Whatever IU men’s basketball didn’t do well Sunday afternoon, the Hoosiers compensated for in other areas.
The Hoosiers didn’t shoot the ball well, at just 43.8 percent, but gave themselves a litany of second chances thanks to 16 offensive rebounds. IU only forced 10 turnovers against the visiting University of Indianapolis but managed the ball well and had just eight giveaways itself.
Some things went wrong in the second and final exhibition game for IU but enough went right to give the Hoosiers a 74-53 victory against the Greyhounds. After the game, IU Coach Archie Miller’s biggest gripe was with his team’s willingness to settle for inefficient 3-point shots.
“It became apparent that it was going to become a jump-shooting contest in the first half,” Miller said. “We’re a quick-shooting team, and I don’t like that.”
Miller said he wants IU to focus more on feeding the paint, which it struggled to do in the first half Sunday, as the Hoosiers scored just 16 of their 38 points in the paint before halftime.
Senior forward Collin Hartman, who hadn’t played a game for IU in more than a year and a half after missing last season due to a knee injury, was the Hoosiers’ best shooter in the first half. He and freshman guard Al Durham both made their first appearances of the exhibition season in the early going.
Hartman immediately made his presence felt with two made 3-pointers on his first two shot attempts. The fifth-year senior keyed a first-half run that helped IU maintain a 33-24 lead at the break. Hartman finished his day with 9 points.
“I’m doing more and more practice everyday, just trying to get back in the flow of things and not rushing anything right now,” Hartman said of the sprained ankle he’s recovering from.
Other than Hartman though, the rest of the Hoosiers were just 4 of 17 from 3-point range. It was one of the few areas that didn’t go right for IU, but it was balanced by 16 second-chance points. IU dominated the offensive glass, led by senior Freddie McSwain’s six offensive rebounds. McSwain nearly had a double-double, with 12 points and nine rebounds in just 13 minutes of play.
Miller pointed to the success IU found in the paint and said his team needs to do a better job of helping out big men who work their way open in the post.
“The biggest emphasis tonight coming out of the game, in my mind, is the ability to feed the post and get the ball inside when guys are ready,” Miller said.
There wasn’t much else, at least in terms of big-picture trends, for Miller and his team to take away from a matchup against Division II Indianapolis. The Hoosiers met expectations by winning both exhibition games handily, and even saw improvements Sunday from individuals who struggled against Marian University last week.
Most notably, senior guard Robert Johnson led IU with 18 points after scoring just six in the first exhibition. Johnson and fellow senior guard Josh Newkirk each had just a single turnover — their only ones in the two exhibition games.
Now IU turns its attention to the regular season, which kicks off Friday night against in-state foe Indiana State. Johnson — and obviously Miller — both said there’s several areas of improvement the Hoosiers can make. But Johnson is assured he’ll be ready for games that matter.
“We have no choice, really,” Johnson said. “Coach Archie is going to do a great job of giving us a game plan of how to get better every day until we get to Friday, so I’m confident we’ll be ready.”
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