Here is an analysis of Indiana's 89-68 victory Saturday night over North Florida at Assembly Hall. This analysis is a regular part of our AllHoosiers.com coverage of Indiana basketball this season.
WHAT LOOKED GOOD: There was plenty of sloppy play. I'm not going to sugarcoat that but at the same time Indiana did a lot of good things against the Ospreys. After turning the ball over eight times in the first half (which is right at their average of 16 per game), the Hoosiers only had three second half turnovers. That gave them a season-low total of 11. IU was also able to knock down some perimeter shots. Evan Gordon had a couple including a 3-pointer. Austin Etherington looked confident as he hit a pair of 3-pointers. Jeremy Hollowell hit a couple of long range shots including a 3. Yogi Ferrell, probably IU's most consistent outside shooter, hit two first-half 3-pointers, too. But on a team that has really struggled shooting from the outside, I just felt that the Hoosiers took a step in the right direction Saturday night. Tom Crean said he isn't worried about Indiana's perimeter shooting as long as the Hoosiers are taking good shots. He thought they were getting good shots Saturday night. Individually, Evan Gordon had his most complete game of the year with a season-high 15 points and just continues to look like he's a player who can help Indiana in the long run. He hit his first seven shots from the field and finished 7-for-9. There were a couple of other superlative individual efforts that I'll get into in more detail at the end of this analysis piece.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE: It is simply the sloppy ball handling and unforced errors that seem to pile up with this team. And once the Hoosiers get a turnover or two they just seem to snowball. Consider this statistic: IU had one turnover in the first 8 minutes and 8 seconds of the game. That was by Yogi Ferrell at the 17:13 mark. But from 11:52 to play in the first half to 8:31, a span of 3 minutes and 21 seconds, Indiana turned it over six times. That means that six of IU's turnovers came in 3:21 and the other five turnovers for the game came in 36 minutes and 39 seconds. The Hoosiers simply need to slow down the snowball effect when their game begins to speed up too much. Another improvement needed to made on the defensive on guard Dallas Moore. Yes, the North Florida freshman made some difficult shots but he also knocked down some open looks from 3-point range, too. He finished with a career-high 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting. Now, he was the only player on the North Florida team to score in double figures but he had quite an effort against the Hoosiers in this one.
FOR STARTERS: Crean went with his usual starting lineup of Ferrell, Noah Vonleh, Will Sheehey, Troy Williams and Jeremy Hollowell. That five combined to score 48 of IU's 89 points. The starters were 16-of-41 from the field, 3-of-11 from 3-point range and 13-of-19 from the foul line. They also had 28 of IU's 49 rebounds, seven of the 11 turnovers, 12 of the 17 assists and five of the nine steals. p>
INJURY UPDATE: Devin Davis re-injured his ankle and was limited to 2 minutes. He originally hurt it against Syracuse and had been held out most of the week in preparation for North Florida. Crean said he hopes the injury doesn't cause Davis to miss a game or two including Tuesday's matchup against Oakland University..
BENCH MARKS Indiana picked up a 41-point contribution from the bench led by Gordon's 15 points. But Hanner Mosquera-Perea had eight points, while IU got six each from Stanford Robinson, Luke Fischer and Austin Etherington.
ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Vonleh continues to put up impressive numbers as a freshman. He had his Big Ten-leading sixth double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds. He had five rebounds by the first media timeout. He also had a season-high four steals in the game.
INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here's a look at my own thoughts on three Indiana players from Saturday night's victory over North Florida:
1. EVAN GORDON: The fifth-year senior's role is beginning to get more defined. Saturday he was able to get much of his offense because of his defense. He scored 15 points in 19 minutes off the bench. He hit 7-of-9 shots and had four rebounds. He had two assists and two turnovers. He also had a steal and was able to knock down 1-of-2 3-pointers. What I like is that Gordon is looking more and more like he's comfortable in the flow of the game. He also has a knack for attacking the rim and initiating the action in transition. If Gordon continues to come up big it's going to take a lot of pressure off of players like Ferrell and Robinson at the point.
2. YOGI FERRELL: Yogi had 14 points but didn't shoot the ball particularly well. He was 5-of-13 from the field. He did hit some big shots though including a pair of first-half 3-pointers. One was early in the game to give IU a 3-0 lead. The other came off a Troy Williams block out toward the sideline that Yogi scooped up and raced to the other end before pulling up for a 3-pointer in transition from the right wing. Ferrell also had a season-high seven assists in 29 minutes of action.
3. HANNER MOSQUERA-PEREA: If you recorded this one on the VCR, go to the 11:49 mark of the second half. Perea begins the run with two free throws, then has a monster block off a shot by Travis Wallace at the other end. Sheehey gets the defensive rebound and gets the ball to Robinson who throws it to Perea in transition and the big sophomore forward dunked it. After North Florida missed a drive to the basket, Robinson gets the rebound and gets it to Perea who scores again in transition. That score came with 10:53 on the clock. Finally, Perea gets a defensive rebound on North Florida's next possession and then gets an offensive rebound on the other end but is unable to convert. Crean later said he thought Perea looked like a third shift hockey player going in there and battling. Big compliment. He finished with eight points, hit both of his shots from the field, all four of his free throws and had three rebounds. It was fun to watch.
NEXT UP: IU is back in action Tuesday against Oakland University at Assembly Hall. It's a 7 p.m. tipoff.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch