Bryant, Williams' career nights help Indiana win final nonconference game of season

Big nights from Thomas Bryant and Troy Williams helped Indiana earn its fifth-straight win

Asked to grade the team's performance with its nonconference games behind them, Indiana freshman center Thomas Bryant initially misunderstood the question. 

"I don't know about them, but mine are a looking nice," Bryant said, thinking the reporter who asked the question was referring to the players' academics this semester. "Mine is looking like Steph Curry in the fourth quarter. I think it's good, but it could be built upon."

Indiana didn't need heroics like Curry has provided the NBA's Golden State Warriors at times this season in the its 99-72 win over Kennesaw State Tuesday night . But the foundation has been laid after Bryant and teammate Troy Williams each finished with 20 points to lead Indiana to its fifth-straight win. 

For Bryant, it was a career-high. For Williams, it was three points shy of his own which he set last season against Georgetown. 

"Like I said before or awhile ago, it could be anybody's night," Williams said. "We trust each other to make the right play. Like I also said a while ago, the game's full of mistakes, it's just how you bounce back from them." 

Williams had a few mistakes Thursday night - four turnovers, to be exact - but his play in other areas minimized any harm caused by it.

He distributed the ball in a way he never had before with a career-high six assists and added a team-high two steals on the defensive end. Though he finished three points shy of his career-high, he was 3-of-4 from 3-point range after making just 4-of-14 in his last 12 games. Though he finished three points shy of his career high for points, he distribut

Indiana head coach Tom Crean said Williams has to be consistent in many areas because of how talented he is.

"And our number one responsiblity is to continue to hold him to that and keep building towards that because it's there," Crean said. "And I think the shot is an example of that. When you're locked in and moving well and playing both ends well, it's amazing how open you get and how good you feel with your shot. 

In IU's last three wins, Williams has averaged 17 points per game while shooting nearly 58 percent from the field. That stretch has only been rivaled by Bryant, who has been averaging 16 points per game while shooting 79.2 percent from the field.

Bryant shot 88 percent from the field Tuesday night and scored 10 of his 20 points in the first seven minutes of the game. He said whenver his teammates dumped the ball down to him in the post, he had one-on-one matchups and just went to score. 

Getting the ball to Bryant early appeared to be a priority, but he said he the main focusof the team is just playing through the paint 75 percent of the time.

"That's the main focus right there," Bryant said. "Luckily it was just my night to get a couple in there, so just take it like that." 

Bryant dealt with a sore arc in his foot in the preseason, an injury that seemed to linger into the regular season. Crean acknowledged after Tuesday's game that the key to Bryant's recent success has been him being healthier. 

"Pure and simple, he's getting healthier, which is allowing us to do more with him and allowing his confidence to grow." 

The confidence of both players has played a major role in Indiana's five-game win streak as it heads into Big Ten play. As Indiana head coach Tom Crean continues to develop his roster into a true two-deep, the players continue to improve. 

"We're going to get better. We've gotten better," Crean said. "We've won five straight, so we've gotten bettter, and hopefully everyobyd's safe and sound over this little break and they come back excited and ready to go, and we move into the Big Ten." Top Stories