C.J. Gunn only saw one game with minutes extending into the double digits over the past five.
Even when Indiana’s backcourt depth was tested, it was hard to find time on the court. Saturday’s 10 point performance in 24 minutes, which saw him on the court for nearly the entirety of the second half, is a needed and deserved confidence boost.
Head coach Mike Woodson said that Gunn put together some good days of practice following the loss to Nebraska and deserved to play as a result.
“I thought these last two days he was right on par, man, in terms of what we wanted,” Woodson said. “CJ stepped up and gave us some important minutes tonight.”
He was subbed in at the under-8 of the first half and immediately got to work, burning down the court after an Ohio State turnover before posterizing Felix Okpara on a vicious and-1 dunk that brought Assembly Hall to its feet.
Two minutes later, he got separation off the dribble and hit a midrange jumper for two more points.
He entered the game just over a minute into the second half and only got subbed our for some closing free-throw lineups as the game drew to a close. He stayed solid on defense against Ohio State’s vaunted backcourt and helped keep the Hoosiers ahead when it counted most.
Another midrange jumper pushed the lead to three with nine minutes left in the game as Indiana surged ahead following a sloppy beginning to the half. He drilled a 3-pointer to push it to six and nearly hit a second that swirled out of the rim.
He stuck around for the rest of the half as Indiana pulled out the win. Team captain Xavier Johnson praised Gunn after the game, but added he wasn’t surprised.
“That just comes from work he puts in,” Johnson said. “CJ is in the gym all the time and now you’re just seeing the results. He’s a guy that has high confidence in himself and fears nothing.”