After struggling in Puerto Rico, the Hoosiers moved back to .500 win a win over Northwestern State. Comfortable wins have been a rarity in the last two seasons, but after IU took a 10 point lead with 8:17 remaining in the first half, NSU never got closer than 9 points, and IU led by 24 with 5:40 remaining. Here are the stats. As was last year's game against the Demons, the number of possessions pushed into the low 80s (I come up with 81.5, but Ken Pomeroy's numbers aren't posted yet). Assuming that's accurate, IU's 18 turnovers are bad but not as bad as 18 turnovers typically would be. IU shot nearly 50 percent from the field, and more significantly, 77 percent (34-44) from the line. NSU shot 40 percent from the field and 41 percent from behind the arc. IU forced the Demons into 23 turnovers. IU improved in other metrics as well. Obviously, getting to the line 44 times is a positive development, and IU had 19 assists to 25 made field goals. Of course, that means that IU's offensive rebounding numbers were not great, but that certainly isn't the end of the world in a game in which IU shot so well.
The individual lines:
- Christian Watford and Maurice Creek led with way with 17 points each. Watford was 5-7 from the field and 7-8 from the line; Creek was only 4-10 from the field but also was 7-8 from the line.
- Derek Elston continues to make the most of his minutes: in just 18 minutes, Elston scored 12 points on 5-7 from the field and grabbed 6 rebounds.
- Devan Dumes saw meaningful playing time and scored 11 points.
- Jeremiah Rivers scored only 6 points, but had 10 assists and 2 steals (but 5 turnovers).
- Tijan Jobe scored 4 points on 2-2 from the field and blocked two shots. We won't worry about how a 7 footer can spend 12 minutes on the field without a single rebound.
The competition gets much tigher now. IU plays Maryland in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge on Tuesday, with games against Pitt and Kentucky to follow. More on the Terps later.