Indiana University Men’s Basketball entered into its 124th season with an exhibition matchup against the University of Indianapolis at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Sunday afternoon. Over 17,000 were announced as in attendance to see the Hoosiers pull away with a 74-52 victory.
UIndy came out ready to play, stopping the Hoosiers defensively and converting their first drive to take the 3-0 lead. It would be nearly 5 minutes of play before Indiana could take the lead (4-3) from the Greyhounds. Throughout the entire first half, the Greyhounds would keep it close, and even tie things up with 3 and a half to go in the first . . . and then take back the lead, which they would maintain to the break, heading into the locker room with a 27-25 advantage.
The problem was not a lack of opportunity for IU, but rather an inability to close the deal, finishing up their drives into the paint. The Hoosier only shot 32% from the field over the first 20 minutes, hit just 5 of 11 attempts from the free throw line, and went 0-4 from three-point land.
Whatever IU Head Coach Mike Woodson said to the team at halftime proved to be successful, as the second half was monumental for the Hoosiers, coming alive on Defense and shooting significantly better in the last 20 minutes.
Coach Woodson addressed the slow start against UIndy. “The guys are not really familiar, it’s their first time, you know, playing in front of a crowd, and I’m not using that as an excuse. We missed so many layups . . . and then we couldn’t make free throws,” said Coach.
He continued to praise the play of Indianapolis, who returned most of their team after a 26-win season last year. “[UIndy] came in here, and they played their butts off the first half, “Woodson exclaimed. “And I thought we adjusted and finally started playing Indiana basketball, and it started with our defense. I thought our second unit was fantastic, man.”
One second half play that got Hoosier Nation vocal, was when Xavier Johnson stripped the ball at half court, passed to a breaking Trey Galloway, who passed behind the back to a trailing Kel’el Ware for the two-handed, overhead dunk. Ware missed the ‘and one’, but the Hoosiers would be up 35-31 with 16 minutes to play.
Indiana would jump up to a 42-34 score at the 13:33 mark after 5 consecutive points by Sophomore Guard Malik Renneau.
And then, Indiana would move forward, playing closer to expectations, for the remainder of the game. IU has a scary moment, however, at the 8:29 mark, when Ball State Transfer Payton Sparks went down had and appeared to have injured his left knee. After being looked after by the training staff, Sparks was able to walk off on his own accord, to a rousing applause from Hoosier Nation. Coach Woodson said that Sparks would be fine.
Indiana survived their first half challenges to win 74-52.
10 different Hoosier saw action today, with each of them contributing to the point total. Mackenzie Mcbako and Ware led the way for Indiana with 14 points, offering 8 and 6 rebounds, respectively. Reneau added 12 points and 6 boards, CJ Gunn contributed 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in his 17 minutes off the bench.
Collectively, the Hoosiers wound up shooting 48% from the field, went 3-10 from beyond the arc, hit 11 of 20 free throw attempts, rebounded 42 times, and had 21 team assists.
The Greyhounds shot 32%, pulled down 37, and had 12 assists.
Next up, Indiana will play Marian in their concluding exhibition game. The tip of is scheduled for 6:30pm on Friday, November 3rd, and the game can be seen on Big 10+.
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