Indiana 107, Howard 50: Hoosiers dominate Bisons.

BLOOMINGTON, IN - DECEMBER 19: Will Sheehey #10 of the Indiana Hoosiers dribbles the ball during the game against the Howard Bison at Assembly Hall on December 19, 2011 in Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana won 107-50. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

So much for the letdown or for concern over a 48 hour turnaround. IU outscored Howard 52-15 in the first half and coasted to victory over the Bisons last night. It's tough to take too much from a game over an overmatched opponent, but I thought IU's performance last night was a very good sign for the rest of the season. After a big win over Kentucky and a battle against Notre Dame just two days earlier, it would have been tempting for the Hoosiers to coast over the Bisons, and they could have done that and won regardless. Instead, IU took it to Howard from the beginning. IU led by 20 with 9:38 remaining, and the lead was at 30, for good, at the 3:15 mark, thanks to a 26 -2 run. The Hoosiers shot 66 percent from the field in the first half compared to 18 percent from Howard, doubled up the Bisons on turnovers (18-9), and never really let up.

This game was a nice opportunity for stretching the rotation. Eleven different Hoosiers played at least 8 minutes, and while IU had eight players who scored at least 8 points. Individual performances:

  • Jordan Hulls led the way with 16 points, thanks mostly to 4-5 three point shooting.
  • Cody Zeller was solid as usual, scoring 12 points on 5-6 from the field.
  • Verdell Jones III has 12 points, 7 assists, and 1 turnover.
  • Austin Etherington scored 4 points on 2-3 shooting in 9 minutes.
  • Remy Abell, who made a first half buzzer-beater against Notre Dame, looked very good and, as always, very confident for a freshman. He scored 9 on 2-2 shooting, and 4-4 from the line.
Well, the game doesn't say much about IU's overall quality as a team, but said much about their mental toughness and unwillingness to let up against a weaker opponent. One danger for a team like IU, with a bunch of players who haven't experienced success before at this level, is overlooking the lesser teams and dropping games that shouldn't be lost. If this game is any indication, then I feel very good about how IU will play against lower level Big Ten opposition (all of whom are better than Howard, of course, but the effort and aggressiveness were good enough to beat lots of teams).

Next, it's Maryland-Baltimore County, and then Big Ten play next week.
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