Indiana had to hold on to beat a bad Lamar team, 85-72, on Saturday night at Assembly Hall. Why? The Hoosiers' defense was, well, not good.
Lamar, ranked 348th out of 351 Division 1 teams by KenPom.com, cut Indiana's lead to seven at 77-70 with a few minutes remaining. Lamar scored on seven straight possessions.
This is the same Lamar team that shot 36 percent from the field through its first three games and lost to SMU by 39 points. On Saturday, Lamar shot 50 percent.
Hanner Mosquera-Perea struggled on that end again, leaving his feet for every pump fake and getting pushed around in the paint. IU (4-0) gave up 48 points in the paint.
We've got to understand game plans," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "That's where our youth shows up so much because we didn't have a lot of things that we wanted to take away, but there were certain things that we specifically wanted to take away. We've got to continue to grow and learn what we're trying to take away, it doesn't matter what defense we're in.
"We're not even remotely looking at it in the sense of letdowns and things of that nature. We just weren't as locked in to game plans because we've got to go through the experience. We'll be better for it going forward."
A very good Eastern Washington team comes to Assembly Hall on Monday, and Indiana will get beat if it plays the way it did on Saturday night.
Crean plays five-guard lineup
When things got too close for comfort in the game's closing minutes, Crean went to a five-guard lineup to put Lamar away.
The Hoosiers scored two straight times and put the game away.
Crean said he took the idea from ESPN NBA analyst Doug Collins some years ago.
"We were talking after a game and I said, 'What's your key to the last five minutes of the game?'," Crean said. "He said, 'Don't worry about position, don't worry about egos, play your five toughest players.' And I've always filed that away, and there's been times we've done it, and tonight was absolutely one of them. It meant that gave us the best chance to win tonight. And that's what they have to understand is we're going to do whatever gives us the best chance to win that night. Everybody has to improve, constantly.
"When it's time to win the game, it's time to win the game. I don't think we're a team right now that can worry about positions and sizes."
Holt sees first action
Freshman forward Emmitt Holt played for the first time as a Hoosier on Saturday night. He was suspended four games after he struck teammate Devin Davis with his car in the early morning hours of Nov. 1. The accident left Davis in serious condition. He returned to Assembly Hall for the first time on Saturday night.
The accident wasn't Holt's fault, but it has been a stressful few weeks for him. He signed with IU just a few days before the fall semester began, so he was already behind. And now he's been dealing with the accident.
But Holt showed some potential against Lamar, finishing with four points and two rebounds in five minutes. He made a nice move in transition for a basket.
"He gets to the rim, he's got quickness and speed," Crean said. "He's going to be a key guy for us moving forward, especially without Devin. Devin covered so much ground defensively for us and with his rebounding, and was an excellent guy at position defense. He could come off the ball and block shots at his size, and Emmitt's got to bring us some of that. It was good to see hi out there. He needs to become a key contributor for us."Indiana beats Lamar, 85-72
Indiana Player Evaluations through four games