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Tuesday, April 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

COLUMN: Sometimes an Indiana men’s basketball beatdown is just a beatdown, and that’s fine


Indiana men’s basketball defeated Bethune-Cookman University 101-49 Thursday night in what I can only assume is the most heated rivalry in all of college basketball between two teams that had never played one another previously.

Hoosiers versus Wildcats. Big Ten versus Southwestern Athletic Conference. The zealous fervor of Indiana basketball versus the slightly less zealous fervor of Methodism. It doesn’t get any better.

Before trying to draw conclusions from this game, let me once again play the buzzkill and remind you that this game was always supposed to be lopsided. Bethune-Cookman isn’t just any Southwestern Conference team. Make no mistake — it is one of the worst Southwestern conference teams. It won nine games last season and entered Bloomington as a 31.5-point underdog.

For what it’s worth, Bethune-Cookman showed plenty of early determination and energy. But about midway through, the Wildcats appeared to have completely lost the will to try in Bloomington. Not that I can relate.

Just as it did in its home opener against Morehead State University on Monday, Indiana jumped to a double-digit lead midway through the first half and never looked back. The Hoosiers did so once again with their second unit on the court, clamping down defensively and moving the ball seamlessly on offense.

[Related: COLUMN: Indiana men’s basketball is going to be amazing. Or it isn’t. It’s been one game.]

That bench unit sprinted to a 15-0 scoring run featuring three made 3-point shots, an appetizer for what was to come. The Hoosiers shot 42% from beyond the arc, better than all but five of their games last season.

I’m sure most fans don’t need to be reminded of Indiana’s 3-point shooting under previous head coach Archie Miller. Sure, if there was a full lunar eclipse, Mercury was in retrograde and Miller had adequately paid tribute to a handful of Pagan deities, then maybe someone would knock down a perimeter shot. Maybe.

Thursday night, the 3-pointers rained down like insults upon referees, a veritable monsoon in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Although 3-point shooting was the clear highlight of the evening, Indiana didn’t have any trouble in the paint, either.

It was another one of those games where you suddenly realize star senior forward Jackson-Davis has 20 points, so you go to Twitter to mention how he is absolutely dominating without anyone noticing. Then you see five other people who tweeted the exact same thing.

It’s a time-honored Indiana basketball reporting cliché, up there with calling graduate student Race Thompson a glue guy or praising junior guard Trey Galloway’s immensely valuable intangible skills after he logs two points and one assist.

Jokes aside, Galloway absolutely shined in his 19 minutes on the floor, draining two 3-pointers and throwing down a two-handed dunk in transition. He and graduate student forward Miller Kopp haven’t always lived up to their billing as shooting specialists but combined for 18 points from beyond the arc Thursday.

In the postgame presser, Kopp jokingly credited the work he put into his golf swing over the summer — and his tanning regiment, because why not — for his improved 3-point shooting, which only added to the fever dream of covering Indiana basketball at 11 p.m. on a Thursday night.

Between the explosion of 3-pointers and Jackson-Davis dropping 21 points with a severely sprained thumb — which still seems like a dubious strategy, but I’ll withhold criticism until I get that sports medicine degree for which I’ve taken zero credits — there really isn’t much for Indiana fans to complain about.

Will the Hoosiers be able to replicate their lights-out 3-point shooting or make all but one of their free throws repeatedly throughout the season? Your guess is as good as mine. Is there any point to wildly speculate right now? Almost certainly not.

I mean, unless it’s literally your job to wildly speculate. I did say almost, after all.

Follow reporters Evan Gerike (@EvanGerike) and Emma Pawlitz (@emmapawlitz) and columnist Bradley Hohulin (@BradleyHohulin) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season.

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