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Wednesday, Feb. 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

INSTANT RECAP: Indiana men’s basketball fends off pesky Wright State 89-80

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Indiana men’s basketball took the floor at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall looking for an easy win against a shorthanded Wright State University, who was missing star graduate guard Trey Calvin — the Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year — due to a shoulder injury. The Hoosiers followed suit with their first two regular season wins — it didn’t come easy, but they eventually got the job done with an 89-80 win. 

Indiana immediately looked more comfortable than its previous starts. The Hoosiers jumped out to an 18-6 lead in the game’s first five and a half minutes. It took Indiana 12-and-a-half and 13-and-a-half minutes to reach the 18-point mark in its wins against Florida Gulf Coast University and Army West Point, respectively. 

The Hoosiers continued to build on their lead, even when the second unit — who has notably struggled to start the season — entered the game. With the entire starting five substituted out, the bench squad outscored the Raiders in a three-minute stretch in its first appearance of the night to grow the lead to 30-18. 

Indiana continued an offensive tear, surpassing its season-high for points in a half—formerly at 41—with a shade under five minutes left in the frame. The Hoosiers did so efficiently, scoring with a 70% clip and above at the time before finishing the half at 66.7%. 

However, Indiana’s vices allowed Wright State to creep back before the half. After trailing by as many as 15, multiple wide-open 3-pointers helped the Raiders cut the deficit to as low as 2 points. Wright State shot 7-of-16 from deep in the frame. 

Indiana marked another season-high for a half with its free throw attempts but reverted to its low-percentage ways from the season opener. The Hoosiers went 11-of-19 from the charity stripe in the first frame, a 57.9% clip.  

After an eventful up-and-down first 20 minutes, Indiana led the high-scoring affair 54-49 at halftime. 

The Hoosiers continued their seesaw tendencies out of the gate, building their lead to 9 points before the Raiders came right back to cut it to four. The teams continued to trade blows to keep things in the single digit range before a layup from senior forward Anthony Walker finally gave Indiana an 11-point lead with 11 minutes and 30 seconds left. 

Right when an Indiana run seemed imminent, another poor offensive tendency struck to put the Hoosiers back in the mud — stagnant offense. A three minute, 41 second scoring drought helped Wright State turn the double-digit deficit back into a 4-point affair. Sophomore forward Kaleb Banks broke Indiana’s spell with an and-1 layup but couldn’t convert the free throw. 

The Hoosiers continued their repetitive tendencies by improving their lead back to 11 points with six minutes to go. Once again, Wright State fought back, largely in part because of senior guard Andrew Welage, who scored 9 straight for the Raiders and brought them within 7 points. 

Indiana continued to fend off the pesky Raiders and held a 9-point advantage with just over a minute left, but at that point a briefly scary moment occurred. Senior guard Xavier Johnson leapt for an in-bounds steal but came down awkwardly. He layed on the ground grabbing near his knees before getting up and walking off the court. 

The Hoosiers put an exclamation mark on their victory with a big man to big man lob. After a Wright State miss, Indiana got out in transition and junior forward Malik Reneau led a two-on-one and lofted the ball towards the rim where sophomore center Kel’el Ware slammed it home with two hands. 

Naturally, Indiana couldn’t seal the double-digit victory, but instead it was a 9-point difference. The Hoosiers moved to 3-0 ahead of their biggest matchup to date: No. 5 University of Connecticut in Madison Square Garden. The two teams face off at 1 p.m. Sunday. 

Follow reporters Will Foley (@foles24) and Matt Press (@MattPress23) and columnist Daniel Flick (@ByDanielFlick) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season. 

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