BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — For their first ranked opponent of the season, the Hoosiers (8-0, 0-0 Big Ten) hosted No. 17 Florida State as their pairing in the 2019 Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The Hoosiers sent a message to national media with a statement 80-64 victory over the Seminoles Tuesday night.

Indiana’s 80 points were the highest any opponent has scored against Florida State’s third ranked defense nationally. The Hoosiers will go to bed with their first “Tier-A” victory of the year.

There’s no doubt that this is the best team, we’ve played up till this point. I think they are definitely a top 25 ranked team. 

Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton

Apparently the trip to Niceville, Fla. for the Seminoles’ championship run in the Emerald Coast Classic did not tire them out. Leonard Hamilton’s team came into Bloomington with a ton of energy and they were clearly ready for another big game. Florida State made five out of their six opening shots effortlessly to give them an early 11-4 lead on the Hoosiers.

Measured as the tallest D1 basketball team in the nation, the visitors pressed Indiana’s backcourt and clogged all passing lanes. The Seminoles’ brand of aggressive defense allowed very few open Indiana chances in the first ten minutes. On-ball defenders left just a slice of space and their length created difficulties for the Indiana staff to run their premeditated sets.

At Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall, the fans were up to their shoulders in energy, ready to burst at any opportunity they could get. Former Hoosier and current NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo was in attendance courtside, and the nearly the entire 2019 bowl-eligible football Hoosiers took stage as well.

Who was Indiana’s unlikely hero to break the seal?

Armaan Franklin.

Photo: IndianaHQ

The freshman guard from Cathedral High School handled the big stage along with FSU’s backcourt pressure as well as anyone on the staff could have requested. Franklin’s cut through the pressure from opposing guards Trent Forrest and M.J. Walker. Even against the daunting size, Franklin had no problem navigating the court in a controlled fashion. Franklin sank a three that painted the rim and drove down with a speedy penetration to the rim. With a trio of Devonte Green free throws in between, Indiana tied up the contest.

With students back from break, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall erupted for the first time all season long. That’s surely a byproduct of scheduling tuneup games only in the month of November. Nonetheless, Bloomington showed Florida State why this can be one of the toughest places in the country to play.

Trayce Jackson-Davis and Joey Brunk played opportunistically in the first half. Archie Miller wants more touches for them in the post; however, their off-ball motion gave them better open looks. They sealed off defenders and the offense looked a lot smoother than the past two performances. TJD finished with 15 points, 8 boards, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Brunk ended with just four points and three rebounds, which does not accurately reflect his performance on the floor.

Photo: IndianaHQ

But with five minutes to go in the first half, the cameras turned to senior captain Green. The pure scorer got momentum from his early free throws, but he took over the game during a 1:22 period where he made three back-to-back-to-back three point shots. That gave Indiana a 12-point lead at 34-22.

At the break, Green led all scorers with 14 points including three of five from distance, and he also had three assists with three rebounds. Most importantly, he did not have a turnover in the first half.

Later in the game, Green would conclude his most impressive performance of his four year career at Indiana University. When the ball goes in for Devonte, he is one of the best players in college basketball to take advantage of the hot streak. Green finished with 30 points on five of seven shooting from behind the arc. He did not miss a shot from three-point range in the second half. Additionally Green supplemented his stat-line with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

Indiana took a hard-earned 41-30 lead at halftime that required them to continually bring down a pesky group of Seminoles that found ways to score against Indiana’s defense. Luckily for the Hoosiers, Florida State’s shooting percentage leveled off in the second half, largely due to their two of eight shooting from behind the arc.

Perhaps that’s exactly what coach Hamilton said in the locker room because the Florida State offense once again came out with guns blazing. They matched Devonte’s earlier three pointers with back-to-back-to-back three point shots of their own.

First it was Devin Vassell, then Malik Osborne (who returned to the game after an apparent head injury from a Race Thompson elbow to the face), and finally Walker. That 9-4 run quick chopped down Indiana’s lead from half time. FSU’s 20% from behind the arc quickly doubled.

Instead of full changes, the Seminoles stuck with what they are good at doing. That included suffocating on-ball pressure starting at the 90-foot mark and using their size to shoot over the Hoosiers. Not only does their length and size disrupt the offense, but that size also translates to towering shots on offense.

All things considered, Indiana kept the paint relatively clean, which was important today, but they had trouble guarding the perimeter and the elbow in the second half. Justin Smith stayed on the floor with his versatility that he has shown all season. That adaptability to play cover multiple positions came in handy this evening.

Florida State clawed back in the game and reduced Indiana’s lead to three at the 10:12 minute mark of the second half.

The scoring from the Seminoles mimicked what we have seen from Indiana this season. They had a balanced scoring attack from a number of players. No FSU player reached double digits until the 8:17 mark of the second half. Any jersey number was a threat to score at all times.

With the air slowing hissing out of the Hall, Indiana fans needed a reason to get back into the game. That moment came after a sequence of events in the Hoosiers’ favor.

That moment came after a sequence of events that included a FSU turnover, technical foul on coach Hamilton, and yet another three-pointer from Green – his fourth of the evening. To cap things off, Jackson-Davis hammered one down with authority using his left hand, after beating his defender at the corner elbow with a smooth spin move.

For the remaining eight minutes, both teams grinded the game out the foul line. The officials certainly became whistle-happy as they even called fouls on a number of … well see for yourself:

Indiana reached the double bonus with 5 minutes to go. Jackson-Davis made three of four off of consecutive fouls drawn. Smith added two more of his own.

Ultimately the Hoosiers improved shooting behind senior captain Green and their conversions at the line gave Indiana their first ranked victory of the season. They outmatched a mirror-team in Florida State.

Number of the Night: 30

Devonte Green’s 30 points were the most he has scored since his previous career-game (26 points) against Ohio State in the 2019 Big Ten Tournament. This evening, he was truly the offensive difference maker for both teams. When Green can shoot the way he did this evening against a tough defense like Florida State, the Hoosiers can truly compete with anyone in the nation.

Green shot lights out and his confidence did not shy one bit in the second half. His 5 of 7 from distance allowed Indiana to finish with an admirably 46.7% from three-point range.

Box Scores

Source: Indiana University Athletics

Next Up

Indiana will begin conference play as well as take on their first road challenge for the season. The Hoosiers travel to Madison next Saturday for a 4:30 p.m. ET date on the Big Ten Network. The Badgers (4-3) have had a tumultuous start to the season. After a big win against Marquette, Wisconsin has lost back-to-back games against Richmond and New Mexico in the Legends Classic hosted in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Wisconsin will have their own Big Ten-ACC Challenge game against N.C. State on Wednesday evening.

Featured Photo: IndianaHQ

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