It was an emphatic season opener for Indiana basketball on Friday night.
The Hoosiers blasted Mississippi Valley State 116-65 at Assembly Hall, their highest point total in nearly 21 years. IU had 117 against Tennessee Tech on Dec. 10, 1993.
Indiana (1-0) scored 62 points in the second half. The Hoosiers also hit 11 3-pointers, more than they hit in any game last season.
A sign of things to come? An example of what this team is capable of?
"I hope so," said Indiana coach Tom Crean. "We shot it well tonight, we got open looks. Offensive efficiency will come. Are we going to have a chance to score a lot of points? Absolutely. But we've got to continue to understand how they come, we've got to get more second-chance points. The more layups you get, the fewer turnovers you have, the better that efficiency gets. And we've got a ways to go to get there."
All 11 Indiana players that entered the game scored.
Still too many turnovers
Indiana had a commanding 54-31 lead at halftime on Friday night, but the Hoosiers also had 13 turnovers in the first half. That's a huge number, regardless of how aggressively MVSU guards played.
The Hoosiers finished the game with 19 turnovers, but had only two over a 15-minute span in the second half.
Still, there's plenty of room for improvement in that department.
"If you're gonna play fast and if you're gonna try to have a lot of possessions, there's gonna be some that wish you could have back," Crean said. "But the best thing is, when you're moving the ball, when you're moving bodies and you're playing with unselfishness, you have a chance. But give them credit, they were aggressive. We haven't quite grasped how important it is to get the ball out in front yet. We're learning."
With several guys recovering from injuries, I thought it'd be a good idea to run through a few and give you updates on their health.
1. Freshman center Jeremiah April played for the first time on Friday night, logging the final seven minutes of the game. He missed most of the summer and has been limited this fall with an ankle injury, and Crean said he was just cleared to play on Friday.
April looked OK in his first appearance. He's still very raw, he must add weight and get in better shape following the injury, but he's a legitimate 7-footer that has potential. April knocked down a fadeaway jumper from the baseline for his only points, something that should give IU fans hope for the future.
As long as he can stay healthy, April will only get better and better as the season goes on.
2. Collin Hartman looked good again on Friday as he returns from an ACL injury he suffered in March. Hartman had five points, four rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal in 13 minutes. Even when Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson return from suspension, I expect Hartman to have a spot in the rotation because of his good basketball instincts. As coaches love to say, Hartman makes winning plays. But from an injury standpoint, he seems to be moving around as well, if not better, than before his injury.
3. Max Hoetzel was on a minutes limit in IU's exhibition win over the University of Indianapolis, but that didn't appear to be the case on Friday. The freshman played 19 minutes, scoring 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting. He also pulled down nine rebounds. Hoetzel sustained an undisclosed injury in practice early last week.What We Learned: Basketball season opener
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