Game Analysis: IU 95, Savannah State 49

Indiana had little problem with Savannah State Saturday night in a 95-49 victory. Here is a categorical look back at what looked good and not so good for the Hoosiers.

Here is an analysis of Saturday’s 95-49 victory over Savannah State at Assembly Hall. This analysis is a regular part of our coverage of Indiana basketball this season.

WHAT LOOKED GOOD: The first thing that stands out is that Indiana treated an opponent like Savannah State the way it should have. That wasn’t the case when IU played Lamar or UNCG and especially not Eastern Washington. Yes, Eastern Washington is a better opponent than the other three schools mentioned but Indiana still shouldn’t have allowed that one to get away at Assembly Hall. Saturday night, after a bit of a sluggish start, the Hoosiers really looked sharp for about a 30-minute stretch. Yes, it got sloppy when the reserves were in late but IU had already done its damage at that point. Beating Savannah State by 46 points is what IU should do with a team like the Tigers. … Indiana didn’t have to play any one more than 28 minutes Saturday night and that was a plus. IU should be properly rested when it travels to Madison Square Garden to face Louisville on Tuesday night. The team will fly out on Sunday and have a couple of days in New York to get acclimated. … Indiana shot the ball well again Saturday night. The Hoosiers made 65.4 percent of their shots from the field in the second half (17-of-26) and finished at 57.4 percent overall. It’s the third time this season that IU has shot better than 57 percent from the field but the first time since the Texas Southern game on Nov. 17. … Indiana had a 42-28 rebounding edge and a 38-20 advantage in the paint. A lot of that came from Savannah State settling for perimeter shots (and missing) and the Hoosiers cleaning up the defensive glass. Of IU’s rebounding total, 31 were on the defensive glass. … IU had seven players score seven points or more and four in double figures led by James Blackmon Jr. and Yogi Ferrell. With 18 points Saturday night, Ferrell now needs 38 points to reach 1,000 for his career.

WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:There weren’t a lot of things that jumped out in this game. IU still needs to be better in some defensive situations and giving up easy baskets. But again, it’s difficult against an opponent like Savannah State to get a real good feel for that because IU may have been gambling more in some situations because the game got out of hand pretty quickly. IU had its first 20-point lead while still late in the first half, led by 26 at the break, and led by as many as 48 in the game.

FOR STARTERS:IU utilized the same starting lineup for the third game in a row that included Yogi Ferrell, Troy Williams, Hanner Mosquera-Perea, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson. That lineup is now 3-0 this season. The starters Saturday scored 60 points on 19-of-33 shooting from the field, 6-of-12 from 3-point range and 16-of-18 free throws. The IU starters had 21 rebounds, 13 assists, committed eight turnovers, had no blocks and three steals.

FORTY-NINE OR LESS:In the Tom Crean era of IU basketball, the Hoosiers have held 11 opponents under 49 points and are 11-0 in those games. The last time had been a 56-46 win over Illinois last season. The fewest points IU had allowed in a game this season before Saturday night was 64 against Texas Southern.

INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here’s a look at my own thoughts on a few Indiana players from Saturday’s win over Savannah State:

1. YOGI FERRELL: Yogi had a solid night and bounced back from a game against Pittsburgh where he never seemed completely himself at least in the scoring department. He had 11 points in that game and need some late free throws to get into double figures. Saturday, he was comfortable and in control from the start. He had 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and hit all seven of his free throw attempts. He also had seven assists and two turnovers. Yogi has been an excellent floor leader in all eight games this season.

2. Emmitt Holt: Anyone who was wondering if Holt would have a hiccup after his solid effort in the win over Pittsburgh Tuesday, did not need to worry. Holt had eight points, five rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal in 11 minutes off the bench. He is now 10-for-12 from the field this season after making 2-of-3 shots on Saturday. He also made all four of his free throws.

3. Nick Zeisloft: Zeisloft continues to fill his role to perfection. He is known for his ability to come in and hit big shots. He had three 3-pointers Saturday night and nine points in 16 minutes off the bench. He hit 3-of-5 shots from the field all from distance and continues to fill his role on this team. I think he’s basically Matt Roth except that he’s better on the defensive end.

NEXT UP: Indiana (7-1) travels to Madison Square Garden in New York to play No. 5 Louisville (7-0) in the Jimmy Valvano Classic. The game will tipoff at 9 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.

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