INDIANAPOLIS, In. – After a disappointing 0-2 start, IUPUI bounced back in a big way with a convincing 77-55 win over Howard Friday afternoon. They dominated on both sides of the ball, shooting 47 percent themselves and allowing Howard to shoot just 36 percent. After stealing the ball on the opening possession and scoring, they led the entire way and by double-figures for the final 24 minutes.
The Jaguars offense featured four double-figure scorers. Ron Patterson led IUPUI (1-2) with a career-high 15 points on nine shots. He came into the came averaging a modest 6.5 points per game, but hit four of his eight 3-point attempts and shot 5-for-9 overall. Darell Combs led IUPUI in scoring in both of the first two games, but was relied upon much less and had his lowest scoring game of the season with 11 points. Matt O’Leary posted his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four assists. T.J. Henderson contributed 14 points off the bench and also shot 5-for-9. The most impressive stat though is that Patterson, Combs, O’Leary and Henderson combined to commit zero turnovers.
IUPUI came out Friday afternoon like an overall first seed wanting to get their first tournament game out of the way. Howard (0-3) won the opening tip, but Combs stole the ball and hit a 3-pointer on the next possession. Howard got on the board two possessions later, but O’Leary answered with IUPUI’s second 3-pointer one possession later. IUPUI took their first double- figure lead on a Kellon Thomas jumper with 13:54 to go and led by double-figures for good following another O’Leary 3-pointer with 4:29 left in the first half.
IUPUI didn’t match their 87 point total from their first game, but this was easily their best offensive performance of the season so far. They shot 12-for-30 from 3-point range (40 percent) and shot 47 percent overall. Of their 25 made field goals, 19 were assisted. Additionally, IUPUI turned the ball over a season-low seven times.
On the other end, IUPUI was just as impressive. Howard shot just 36 percent from the floor and missed all nine of their 3-point attempts. Just 25 percent of their field goals were assisted compared to 76 percent for IUPUI. Howard also turned the ball over 14 times, twice as much as IUPUI.
The only blemish on this one is the free throws. Much like their season opener, IUPUI couldn’t stop fouling. They committed 29 personal fouls which led to 34 free throws for Howard. On the flip side, IUPUI shot 30 free throws, but made just 15 (50 percent).
Patterson, one of IUPUI’s two transfers in the starting lineup this year, has delivered strong performances in two of the three games. He opened up the season with a 4-for-8 shooting performance at Eastern Kentucky, although he fouled out of that one. Despite a 1-for-7 effort at Michigan, he’s shooting just under 42 percent overall and 41 percent from 3-point range.
Thomas hasn’t had his breakout scoring game yet. He followed up consecutive 3-for-10 shooting games with a 3-for-9 effort against Howard. The good news is Thomas has been able to contribute elsewhere. He’s averaging roughly three rebounds, three assists and a steal per game.
The 2k classic continues
After a pair of games Friday at Farmers Coliseum, the Indianapolis sub-regional in the 2k classic will continue on Saturday. Gardner-Webb (0-3) fell to Eastern Michigan (2-2) 78-68 in the noon game on Friday and will face Howard at 11 am Saturday morning. IUPUI will face Eastern Michigan following that game.