Well, it wasn’t always pretty - but Indiana put away Eastern Michigan tonight to finish 4-0 in the Hoosier Tip-Off Classic, and will now turn their attention towards #1 Duke and the Big Ten season to come.
Let’s see how the Hoosiers came out on top tonight in Bloomington…
Three-point switcheroo. In the first half, Eastern Michigan—a team that had gone 24% from 3-pt range coming into this game—was shooting a blistering 63% on 7-11 shooting. But in the second half, the Hoosiers held the Eagles to just 2-10 from distance, including just 3 points from Elijah Minnie, who had 17 points through the first 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Hoosiers exploded for 5-7 from long range in the second half, improving on 7-14 from the first to end up with a season-high 57.1% from 3-pt by the final whistle.
Patient offense against the zone. We’ve watched many of Indiana’s opponents run aggressive zones defensively against them this season, and often, as a result, the Hoosiers have forced passes and turned the ball over at a remarkable clip. But tonight, the Hoosiers slowed the game down for themselves and took better care of each possession—matching their season low with 8 turnovers on the day. Those turnovers still aren't where we’d like them, but it’s getting better every time out.
More importantly, though, they looked much more comfortable working the ball to the weak parts of the zone to get open shots, and took advantage on the boards with 13 offensive rebounds on the day.
Collin Hartman sighting! Hartman’s long road back this season has been well covered, and tonight Indiana fans got to see the fifth-year senior back in action for the Hoosiers. Though he only logged 6 minutes in the game, he quickly made his presence felt with a defensive stop and a 3-pt make that got Assembly Hall on its feet.
Hartman’s role thus far in the 2017-2018 season has largely been to stand and clap on the bench. But tonight, even with limited minutes, he moved the ball confidently from the middle of the zone, and opened things up for his perimeter shooters nicely.
For a young Hoosiers team in desperate need of some leadership, here’s to hoping we see more of him in the coming weeks.
The Hoosiers will have a few days off to recuperate this weekend before an absolute gauntlet of a schedule begins on Wednesday. But for now, Indiana is 4-2, so grab those Thanksgiving leftovers and be thankful for friends, family, and... finally... some solid 2-3 zone offense.