Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Hoosiers handle Ottawa 82-54 in exhibition opener

Indiana welcomed the uOttawa Gee-Gees to Assembly Hall Tuesday night for an international exhibition extravaganza. Despite some sloppiness early on, the Hoosiers cruised to a 82-54 victory in front of an excited and optimistic crowd. Expectations are high this season for Indiana, ranked #15 in the preseason AP Poll, and this was Hoosier Nation's first chance to check out the latest crop of freshmen. McDonald's All-American Thomas Bryant brings an entirely new facet to the Indiana offense, crowding the paint and imposing his will inside. The big freshman finished with 12 points and a team-high 11 rebounds in his unofficial IU debut. He shot just 5-16 from the field, but it is already apparent that Indiana's offense will not need to be as reliant on three-point shooting this year. Fellow freshmen Juwon Morgan and O.G. Anunoby chipped in four points each. A full IU box score after the jump...

Troy Williams, Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr, Thomas Bryant, Tom Crean, IUBB
Box score - Indiana 82, uOttawa 54

The offense was lead by James Blackmon Jr, Troy Williams, Yogi Ferrell and Bryant, which figures to be the core of offensive production this season. Senior Nick Zeisloft drained a couple of threes and fifth-year transfer Max Bielfeldt registered an impressive eight points and eight rebounds for the Hoosiers. Bielfeldt found himself in the starting line-up tonight, as Coach Tom Crean limited junior wing Collin Hartman's minutes (Hartman is still recovering from a back injury).

A look at the overall stats will show that the Hoosiers won the rebounding battle 46-34 and assisted on 18 of 34 made field goal attempts. They weren't able to get to the free throw line much, though they shot a decent 6-of-9 when they had the chance. Turnovers were one of the main issues with this team last season and tonight's performance (19 total turnovers, 12 from the starting line-up) was a bit concerning. But that's why teams schedule exhibition games before the season: to work out the kinks, play around with line-ups and build up the on-court chemistry before it counts. There was a lot of energy on the court tonight, thanks in no small part to the swagger that the three freshmen have brought with them to Bloomington. And of course, Troy Williams was able to get the crowd going with some flashy dunks and blocks. There's a lot of work to be done between now and the season-opener on November 13, but the Hoosiers are certainly headed in the right direction. Indiana will certainly be one of the most exciting teams in college basketball.

The talent is there, the experience is there, the frontcourt is there.... buckle up, Hoosier Nation.

Hear from coach Tom Crean:

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