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Hoosiers set to take on Florida Atlantic

No. 6 Indiana faces Owls in penultimate non-conference contest

Yogi Ferrell, shown playing defense, and the Indiana Hoosiers face Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m. Friday.
Yogi Ferrell, shown playing defense, and the Indiana Hoosiers face Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m. Friday.
Joe Robbins

Fresh off a blowout victory over Mount Saint Mary's, sixth-ranked Indiana welcomes Florida Atlantic in to Assembly Hall Friday night for a 7 p.m. tip off. The contest -- which will be televised on ESPN2 -- is Indiana's next to last non-conference game, with a Dec. 28 home tilt against Jacksonville serving as the last hurdle before Big Ten play.

Florida Atlantic (5-6, 1-1) has already opened league play in the Sun Belt Conference, splitting its first two games, and the Owls are currently riding a two-game losing streak.

The Owls -- coached by Mike Jarvis, who returned Saint John's to prominence in the late 1990s -- and Hoosiers share two common opponents thus far: Coppin State and North Carolina. Florida Atlantic opened its season with an 80-56 loss at North Carolina while Indiana roughed up the Heels, 83-59. The Owls took down Coppin State, 64-61, and the Hoosiers beat Coppin State, 87-51.

Much like Mount Saint Mary's, Florida Atlantic struggles offensively. The Owls rank 214th in points per game (66.2), 324 in assists per night (9.9) and 309th in field goal percentage (39.3). ranks Florida Atlantic 281 in adjusted offense and 209 in adjusted defense.

The Owls rely on a pair of guards, 6-foot-2 senior Greg Gantt and 5-10 freshman Stefan Moody, for much of their offense. The duo accounts for 55 percent of Florida Atlantic's offense.

Gantt -- 29 points away from being the Owls' all-time leading scorer -- ranks seventh in the nation at 21.5 points per game. He's hitting a sparkling 42.7 percent (35 for 82) of his 3-point tries, and Gantt has made 43 of 49 free throws (87.8 percent). He's really been hot of late, scoring 29, 34, 19, 26 and 23 in his last five contests. Gantt, who is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per game, should see plenty of Indiana defensive stalwart Victor Oladipo.

Moody is no slouch, either. The rookie is pouring in 15.0 points per night and has hit for at least 13 points in each of the past five games. Moody attempts 4.7 3-pointers per game and is connecting at a 36.2 percent clip from deep.

With the Butler loss providing the fuel, Indiana, as expected, slaughtered Mount Saint Mary's on Wednesday. Still, the Hoosiers found a way to be impressive, piecing together about as efficient of an offensive night (with the exception of free throws) as you could possible have.

Indiana -- first in adjusted offense and eighth in adjusted defense, according to -- shot 70.6 percent against the Mountaineers, making 36 of its 51 shots, including 9 of 12 (75 percent) from beyond the arc. It marked the fifth time in program history that the Hoosiers shot 70 percent or better in a game, and it was the third-best shooting percentage in the country in a game this season against a Division I opponent.

Just as impressive, the Hoosiers (10-1) recorded an assist on 27 on their 36 buckets.

Not too much to squabble with there.

The free throw line was the Hoosiers' only shooting blemish on an otherwise stellar night as Indiana was just 12 for 19 from the charity stripe. Indiana also turned it over 19 times.

After getting beat up on the glass by Butler, and facing one of the nation's worst rebounding teams in Mount Saint Mary's, the rebounding battle went about like you'd expect. The Hoosiers crushed the Mountaineers 40-15 on the boards, and Indiana rebounded nine of its 15 missed shots. That means that in the ENTIRE game only six times did the Hoosiers miss a field goal attempt and Mount Saint Mary's end up with the ball -- mindboggling!

Indiana held the edge in points in the paint (50-14), second-chance points (14-6), points off turnovers (25-16), bench points (32-21) and fast-break points (23-2).

Five Hoosiers scored in double figures, paced by Cody Zeller's 16-point, 6-rebound effort. Christian Watford had 15 points and eight boards, and Will Sheehey scored 16 off the bench. Oladipo tossed in 14 points to go with five assists, five rebounds and three steals.

For Oladipo, it's just the latest in an incredible tear. He has scored 10 or more points in nine straight games and is shooting 70.6 percent (53 of 75) in that stretch.

I'm not sure if Indiana can replicate its offensive efficiency from the Mount Saint Mary's game, but the end result will likely be the same.

Florida Atlantic Owls
Record: 5-6
RPI: 283 (IU is No. 16)
Sagarin: 277 (IU is No. 7)
Pomeroy: 258 (IU is No. 2)
2011-12 record: 11-19 (7-9 Sun Belt Conference)
Coach: Mike Jarvis (57-48, 5th season at FAU)
Series: First Meeting
TV: 7 p.m. Friday, ESPN2