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Thomas Bryant comes up big as Hoosiers dominate Bluejays, 86-65

Thomas Bryant and the Hoosiers made a statement tonight in their Gavitt Tipoff Games victory over Creighton. Here's what we learned.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

1.     Thomas Bryant demonstrated why he was one of the top recruits in America.

It seemed like Bryant had his footprint all over this game from the very beginning. Throughout the game, the freshman big man was getting to the rim, blocking shots, grabbing boards, and even made a three-pointer. Bryant finished the game with a monster stat line of 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks. The Hoosiers have desires to make a deep Tournament run this year, and in order to do so, Bryant will need to keep up this strong play.

2.     The defense stepped it up in a big way.

Creighton had put up 93 and 103 points in its first two games. Indiana's defense looked a little suspect on Monday night against Austin Peay. But tonight, the Hoosiers clamped down, holding the Bluejays to only 65 points on 0.87 PPP. Creighton could never get into a rhythm on the offensive end, and Indiana defended the perimeter very well, as Creighton only shot 3-for-18 from outside. The only Bluejay who could consistently find the basket was Maurice Watson, who did manage to get into the lane for a few easy buckets and ended up with 21 points.

3.     The Hoosiers controlled the pace - even if they weren't controlling the ball.

Indiana started out the game on a tear, taking quick shots and The Hoosiers did have 18 turnovers in this one, but some of that has to do with the quick pace that they established early on in the contest. Creighton attempted to play with the Hoosiers, but was not able to keep up. However, what I especially liked is in the second half, the Hoosiers didn't try to do anything too fancy, and played a very conservative second half in which they maintained a double-digit lead throughout. In a lot of ways, this game reminded me of the Pitt game from last season - a tricky opponent that came into Bloomington expecting a tough fight, but couldn't get by a hot-shooting Hoosier team.


Next up for the Hoosiers: a trip to Maui. The Hoosiers leave campus at 4:30am tomorrow to catch a flight to the islands, and their first Maui Invitational opponent is Wake Forest on Monday at 5pm. This will be the first of three games in three days for Indiana at the famed eight-team tournament.