Here is an analysis of Tuesday night's 73-72 victory over LIU Brooklyn at Assembly Hall. This analysis will become a regular part of our AllHoosiers.com coverage of Indiana basketball this season.
WHAT LOOKED GOOD: If I were to point to one thing it was the composure of a young Indiana basketball team down the stretch. LIU Brooklyn was clearly a worthy opponent. It led by nine in the first half and still led late in the game. In fact, when Gilbert Parga hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 3:10 to play, Brooklyn led 70-67. But Indiana kept its cool. On the next possession, Will Sheehey got a good look for a 3-pointer from the right corner and hit it to tie the game at 70 with 2:44 remaining. Even after Indiana missed a great opportunity to score with 33 seconds to play, and LIU Brooklyn ultimately got the ball back to go for the last shot, IU did a nice job on the defensive end. It actually tied Brooklyn's point guard up on a drive into traffic with 15.2 seconds to play but got a bailout from the official with a timeout instead of a jump ball. And then the Hoosiers did a nice job of contesting Jason Brickman on a drive to the basket and Devin Davis got the rebound. Then IU survived the finish when Davis missed the 1-and-1. But this would have been an easy game for Indiana to lose and the bottom line is that IU is 2-0 after two games.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE: In the first half in particular, Indiana was settling for jump shots instead of working inside out. That was better in the second half. The Hoosiers also seemed to playing too much one-on-one ball. IU had two assists in the first half. In the second half, making the extra pass was better and Indiana had 11 assists on 16 baskets. Obviously perimeter shooting needs to improve. But again this was more of a first half/second half thing. IU was 1-of-16 from 3-point range in the first half. Yogi Ferrell hit the first one and IU missed the final 15. But in the second half, Indiana was 6-of-10 from 3-point range, a marked improvement.
FOR STARTERS: Indiana's starting lineup Thursday night was the same as it was Friday night against Chicago State and in the final exhibition game Hillsdale College: Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell, Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell. Against Chicago State, IU's starting five combined for 61 points with 35 rebounds, five assists, 13 turnovers, eight blocks and just one steal. The starters shot 16-of-42 from the field and attempted all eight of the 3-point shots, hitting one. That was made by Hollowell who was 1-for-2 from distance. Against LIU Brooklyn, the starters combined to score 68 of the 73 points. The rebound numbers were 33 and the starters had 12 assists, 11 turnovers, no blocks and five steals. They combined to shoot 25-of-61 from the field including 7-of-22 from 3-point range and 11-of-14 from the free throw line. p>
INJURY UPDATE: Luke Fischer apparently had a broken nose in practice or some kind of facial injury because when he did enter the game late in the second half he had a protective mask. Unfortunately he had trouble putting it on and eventually just tossed it off to the side of the court. He played a total of 5 minutes, had a big screen at the top of the key on a play where Yogi Ferrell came around it and hit a 3-pointer, had one steal and two fouls.
NOVEMBER STREAK INTACT: Indiana has won 23 consecutive games in the month of November, the second longest active streak behind Syracuse with 33.
OFFICIALLY SPEAKING: There were a lot fans in Assembly Hall that were less than excited about some of the calls made by the three-man officiating crew of Guy Pagano, Tom Courtney and Andrew Maira. There were a couple of questionable calls including an offensive foul on Yogi Ferrell in the corner that got him his fourth foul, a blocking foul on Yogi in the first half where the official told Crean that Ferrell flopped and a bailout timeout that the Brooklyn bench picked up on a held ball with Jason Brickman with 15 seconds to play. An observation I made before the game was that the crew was clearly not a Big Ten crew. What I heard later, however, was that the crew was all from LIU Brooklyn's conference, the Northeast Conference. Seems odd in a tournament that if you're not going to use a Big Ten crew that you wouldn't go to a crew from a neutral conference. Just sayin'.
INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here's a look at my own thoughts on three Indiana players from Tuesday night's victory over LIU Brooklyn:
1. TROY WILLIAMS: I thought Williams grew up a little bit during a stretch of less than a minute in the second half in crunch time. With IU trailing 63-60, Williams buried a 3-pointer from the right corner to tie it at 63. After Brooklyn had scored two free throws on the other end, Williams hit a baseline 6 foot turnaround that from my angle looked to almost come from behind the backboard. That tied the score at 65 at the 4:50 mark. Williams finished with nine points, six rebounds and two steals in 22 minutes.
2. NOAH VONLEH: Two collegiate games, two double-doubles. Vonleh had 17 points and 11 rebounds in this one and became the first IU freshman since Christian Watford in 2009 to record back-to-back double doubles. Vonleh had some big plays, some big rebounds, including five on the offensive end. His final one, however, could have been a monster play but he didn't convert. Jeremy Hollowell drove the lane with Indiana up by one with 35 seconds to play and missed a floater. Vonleh was there for a point blank, controlled one-handed rebound tip in but he missed it and Brooklyn grabbed the rebound. Vonleh finished shooting 6-of-10 from the field and 5-of-8 from the free throw line. He played 27 minutes.
3. WILL SHEEHEY: Sheehey struggled early and missed his first eight shots, all in the first half. He was also 0-for-6 from 3-point range in the first half, too. But he settled down and made plays in the second half. He played all 20 minutes, scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the final 20 minutes, had seven rebounds and six assists. He was 6-for-10 from the field in the second half, finishing 6-of-18 for the game. He also had three steals in a game-high 37 minutes. He had two big 3-pointers late in the game, the first that tied the game at 70 and the second that put the Hoosiers up 73-70 from the left wing with 1:54 remaining.
NEXT UP: Indiana (2-0) is back in action Friday night when former IU assistant coach Bennie Seltzer and Samford (1-1) invade Assembly Hall for a 7 p.m. tip. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Samford beat Martin Methodist in the first game of the season and lost the second to Texas Arlington.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch