Indiana's first road encounter proved to be anything but a test.
Except, perhaps, for the scoreboard.
Paced by 17 first-half points from Marco Killingsworth and 16-of-26 3-point shooting, Indiana raced to a 53-32 halftime lead over Western Illinois and cruised to a 102-79 victory over the Leathernecks in Macomb, Ill.
The 20th-ranked Hoosiers shot 58 percent overall (36-of-62) and 61.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc to win its third straight to open the regular season. Indiana will next host No. 1 Duke on Wednesday night as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Western Illinois, meanwhile, dropped to 1-2.
"I am pleased," said Mike Davis. "I'm not sure we can shot it this great every night…but if they're open shots, I'm happy."
The game stood in stark contrast to last year's meeting between the same two teams in Bloomington. Indiana needed nine points from D.J. White in the game's final four minutes to overcome a five-point deficit and eventually escaped with a 64-60 victory.
While that contest wasn't resolved until the game's final minute, this year's encounter on the Western Illinois campus was all but over in the game's opening minutes. In the first-ever appearance for a nationally-ranked team at Western Hall, a sold-out crowd witnessed WIU's Fred Oguns open the game's scoring with a 12-foot runner in the lane, but Indiana then proceeded to run off 10 straight points to open a 10-2 lead two minutes into the contest. That lead would eventually balloon to as many as 24 in the opening half, 32 in the second half, and Western Illinois would get no closer than 20 the rest of the way.
Indiana also eclipsed the 90-point barrier for the third straight game, a feat last accomplished by IU during the 1993-94 season when IU knocked off Kentucky (96-94), Notre Dame (101-82) and Tennessee Tech (117-73) during the season's first month. Last year's Indiana team not only failed to reach 90 points in any game, its season-high was the 79 points it scored in a 79-62 home win against Purdue.
The 102 points, meanwhile, marked the second straight game Indiana has reached the 100-point barrier and the fourth time during the Mike Davis era. It's the most points scored in a game by an IU team since Indiana's 103-65 win over Northeastern on Dec. 20, 2000.
"Our goal is try to score 10 points every four minutes," said Davis. "If we keep that pace going, we can wear teams out."
Indiana rolled to the easy win without the services of not only D.J. White (broken foot) and A.J. Ratliff (broken thumb), but also Sean Kline. A starter in the season's first two games, Kline tweaked a knee at practice earlier this week and was held out of Saturday night's game. Rod Wilmont started in Kline's absence and knocked down two early 3-pointers and finished with 15 points and a career-high nine rebounds.
Just about every Hoosier played a role in the Hoosiers' win. Robert Vaden shared team scoring honors with Killingsworth with 22 points, establishing a new career-high. Vaden was 9-of-14 shooting overall and 4-of-6 on 3-pointers, while also totaling a career-high eight assists and equally his career-high with five steals.
Marshall Strickland added 13 points and Errek Suhr finished with 12 on 4-of-5 3-point shooting, giving the Hoosiers five players in double figures for a third straight game.
Western Illinois was led by Marlon Mahorn, who finished with 17 points, while David Jackson added 16.
Leathernecks No Match For Hoosiers
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