Here's my running commentary from the second half of tonight's IU basketball season opener vs. Bryant. The halftime score was 48-28 in favor of the top-ranked Hoosiers. Seriously, it was a lot of fun to write top-ranked there.
- 13:14, First Timeout (IU 58, Bryant 38) -- Yogi can handle the basketball. He's had a couple moves here in the early going of the half that have been filthy. Even when he's just dribbling the ball out top, you can tell this guy has handles. It's going to be a pleasure watching him run the show this year. He's the real deal. Somewhat of a sloppy start to the half for the Hoosiers. Watford, who is wearing Elston's jersey in, I guess, a show of support for his injured teammate, hasn't had the best of nights, other than his work on the glass. Maybe it has something to do with the jersey (ha)? For Bryant, Francis had another monster throwdown, taking to the air for a one-handed tomahawk.
- 11:46, Second Timeout (IU 62, Bryant 38) -- Cody has Bryant's big men in foul trouble, forcing Andrew Scocca to foul out with 13:11 left in the game. Yep, you read that right: Scocca fouled out with 13 minutes in the game. Hollowell got involved in the stretch, grabbing two offensive rebounds. He's got six points, all of which have come in the second half.
- 7:55, Third Timeout (IU 71, Bryant 39) -- Cody had a beautiful baby hook, a move that was impossible to defend. I've neer been that impressed with his post game, but I hoped it'd develop with time. He has looked vastly improved to me. A lot of the preseason talk surrounding Cody revolved around his newfound perimeter game. He hasn't showcased much of that -- maybe because he possesses such an advantage in the post against Bryant --
- 3:12, Fourth Timeout (IU 86, Bryant 48) -- IU has played pretty good defense all night. That's obvious when you hold someone to 39 points through 32 minutes. But they've benefited from Bryant missing several open looks from deep. Actually, and it's hard to believe, Bryant has missed 17 straight 3-pointers (they hit one as I was typing this, of course). It's even harder to believe Bryant led 15-14 at one point. We've caught fire from the 3-point line over the last couple minutes. Creek, Jordy and Watford all dropped in triples. We've got a stellar cast of shooters, a dominant post player and an electric pass-happy guard. What else can you ask for?
- Final: Indiana 97, Bryant 54. Not a ton to report on from that last three minutes as IU emptied the bench. But Etherington made a great hustle play, getting a chase down block LeBron style. OK, nothing about it resembled LeBron, but it at least gave you a visual of the kind of play it was. It's always fun to see the bench get excited for the walk-ons and end of the bench guys when they're in at the end of the game.
- Second Half Thoughts - Workmanlike effort from the Hoosiers in the second half. After going 3 of 10 from the 3-point line in the first half, IU shot 5 for 11 in the second half. Jordy and Watford, in particular, got going. Shooting, for whatever reason, is contagious, and the shots were falling in the second half.
- Final Observations -- I've got to start with Yogi. I know we've played Indiana Wesleyan and Bryant thus far, but he's looked nothing short of spectacular. Yogi gives the Hoosiers something they were missing: a playmaker. He's a guy who is excellent in transition, and he can create offense out of nothing. Yogi enjoys passing even more than scoring, and he consistently got other players open looks. Yogi finished with 10 points, seven assists (to two turnovers) and five rebounds. Heck of a debut for the much-heralded freshman. ... Watford set a career high in rebounds with 15, 14 of which came on the defensive end. ... Cody had 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He added 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks for his sixth career double-double. ... Jordy finished with nine points, hitting 3 of 5 from deep. He passed out five assists to just one turnover. IU's starting backcourt, Jordy and Yogi, combined for 12 assists and three turnovers. Excellent, just excellent. ... Hollowell and Remy had 12 points apiece off the bench. Remy got 12 points on just two shot attempts, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and going 6 for 6 from the free-throw line. Will tossed in 10 points of 3-of-4 shooting. ... Victor added five points, four rebounds and three steals. He was rather invisible for most of the game, although he did play solid defense on Francis. ... IU was a stellar 29 of 34 from the free throw line, outscoring Bryant by 19 points from the stripe. ... Hoosiers held a mammoth 40-17 edge in bench points. ... The negatives: Bryant got 13 offensive rebounds. That's too many given IU decisive edge in size and length. A lot of those rebounds were long ones off missed 3-pointers. IU's other negative is turnovers. The Hoosiers finished with 17. Crean wants IU to play fast and aggressively, so they will be prone to committing more turnovers than most teams. It's just game one, and some of the miscommunications will get ironed out with time. ... All in all, it was a really good opener for the No. 1 Hoosiers. First and foremost, there were no injuries; always a good thing. Secondly, IU shook off some of the first-game jitters and played extremely well after the opening eight minutes. The Hoosiers take on North Dakota State at 7 p.m. Monday in a game that won't be televised.
Note: I will be posting a preview of the North Dakota State game on the Crimson Quarry site. Be on the lookout. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.