Indiana’s offensive versatility was on full display as the Hoosiers beat the Eastern Illinois Panthers 88-49 to start off the school’s 116th basketball season with a win.
Six different Hoosiers, including two bench players, scored double-digit points as both the inside game and the outside game were clicking.
“We had a lot of guys play well,” said Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean after the game. “I saw very little let-up and we played a lot of different lineups, especially in the second half, and I was proud of our effort and really proud of their energy, proud of the way they have responded this week to getting better.”
James Blackmon Jr. led the Hoosiers with 17 points as he started the game hot hitting five of his seven first half shots. Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, the team’s leading scorer the past two seasons, only scored 13 points on 12 shots but made up for it by grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out six assists. Troy Williams also added 12 points, eight rebounds, and two steals.
Freshman center Thomas Bryant showed that he was as good as advertised, falling one rebound short of a double-double (he had 11 points and nine rebounds). Bryant also made all four of his field goal attempts.
However, maybe the most impressive performance came from the Hoosiers’ second unit. The Indiana bench accounted for 35 points, including 12 from Robert Johnson and 11 from Max Bielfeldt. In addition to the points, Johnson added three assists while Bielfeldt added eight rebounds.
“I’m just pretty much keeping the same mind-set as I had when I was starting,” said Johnson, who started all but one game last year. “Just trying to come in the game and do whatever needs to be done to impact the game.”
Indiana (1-0) dominated in the post, outscoring the Panthers 42-20 in the paint as well as outrebounding them 51-17. Of those 51 rebounds, 21 of them came on the offensive end and led to 26 second chance points.
“It’s very disheartening for your team when you have guys trying to block out and get guys off the boards and you don’t get it done,” said Eastern Illinois Head Coach Jay Spoonhour. “It seemed like they scored on every second-chance opportunity.”
Eastern Illinois (0-1) was led in scoring by A.J. Riley, who had 13 points along with a team-high five rebounds. Trae Anderson also added 12 points for the Panthers.
The Hoosiers will get to relax the rest of the weekend as they will face their next test on Monday when the Austin Peay Governers come to Assembly Hall.
Stats From The Boxscore:
- Ferrell extended his streak of consecutive games with a made three-pointer to 66 games. It is the longest such streak currently in the NCAA.
- The five starters for the Hoosiers had exactly twice as many rebounds as the entire Panthers team (34-17).
- The Hoosiers’ two big men (Bryant and Bielfeldt) made all seven of their field goal attempts and went 8 of 10 from the free throw line.
- Bielfeldt tied a career-high with two steals.
- Indiana actually had one more turnover than the Panthers (16-15), but the Hoosiers still scored more points off turnovers, scoring 25 to Eastern Illinois’ 18.
- The Panthers hit four three-pointers over the course of the game, while the Hoosiers hit at least four three-pointers in each half.
- O.G. Anunoby also had a great first game, scoring six points. He also led the Hoosiers in blocks (2) and tied for the most steals (2).
- Nick Zeisloft didn’t score but he did have a perfect assist-to-turnover ratio. Ziesloft had three assists and zero turnovers in 18 minutes of play. He was one of three Hoosiers without a turnover in the the game and the only one who played more than five minutes.
- Indiana held Eastern Illinois to 49 points, which marks the fewest points the Hoosiers have allowed in a season opener since 1988. That year Indiana held Illinois State to just 48 points.