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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

COLUMN: Fine, you can enjoy Indiana men’s basketball obliterating Saint Francis

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Alright, no fooling around in the lede this time — here’s a play-by-play breakdown of Indiana men’s basketball’s 104-59 victory over the University of Saint Francis, starting with an Indiana equipment manager’s missed layup 12 minutes before tip-off. Hope you have your note pad ready.  

OK, fine. Obviously, there isn’t much you can glean from an exhibition game against an NAIA school that Indiana paid $15,000 dollars to play.  

That said, this game still had all the hallmarks of Hoosier basketball.  

The candy stripe pants tearing off before the opening tip. The horrifically off-rhythm clapping during the fight song. The painfully awkward advertisement for a Master's of Science in Finance from the Kelley School of Business — $76,000 average starting salary, in case you were wondering. 

[Related: COLUMN: Indiana men’s basketball absolutely blasted Marian. Does that mean anything?]

On the other hand, you don’t typically see multiple Hoosiers blocking shots without leaving their feet or watch the opposing team’s players run into each other on a screen. Both occurred within a two-minute span in the first half.  

The Cougars were competitive early, even forcing an 11-11 tie after four minutes. But no number of creative plays, double-teams or self-belief could change the fact that Indiana’s players were bigger, stronger and ostensibly much better at the game of basketball.  

That disparity in size and talent helped the Hoosiers cruise to 104 points, 19 of which came from senior Trayce Jackson-Davis in his return from a hand injury.  

Jackson-Davis played 21 minutes with a thick bandage wrapped around his right hand. If I knew literally anything about sports medicine, I might comment on whether it was smart for Indiana to send its best player on the floor with a minor injury in an exhibition match. All I can say is Jackson-Davis seemed to play just fine regardless. 

Joining Jackson-Davis with double-digit point totals were freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, freshman forward Malik Reneau, junior forward Jordan Geronimo and sophomore guard Tamar Bates, who also returned from injury.  

Hood-Schifino once again looked like a veteran playing point guard, finding Jackson-Davis for a pair of perfectly placed alley-oops that sent Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall into a frenzy. It’s difficult to imagine Hood-Schifino looking this good in Big Ten play but telling an Indiana fan to not get too hyped about a freshman is a fool’s errand. 

Meanwhile, Geronimo racked up 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals in 17 minutes while committing only one personal foul. Admittedly, it’s a lot easier to not foul when you’re guarding someone a head shorter than you, but avoiding needless penalties is critical to Geronimo’s maturation this season.  

There were enough highlights in this game to write about nearly every Indiana player, and I truly mean almost everyone. Three walk-on players saw the floor. Junior walk-on forward Nathan Childress’ dunk received some of the loudest cheers all night. 

Still, the Hoosiers didn’t have a perfect game. 

It feels weird to say they played sloppily considering they won by 45 points. I’m just not sure what other word to use to describe all the errant passes out of bounds or all the times an Indiana defender leaped in the air to block a ball that was never shot. Indiana’s 61% free throw percentage wasn’t inspiring either, especially considering free throws are one of the only things that don’t change in exhibition games. 

But if I’m claiming you shouldn’t read too far into Indiana looking amazing, I won’t dwell on the bizarre sloppiness either. I promise I’m not a total buzzkill.  

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to a nearby playground. There are some kids there who really need to hear some things about Santa Claus.

Follow reporters Evan Gerike (@EvanGerike) and Emma Pawlitz (@emmapawlitz) and columnist Bradley Hohulin (@BradleyHohulin) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season. 
Support the Indiana Daily Student to beat Purdue’s student newspaper, the Exponent, through making a donation to the IDS Legacy Fund! Whichever publication raises more money before the Purdue v. IU football game Nov. 26 “wins” the challenge, but all donations go to support student journalism at the respective publications. To help IU beat Purdue and support the IDS, follow this link to donate.
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