Bloomington, IND – This Indiana Hoosiers team showed their fans even more on Saturday night why this is one of the most frustrating teams to figure out. I wrote in the game preview on Friday how this very Indiana team should be on upset alert this weekend as their foe tonight was one of the most underrated teams in the nation.
The Morehead State Eagles entered tonight’s contest on fire as they won four straight games including a 14 point victory on the road at St. Louis on Wednesday night. On top of that, they did everything that Indiana struggles to do. They defend very well as were tops in the entire nation in points against them, 11th in steals per game, 16th in turnovers forced and 17th in offensive rebounds.
On the flipside, Indiana has committed double digit turnovers in every game except one this season as they entered tonight’s game giving up the ball on average 15.8 times per game. They also struggle to rebound on the defense end as they gave up 19 offensive boards to Duke on Wednesday night and another 15 offensive rebounds to a winless Alcorn State team in this very arena on Monday night.
With IU not playing any defense at all this year, this very much was a game Indiana could have easily dropped.
Instead, they came out with fire and showed why they can be a threat this season as this win on Saturday night isn’t a fluke. Morehead State is a team with a bright future and a team that could make some noise in the NCAA Tournament come March. They were off to their best start in three decades and play a style that usually wins out over Indiana.
But, Indiana finally played a complete game on both ends of the floor as they really looked like they were actually prepared to fight tonight. That leaves fans asking why can’t they give this type of effort every night?
The Hoosiers (6-2) routed Morehead State (5-2) 92-59 on Saturday night as Indiana improved to 5-0 this season at home.
Very early on though, it looked like Morehead State would compete with the Hoosiers as they held Indiana to 0-for-5 shooting and three turnovers before the Hoosiers finally hit their first field goal of the game to tie it at eight with 15-minutes to go in the opening half.
From there, that’s all Indiana needed as they’d go on a 18-0 run before Morehead State would score again on a Xavier Moon three-point shot with 8:03 left in the first half to cut Indiana’s lead down to 30-16.
But, Indiana would answer again going on another 7-0 run to counter that shot which ended up being a 25-3 run in the middle of the half to propel Indiana to the shockingly very easy victory tonight.
The Hoosiers would take a 50-26 lead into the break and would never look back.
It only took Indiana 22-minutes into the game before they topped what Morehead State averages giving up in points-per-game as Troy Williams’ layup just two minutes into the second half gave Indiana a 54-27 lead.
They’d cruise from there as they were led by a balanced scoring effort on offense.
Five IU players would reach double figures as Troy Williams would lead Indiana with 16 points. Guards Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. would chip in 15 points a piece while Thomas Bryant and Max Bielfeldt would score 14 and 12 points respectively.
It was their defense though in which Indiana dominated as they gave up just 31-percent from the field and only 28-percent from behind the arc against Morehead State. They forced 23 turnoves on the Eagles which ties a season high and was more than enough to pave the way to a hard earned victory.
The 31-percent shooting percentage by Morehead State was the lowest by any team against Indiana this season and first opponent under 40-percent shooting since the season opener against Eastern Illinois.
On the flipside, Indiana’s 92 points was the most Morehead State has given up all year as the previous two Eagles opponents didn’t even get out of the 40s.
IU returns to action on Wednesday night as they host IPFW at 7 pm ET on BTN Plus.
Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indy Sports Report. Follow @Ericsportsguru and @IndySportsRep on Twitter