IU fans didn’t have to panic on Twitter tonight.
Back at Assembly Hall for the first time in almost two weeks, Indiana (9-3, 1-1 B1G) bounced back after consecutive losses, blowing out Elon (2-11), 96-72. IU did not have Trayce Jackson-Davis and Xavier Johnson tonight, but a multitude of Hoosiers stepped up in their absence. Race Thompson scored a team-high 18 points and recorded his first double-double of the season.
Once again, Indiana fans did not take much of a liking to the Hoosiers’ start. The Phoenix, who were shorthanded themselves, scored the game’s first points and kept with IU for the entirety of the first ten minutes. Indiana lacked energy in the early going, dragging themselves up and down the floor and playing disconnected basketball.
Miller Kopp did his best to spark Indiana in the first phase of the game. Kopp scored IU’s first eight points, including two three-pointers. Even with his sharpshooting, Elon had the score at 27-25, in favor of the Hoosiers, with 10 minutes left. Phoenix guard Sean Halloran had six points and a couple assists during that stage. Elon was on fire from deep as well.
Mike Woodson was able to roll in his reserves early and often without two of his starters, and a third player, Jordan Geronimo, wearing a wrap on his wrist. After the game, Woodson confirmed Geronimo was unavailable due to a dislocated finger.
Tamar Bates and CJ Gunn made a positive impression for IU in the buildup to halftime.
Bates poured in a three with a few seconds of his entrance into the game, and parlayed that into eight first-half points. Gunn contributed through rebounding and defense before a couple of baskets, including a highlight-reel tip dunk, pushed IU’s lead out to 18 points at halftime.
Race Thompson and Jalen Hood-Schifino were Indiana’s most consistent performers throughout the night. Neither of them will ended up on SportsCenter’s “Top 10” list tonight, but their steady effort prevented any kind of letdown from IU tonight.
Elon was no matchup for Thompson in the paint, as the senior captain produced his first double-double of the year with 18 points and 11 rebounds. It was the Minnesota native’s ninth career double-double at IU, and first since the road game at MSU last February. Thompson also rejected four shots, tying a career-high.
Hood-Schifino was IU’s best player in the second half. In his second game back after experiencing an issue with his back, Hood-Schifino had 10 points and five assists after the intermission.
In fact, IU’s freshman class scored 45 of the team’s 96 points, after including the eight that Kaleb Banks scored in the closing stages. Banks may not necessarily get critical minutes this season, but this experience is valuable in his development going into what will likely be a huge season next year.
Anthony Leal and Nathan Childress also saw the court at the end of the contest. Overall, all 10
IU will take on the Kennesaw State Owls at Assembly Hall on Friday. Tip time is schedule for 7 PM ET on BTN. KSU is 8-4 this season, and they’re rated No. 218 in the country per KenPom. KSU lost by 10 at Florida earlier this year and by three at VCU on Nov. 26.
Featured Image: Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports