Bloomington, Ind. – The Florida A&M Rattlers had two goals when they came in Assembly Hall to take on the No. 22 Indiana Hoosiers Monday night – keep Marco Killingsworth under 20 points and the Hoosiers under 90.
With a trapping press and zone defense the Rattlers got one of their two goals, but still fell to the more powerful Hoosiers. Indiana won 100-63 with Killingsworth scoring just 10 points. The Rattlers pestered Killingsworth all night and limited his play due to foul trouble while forcing the Hoosiers into 20 turnovers on the night.
"Our goal coming in was to hold Killingsworth," said Florida A&M Coach Mike Gillespie, Sr. "We weren't going to let him beat us. I thought we did a pretty good job. We forced him into making five turnovers. He did have nine rebounds, but we really surrounded him and a real conscious effort to not let him dominate the game."
With Killingsworth relegated to the bench for most of the first half with two fouls, playing just six minutes, Strickland took over the offense. He hit his first five three-pointers and scored 18 points in the first half. Strickland was 5-of-6 from down town in the half and 6-of-8 overall playing all 20 minutes in the opening period. He would finish the night with just more field and 20 points overall.
"You have to hope your guards can hit the shots like that," said Killingsworth. "They can only break down on you so much when you have guys who can shoot like Marshall is right now. I saw a zone every night at Auburn so this is nothing new. I never had shooters like this, that's why I'm glad I'm here."
Killingsworth was bothered by three defenders almost every time he touched the ball and did not break into double digits of scoring until under three minutes to play. The pesky defense of A&M led Killingsworth to five turnovers in his 21 minutes of play. He also chipped in nine rebounds and three assists.
"Their defense was absolutely focused on Marco tonight," said junior Errek Suhr. "They played a zone and anytime Marco touched it the zone shrunk right on top of him. They were hitting his arms and were all over him. Because of his presence the rest of the team gets open shots and if they're open you have to make them or you lose that advantage Marco gives you."
The Hoosiers knocked down those shots to a tone of 61 percent shooting on the night, including 16-of-29 from three-point range.
Robert Vaden broke out of his shooting slump in the first half, scoring 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. He would finish the game with 13 points, shooting 4-of-9 from the floor with five assists.
Roderick Wilmont made his first appearance of the season early in the first half and brought plenty of saved up energy to the floor. After picking up a charge, Wilmont energized the Hoosiers by diving full-extension out of bounds in an attempt to save a loose ball. He also chipped in 17 points, including 10 in the opening period in eight minutes of play.
"Everyone is scoring for us right now," said Strickland. "We had five guys in double figures again tonight and I think it's good to seeing us playing like that. We're spreading the ball around and finding open shots."
The second half saw the Hoosiers maintain the double digit lead, but never truly pull comfortably away from the Rattlers until the final seven minutes. Indiana's largest lead was the final score and A&M got as close as 13 in the second half, but gained the momentum enough at times to throw the Hoosiers for a loop.
Sloppy Indiana play that featured 20 turnovers kept the Rattlers around until Ben Allen drilled the dagger on a layup with less than seven minutes to go in the game, giving Indiana a 21-point lead at 74-53. The Rattlers would get no closer.
"I think we could get even better if we limit those turnovers," said Vaden. "We're almost averaging 100 points right now and the less turnovers you have the more possessions you get. We could score even more points."
Suhr played another solid game for the Hoosiers picking up 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting including three three-pointers. Suhr played 20 minutes for the second consecutive game and earned the "Errek Suhr" chant from the 17,030 in attendance after making all four of his shot attempts in the second half after going 0-of-2 in the first. Ben Allen added his first points as a Hoosier on a three-point bucket in the first half and finished with eight points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the floor.
"You look around the country and you have a lot of high-major teams playing mid-major teams and they're not scoring 100 points," said Indiana Head Coach Mike Davis. "There are a lot of those games where it's close at the half. We talked about scoring points this year and we said we could do it. I'm more proud of tonight's game than any other game because of the fashion we scored those points."
Indiana scored 100 points for the fist time since the 2001-02 season when Coach Davis led them to the Final Four. That season Indiana scored 101 in a win over Alaska Anchorage in the Great Alaska Shootout. It was also the first time Indiana scored over 90 in back-to-back games since the 1998-99 season when Indiana beat San Francisco 106-54 and Drake 102-46 one week apart. Including the two exhibition games this season, Indiana has gone over 90 every time out and has scored more points each time.
Junior transfer point guard Earl Calloway sat out the game with a minor injury to his hip. He is expected back Saturday when the Hoosiers travel to Western Illinois. D.J. White's injury is still expected to keep him out until Big Ten play, while A.J. Ratliff might play this weekend and if not is expected to be ready for the Duke game, Wednesday Nov. 30.
In two games Indiana has 56 assists, good for an average of 28 a game. Last season Indiana only averaged 11.6 assists a game.
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