Game Analysis: IU 74, No. 22 SMU 68

Indiana passed its first big test of the season Thursday night with a 74-68 victory over No. 22 SMU at Assembly Hall. Here is an analysis of what looked good and what didn't look so good in the win over the Mustangs.

Here is an analysis of Thursday’s 74-68 Indiana victory over No. 22 Southern Methodist University, a win that improved IU’s record to 3-0. This analysis is a regular part of our coverage of Indiana basketball this season.

WHAT LOOKED GOOD:There were a lot of good things in this one. Turnovers stood out to me. The final tally was 19-7. My guess is that anyone who would have been asked before the game which team had the 19 turnovers would have guessed IU. But the Hoosiers had seven. That matches last year’s season-low for turnovers which was seven against Northwestern. A year ago, IU played 17 games before having single-digit turnovers and only had three games out of 32 with nine turnovers or less. Another note is that Indiana outscored SMU 19-5 on points off turnovers. Something else to mention was IU’s ability to make 3-pointers. The negative would be that it took IU 33 shot attempts to make 12 3-pointers. Last year, IU made 10 or more 3-pointers once and that was against Illinois when the Hoosiers made exactly 10. This season IU has made 10 or more in each of the first three games, hitting 11, 10 and now 12. Face it, with the shooters IU has this season this is going to be a team that is right around that 10 3-point mark on a consistent basis.

WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:We could be rebounding in this category every game this season because the fact is IU is going to be smaller than most of the teams it faces. The deficit on Thursday was 40-27 although an interest statistic was that even though SMU had a huge height advantage the teams were even on the offensive glass at nine boards each. Points in the paint was another negative number. SMU held a 42-14 advantage there. And SMU shot 57 percent from the field compared to 36 percent for the Hoosiers. And yet Indiana found a way to win.

FOR STARTERS:IU has gone with the same starting lineup in each of its three games this season. IU started four guards with James Blackmon Jr., Nick Zeisloft, Robert Johnson and Yogi Ferrell along with forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea. That five combined to make 17-of-46 shots from the field, 11-of-29 from 3 and 13-of-14 from the foul line. The starters had 19 rebounds, 10 assists, five turnovers, one block and four steals.

ANOTHER 3-0 START:Indiana has now won its first three games of the season five years in a row under Tom Crean. The other two, the Hoosiers were 2-1 in the first three.

INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here’s a look at my own thoughts on a few Indiana players from Tuesday’s loss to Illinois:

1. YOGI FERRELL: Yogi played 36 minutes Thursday night and scored 13 points and handed out seven assists. But there was a bigger number than either of those statistical accomplishments. Ferrell didn’t commit a single turnover in 36 minutes. In 70 previous career games, that had only happened four times. Last year it happened once and that was against Wisconsin. So it’s a significant number for sure. Ferrell missed 10 of his 13 shots but his ability to do other things including registered 18 deflections was huge for the Hoosiers in this one.

2. JAMES BLACKMON JR.:In three games, Blackmon has scored 70 points and hit 11-of-18 3-pointers. He another day of filling up the stat sheet against SMU. He had 26 points including hitting all seven of his free throws and all seven were late in the game. His first three came after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt in the left corner. He also had seven rebounds including a crucial one late in the game that led to two of his four free throws in the final 8.7 seconds. Blackmon hit 5-or-10 3-pointers in this one and was a big reason the Hoosiers found a way to win.

3. HANNER MOSQUERA-PEREA: If you look at Mosquera-Perea’s statistics line you wouldn’t be impressed. He was 1-of-2 from the field and the line for three points and didn’t have a single rebound. He had one block and one turnover in 29 minutes. But he had an impact on the game in other ways. He took three charges including one late in the game where it looked like he had been posterized but instead Ryan Manual was called for the offensive foul. One key was that despite the fact SMU was able to have its way inside, Mosquera-Perea only was called for two fouls. So he was able to stay in the game which when you don’t have a lot of frontcourt options, is important.

NEXT UP: Indiana (3-0) faces Lamar Saturday night at 8 p.m. in a game that will be televised by the Big Ten Network. The Hoosiers then play Monday night against Eastern Washington at 7:30 p.m.. Both games will be at Assembly Hall.

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