Thoughts on an 86-56 win against the Redhawks:
After Friday night’s win against Xavier, the predictable hangover immediately set in.
Without the size, strength or talent to match Indiana, Travis Steele and the Redhawks packed the paint to try and take away Indiana’s dominance inside. It gave the Hoosiers a wide open look from the perimeter. Xavier Johnson hit two long 2s early, but Indiana’s shot went cold. And because it didn’t take much ball movement or work to get those open shots, the offense looked flat and stagnant on every miss.
Indiana didn’t hold an 11-10 lead (11:16) until almost halfway through the first half. So how did the Hoosiers get out of here, finally gain some momentum and stand up for themselves? They turned defense into offense and used their emerging transition play to overpower the Redhawks. All of these scores came either from Miami wraps or transitions to end the first half: Jalen Hood-Schifino’s pull-up 3-pointer, Malik Reneau’s bucket at the basket, Tamar Bates’ alley-oop finish, Trayce Jackson-Davis lay-up and-1 and Miller Kopp’s corner 3-pointer.
Beyond that, Jackson-Davis also continued to play his hyper-efficient, no-nonsense, man-among-boys game, scoring 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the first half alone and picking up 10 rebounds.
Add it all up and after the slow start, Indiana opened up a 43-26 lead at the break and never looked back.
Hood-Schfino shot just 1-of-9 against the Musketeers on Friday night and missed his first three shots tonight. But he began to find his rhythm as it progressed, eventually making five of his next nine shots to finish the game 5-of-12 for 12 points. He was Indiana’s second leading scorer after Jackson-Davis (17). Kopp went 2-of-5 from deep. He also showed he could stop the defense from closing in on him, driving a bucket to the edge after a fake shot. He finished with 10 points.
Xavier Johnson’s numbers won’t surprise you (seven points, five rebounds, four assists), but he had just one ball in 25 minutes tonight and played in control. Reneau continues to advocate for much of the rotation. In addition to scoring 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, Reneau had some nice passes tonight—both at halfcourt and leading in transition—and racked up three assists. CJ Gunn played hard on defense and got away with two steals for his efforts. He scored five points on 2-of-7 shooting and showed confidence in his shot even when it didn’t fall.
Jordan Geronimo had an insane five blocks in 19 minutes of action. He was part of the reason the Hoosiers held the Redhawks to just 0.79 points per possession.
While the competition won’t be pushing Indiana for the rest of the week, the schedule isn’t holding up. Indiana takes on Little Rock on Wednesday with a quick reversal vs. Jackson State on Friday. Expect more of the same there, especially as they get squeezed in around Thanksgiving Day. Indiana will be the clear and overwhelming favorite, but the game won’t always be top notch.
“It’s set up like you’re playing in a tournament, which I think is good for us.” said Mike Woodson after the game about Indiana’s four-game streak in eight days.
That fourth game is against the Tar Heels on November 30, the next real test for these Hoosiers.
Filed at: Miami Ohio Redhawks