BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — At its most fundamental level, Bob Knight’s famed motion offense was based on player movement, floor spacing, passing, cutting, and screening. On Friday night, Mike Woodson’s Hoosiers exhibited many of those qualities, if not all of them, at a high level to clinch a second easy exhibition win.
The Indiana Hoosiers defeated the Marian Knights, 94-61, during a friendly exhibition at Assembly Hall on Friday night. Two days after Coach Knight’s passing, the Hoosiers played a series of tribute videos throughout the game, sharing a moment of silence, and debuting an “RMK” patch on the jersey.
Indiana comfortably outscored the Knights, but it was not without a few preseason jitters. The Hoosiers started with the same lineup as the preseason opener, with Xavier Johnson, Trey Galloway, Mackenzie Mgbako, Malik Reneau, and Kel’el Ware.
Indiana struggled to get hot early, leading the Knights 5-3 at the first media timeout. They forced the ball into the paint, but the Knights seemed to read what IU wanted to do early.
Eventually, IU found its rhythm and broke away from the Knights, leading by double digits midway through the half. Reneau served as a deep threat, shooting 2/2 from three, while newcomer Ware showed how dominant he can be by throwing down an electric dunk.
There was a healthy rotation of players throughout the contest. Jakai Newton and Payton Sparks were unavailable, but Gabe Cupps and CJ Gunn made an immediate impact that started with a Cupps steal and ended in an acrobatic Gunn finish.
Meanwhile, Indiana did a fabulous job of protecting the basketball. The Hoosiers committed two turnovers all game, with the first coming after 15 minutes of action. On the other hand, IU recorded 25 assists in the contest, with eight different players recording a dime, led by Johnson’s seven.
Reneau finished the half with 12 points, followed by Mgbako with 9. The Hoosiers led 49-35 after the first. Halftime featured an emotional 3-minute tribute video to Coach Knight which struck a chord with the audience.
For the second straight game, the Hoosiers elevated their play in the second half. Ware scored 7 of the first 10 Indiana points, including a three-pointer and two backdown post points.
The Indiana defense was lockdown, forcing two Marian shot clock violations to open the half. Indiana outscored the Knights 15-4 in the first five minutes.
Indiana started to have some fun with the game as the half winded down. Cupps threw back-to-back alley-oops to Ware and Gunn. Both highlight-reel plays sent shockwaves through Assembly Hall.
The starters were limited to around 20 minutes of playing time, but the second team stepped onto the court with energy. 25 points came off the bench for Indiana.
The new Hoosiers played with promise and entertained a loud crowd. Ware stood out as a consistent bucket and finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The second team dynamic meshed well with the starting squad, allowing for variety in future lineups.
Exhibition season is done for the Hoosiers. IU’s regular season opener is Nov. 7 vs. FGCU at 6:30 ET on BTN. The Eagles are coached by former PSU head man Pat Chambers, and their best player is former Purdue guard Isaiah Thompson. FGCU was picked to finish 2nd by the coaches and fourth by the media in the preseason Atlantic Sun Conference poll, with Eastern Kentucky leading the way.
Featured Image: Indiana Athletics