Ten) came out firing on all cylinders as Al Durham and Armaan Franklin each attacked on the Bulldogs transition defense with their blow-by fast breaks. The pair finished three consecutive transition buckets to put the Hoosiers up 6-2 early on.
This caused the Bulldogs (4-2, 0-0 C-USA) head coach Eric Konkol to call a quick timeout less than three minutes into the ball game to generate a response from his ball club. They did as Louisiana Tech came out in a full court press to try to get the Hoosiers flustered while bringing the ball up. The Hoosiers were not phased as they responded with another 6-2 run leading to an eight point lead at the first media timeout.
The Hoosiers extended their early first half lead reaching as high 23 points. Miller’s team found multiple ways to get the ball to the rim as the Bulldogs doubled up on post players such as Trayce Jackson-Davis and Joey Brunk. The Hoosier big men reacted to the double teams by finding cutting guards and kicking the ball out for wide open three point opportunities.
Konkol then switched it up on Indiana moving to 2-3 zone defense, trying to pack the paint against the Hoosiers. With discipline and ball movement, Indiana’s guards got the ball inside the paint for multiple Brunk lay-ups as well as baseline opportunities from Jackson-Davis and Justin Smith.
While Louisiana’s Tech man-to-man coverage deterred post-feeds, Indiana had no problem finding their posts in a soft area at the free throw line when the Bulldogs were in their zone defense.
Indiana’s post players also played a role in the Hoosiers ball movement as they waited for the defense to react before kicking the ball out to the hot shooters on the night like Devonte Green. The senior had 15 points off the bench during the first half while shooting 6-for-8 from the field and hitting three shots from deep. Green played in his groove on both ends of the court with great on-ball coverage and help defense all evening. He would finished the day with 16 points, two assists, and four turnovers.
The offensive’s production and multiple styles carried the Hoosiers to a 52-36 halftime lead.
The scoring output did not carry over after the intermission as Indiana’s scoring declined during the second half. The Bulldogs pulled to within single digits around 10 minutes to go due to the Hoosiers shooting below 30 percent after the break.
With the crowd getting anxious around the 8:30 mark of the second half and Louisiana Tech keeping things interesting, Jackson-Davis gets the ball in the low post, spins baseline and lays the ball in with contact. The three-point play put the Hoosiers back up by 15 and brought the crowd to a thunderous cheer after the play.
The quick recognition by the freshman to move away from the doubles on the night gave Indiana an advantage as he was able to finish with multiple scores inside.
For the rest of the evening, Indiana’s defense and free throw shooting grinded out the victory after Louisiana Tech’s defense buckled down. Defensive halftime adjustments from coach Konkol certainly worked. The Bulldogs were able to disrupt Indiana’s sets through hedging on the post players (by guarding in front of Indiana’s bigs) and quickly bringing the double-team on Indiana’s frontcourt each time they had the rock.
Indiana finished the game by forcing Louisiana Tech turnovers and attacking their foul-troubled opponents. Louisiana Tech had a total of 28 fouls and 20 turnovers. As a result, Indiana went to the line 38 times and converted 28 of those attempts (73.7%).
Jackson-Davis hit 11 of his 13 free throws today, which makes him the Big Ten leader in both free throws made and free throws attempted. On the season, he has taken 45 free throws and made 34 of them, which is good for 75.6 percent on the season. The Greenwood, Ind. native finished the night with 21 points and 11 rebounds, recording his third double-double of the season.
As projected in our scouting report, the Bulldogs who are ranked number one in steal percentage in the nation according to KenPom, created a lot of troubles for IU’s ball handling in the second half. After just six turnovers in the first segment, Indiana succumbed to the quick guards of Louisiana Tech, turning over the rock 11 more times. After their best turnover performance against Princeton with nine, the Hoosiers turnaround and set their turnover benchmark for the season at 18. Durham and Green were responsible for eight of the 18.
Number of the Night: 18
The Hoosiers close the night with 18 turnovers, which is a season high for this group. Louisiana Tech was expected to create turnovers given that they were the number one team in the nation in steal percentage according to KenPom. Of concern, Indiana’s most senior guards were responsible for nine of the 18 turnovers. Archie Miller will look to the upcoming five day break to clean up their performance.
The Hoosiers take on South Dakota State University after Thanksgiving on Saturday, Nov. 30. That game will take place at 4:00 p.m. ET shortly after the football program takes on rival Purdue in the annual Oaken Bucket game. You can watch that game live on BTN+.
Featured Photo: Anna Tiplick / IndianaHQ