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Three Things: Indiana 87, North Alabama 52

Holiday season cupcake, anyone?

NCAA Basketball: North Alabama at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Hopefully, you had something better to do on Sunday afternoon. Because Indiana’s 87-52 matinee romp over an undermanned North Alabama squad looked exactly like you’d expect a sleepy Sunday cupcake contest to look.

Here are Three Things:

Up and down guard play

There was nothing special about Indiana’s guard performance in the first half. IU’s three-man starting backcourt combined to go 3-for-12 from the field, and 2-for-8 from 3-point range, while committing five turnovers against only two assists. Not good! Someone hit a switch at halftime, though, because the duo of Armaan Franklin and Rob Phinisee, in particular, looked much better. Franklin scored 14 of his career-high 19 points in the second period, knocking down all four of his 3-pointers in the final half (more on that in a moment). The sluggish first half is cause for mild concern, considering how Indiana’s guards performed in the loss at Florida State on Wednesday. But the second-half course correction provided an opportunity to rebuild some confidence and, hopefully, establish a bit of traction for the road ahead.

It was raining 3s

Well, it was raining 3s in the second half, at least. But this IU program will certainly take them wherever and whenever they come. After draining only four of their first 13 shots from beyond the arc, the Hoosiers shot 66 percent (6-for-9) along the perimeter during the second half. Franklin had a hand in that effort, as did Phinisee, who confidently shot over North Alabama’s zone early in the half and sank a couple deep shots. It was also encouraging to see Indiana’s 13 3-pointers come from a variety of sources, especially the youngsters. Phinisee and freshman Khristian Lander each had two, while Al Durham, Jerome Hunter and freshmen Anthony Leal and Trey Galloway each supplied one apiece. There’s really not a whole lot to take from a game like this, but one would hope that seeing some shots fall might provide a mental boost moving forward.

The Hoosiers got plenty of free throw practice (and they still need it)

Hope you like fouls! Because this was a stop-and-start afternoon from beginning to end. The teams combined for 41 fouls, a chunk of which sent Indiana shooters to the line. The Hoosiers were in the bonus by the first media timeout of the opening half, but their execution at the stripe left a lot to be desired. Indiana made only 18 of its 31 free throw attempts on the day, and its season free throw percentage of 67.3 ranks 200th nationally and 12th among Big Ten teams.