I think someone said it in the comments late yesterday, was this possibly the most overlooked game in recent history? Indiana was coming off of a beating we aren't used to taking from a top 3 squad in Syracuse and were facing off with a barely top 300 squad to make up for it. I personally forgot about the game, thinking it was on Sunday rather than Saturday. When I did realize my mistake and my wife asked me to do something that would take me away from watching the game and stuck with only the radio did I fight back? Not really, no. I feel like we all knew this was going to be a pretty easy game for the Hoosiers and so many were willing to donate this Saturday night to others in order to earn a Saturday night later in the schedule. At least that was my thought process.
Heck even the next day I had time to write a recap of this game and didn't. I just don't feel there is much to say. Northern Florida did start out in a 2-3 zone and it failed miserably. Indiana had pretty well no problem taking apart the Northern Florida defense to a tune of 53 points in the first half. That was roughly 1.4 points per possession. Really anything higher than that is morphing into the amazing territory (Michigan put up 1.93 in their first half against Houston Baptist and it was like watching Mozart write a concerto).
At half the Hoosiers led by 17 points and it felt like it could have been much larger. There was a lot of weird officiating quirks in this one. Suddenly charge calls were back on the books, there were a lot of off the ball fouls and it screwed with a lot of the rhythm of the game. This probably worked out best for the Ospreys as Yogi was hitting his shots early and Evan Gordon suddenly showed up to be an offensive force. If this game was played at pace the century mark would have been easily surpassed.
The lead ballooned to 34 when Crean called off the dogs and the Hoosiers scored 5 points in the final 6 minutes of game play. That last six minutes really ugged up the final team statistics as the Hoosiers had 11 empty possessions in their final 13. Such is life when guys start hunting shots in a blow out. Can't be too upset by that. What is encouraging is despite the game being a run away the Hoosiers still took pretty good care of the ball. They hit a season low in turnovers in this one by only giving the ball up 11 times. 8 in the first half and 3 in the second. You'd still like to see that come down more, especially in the first half, but baby steps.
From an individual standpoint, Yogi had a season high in assists with 7 in this game, but a poor shooting second half brought his effectiveness down quite a bit. A 1 for 7 second half turned his stellar 4 for 6 for 12 points in the first half into a pretty meh stat line. He finished with a 108 ORtg despite the bevy of assists to bolster his rating. Vonleh continued to just be himself in a 13 point 11 rebound effort. Jeremy also had a big night with a ORtg of 141 generated by 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and no turnovers. Masterful game and it exemplifies what he can do when he lets the game come to him.
Evan Gordon and Austin Etherington are going to get their own paragraph dedicated to their efforts. Suddenly Gordon was a true threat in this game. I was critical of him against Syracuse giving the Orange zero reason to show any concern for him. Tonight he attacked the rim and got buckets. He finished with a team high 15 points on 7-9 shooting. Add in 4 rebounds and he was a huge 20 minute contributor. Etherington also showed flashes of hitting shots on the perimeter. It would really be big for Indiana if Etherington can show that he can be a bit of a Matt Roth. Come in and just be a perimeter threat on offense. Doesn't even necessarily have to hit a ton, just make a defense respect the option. Let's hope his 2 threes on Saturday are indicative of what he can offer going forward.
The rest of the squad was pretty unremarkable on Saturday. Some would even say bad. Sheehey had 6 points on 3-9 shooting and was one of those guilty of hunting shots when the game was out of hand. Troy Williams continues to shoot for the spectacular instead of the routine and may be risking some minutes if he can't rein it in. If Gordon can continue to battle and show some threat on offense he may start biting into those minutes.
Overall though, the game was unremarkable. It went exactly how we expected it to go and there were more positives to take from it than negatives. Next up the Hoosiers take on a decent Oakland squad tomorrow night. The Grizzlies are 2-7 on the season, but they've played the 2nd toughest schedule in the nation. So you'll have to forgive their record. Still they're 160th in Pomeroy and should put up much more of a fight than Northern Florida did. Look for the write up on that tomorrow morning.