Going into the season there was hope among the Hoosier faithful that freshman center Thomas Bryant could create an impact on this Indiana team similar to how Cody Zeller impacted the 2012 Hoosiers. So far, things are looking bright.
Bryant had his best game of the season as he helped the Hoosiers blow by the Creighton Bluejays 86-65. Bryant finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks as his emotion on the court made Assembly Hall really rock for the first time during the 2015-2016 season.
“I’ve always had that passion in me ever since I started playing in grade school”, said Bryant about the passion he brings to the court. “I wasn’t the most talented player, so I had to do something to separate myself from others, and the passion, the will to drive, and the will to play was the difference and I’ve always kept it with me.”
Bryant’s passion was one of the biggest selling points for Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean when he recruited Bryant.
“You knew that he had infectious energy”, said Crean, “and the more you watch him you see that he really is infectious to his teammates.”
He certainty was as James Blackmon Jr. scored a team-high 19 points and had seven rebounds while Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell yet again flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.
“I’m a laid-back-type of guy, but when I see him like that, that makes me want to bring more energy to the game”, said Blackmon Jr. about the effect of having Bryant with him on the court. “I feel like we’ve had (passion) from guys, but Thomas brings it on a whole other level.”
Indiana (3-0) also showed its passion on the defensive end as they shut down a powerful Creighton offense. The Bluejays came into this game averaging 98 points a game and shooting 39.7% (25 of 63) from three-point range. The Hoosiers held them to 65 points and just 16.7% (3 of 18) from deep.
Creighton (2-1) was led by Maurice Watson Jr. who finished with a game-high 21 points. However, the Bluejays’ two leading scorers Isaiah Zierden and Cole Huff (averaging 19.5 and 14.5 points respectively) were held to a combined eight points on just 3 of 12 shooting from the floor.
The Hoosiers now have to pack their bags and fly to Hawaii to take part in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Their first game will be Monday against Wake Forest at 5pm eastern, noon local time.
Stats From The Boxscore:
- Thomas Bryant is shooting 80% from the floor this season. That’s crazy enough but did you know he hasn’t missed a two-point field this season? He is 15 of 15 on two-point field goals and 1 of 5 on three-point field goals.
- Bryant set many career-highs against Creighton including points (17), assists (2), steals (1), and blocks (4).
- Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell has scored double-digit points and has had more than five rebounds and assists every game so far this season. Here are his game logs:
- Eastern Illinois: 13 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists
- Austin Peay: 22 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists
- Creighton: 15 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists
- Ferrell’s nine rebounds against the Bluejays are a career-high.
- Ferrell (1,429 points) also passed Ray Tolbert (1,427) for 19th on IU’s all-time scoring list. Next up on the list are Walt Bellamy (1,441) and D.J. White (1,447).
- Both James Blackmon Jr. and Nick Zeisloft are shooting above 50% from three-point range this season. Blackmon Jr. is shooting 55% (11 of 20) while Zeisloft is shooting 64.3% (9 of 14).
- The Bluejays were averaging 10 offensive rebounds per game heading into their matchup with Indiana. The Hoosiers didn’t allow a single offensive rebound in the first half and only allowed eight the whole game.
- The Hoosiers scored 51 points in the first half against Creighton, marking the third consecutive half with 50+ points. Unfortunately the Hoosiers only had 35 points in the second half, thus ending the streak.