Be wary what you wish for.
IUPUI Coach Ron Hunter had long pleaded for a chance to play Indiana, and his Jaguars got their chance Friday night. But by the time the final horn sounded at Conseco Fieldhouse, that dream match-up had long since turned into a nightmare.
Indiana jumped to a 15-2 lead in the game's first five minutes, owned a 20-point lead at halftime, and blitzed IUPUI 86-57 in the first-ever match-up between the schools. Indiana improved to 8-3 with the win, while IUPUI slipped to 5-6.
The Hoosiers dominated with an offense that scored inside, outside and in transition. Earl Calloway attacked the rim and scored 17 of his 21 points in the opening half, Lance Stemler and Armon Bassett set new career-highs with 21 and 20 points, respectively, and the Hoosiers did just about whatever they wanted against their Mid-Continent Conference foe.
It was a big turnaround for Stemler, who also added a career-high nine rebounds. The 6-8 junior had missed 14 of 15 shots in his last three games – including all 10 of his 3-point attempts – but he bounced back with a 7-of-10 effort against IUPUI, including 3-of-6 on 3-pointers.
"I told (Lance) in the locker room before the game he was going to have a big night," IU Coach Kelvin Sampson said. "I knew he would. He works too hard."
Bassett, meanwhile, reached double figures for the second straight game and the fifth time this season. He was also 7-of-10 from the floor and added five assists to share team honors in that category with D.J. White.
While Bassett's offensive contributions were big, Sampson is more pleased with the progress the Terre Haute, Ind., native has made on the other end of the floor.
"Armon is a good player," Sampson said. "The biggest area I'm pleased with is he's learning to guard the dribble, keep his man in front of him. I don't know if I've had a kid improve as much as he has defensively in my career from October to now. Before, he couldn't have guarded (IUPUI leading scorer David Barlow) in a phone booth."
Bassett and the Hoosiers did hold IUPUI in check. The Jaguars shot just 34.5 percent, and the Hoosiers owned a 43-23 edge on the glass. In the decisive first half, IU out-shot the Jaguars 59 percent to 29 percent while also owning a commanding 22-6 rebounding edge. It marked the 10th time in 11 games Indiana has out-rebounded its opponent, with Wednesday's game against Western Michigan being the lone exception.
"You have to dominate in one area of the game," Sampson said. "You can't just be pretty good at everything. You have to be really good at something, and for us that's rebounding."
Indiana took command early. D.J. White scored on IU's first possession, and A.J. Ratliff followed with a 3-pointer on the Hoosiers' next trip to put IU up 5-0. Stemler added a leaner in the lane and Ratliff hit a 17-foot jumper to put IU up 10-0 a little more than three minutes into the game.
IUPUI's Angelo Smith connected on a 10-foot jumper to put the Jaguars on the board at the 16:19 mark, but Stemler tipped in a Rod Wilmont miss to push the lead back to double figures, and the Jaguars would get no closer than 11 the rest of the way.
It was a dominating performance for an Indiana team that has one more tune-up before the start of Big Ten play Jan. 2 at Ohio State.
"We're not where we want to be, but we're a whole lot better than we were a month ago," Sampson said.
Avery 0-1 1-3 1, Smith 1-5 4-4 6, Barlow 3-14 2-2 10, Patterson 4-15 0-0 11, Montgomery 4-9 8-8 16, Burks 0-2 0-0 0, Swoope 1-3 0-0 3, Conner 4-5 0-0 8, Van Senus 0-0 0-0 0, Hampton 1-1 0-0 2, Pettiford 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-56 15-17 57.
D. White 3-10 2-4 8, Stemler 7-10 4-4 21, Wilmont 0-6 2-2 2, Ratliff 3-6 0-0 8, Calloway 6-7 8-10 21, Bassett 7-10 2-2 20, Suhr 1-2 0-0 2, Allen 2-3 0-0 4, M. White 0-0 0-0 0, Shaw 0-2 0-0 0, Keeling 0-0 0-0 0, Ahlfeld 0-0 0-0 0, Taber 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-56 18-22 86.
3-Pointers: Indiana 10-23 (Bassett 4-6, Stemler 3-6, Ratliff 2-5, Calloway 1-2, Wilmont 0-3, Suhr 0-1), IUPUI 6-17 (Patterson 3-8, Barlow 2-7, Swoope 1-1, Avery 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 43 (Stemler 9, Wilmont 9), IUPUI 23 (Barlow 7). Assists: Indiana 20 (D. White 5, Bassett 5), IUPUI 10 (Montgomery 4, Barlow 4). Turnovers: Indiana 9 (Wilmont 2, Ratliff 2, Calloway 2), IUPUI 7 (Montgomery 3). Blocks: Indiana 6 (D. White 3), IUPUI 2 (Smith, Conner). Steals: Indiana 1 (Stemler), IUPUI 3 (Montgomery 2). Officials: Ed Corbett, Randy Drury, Zelton Steed
Hoosiers Rip Jaguars, 86-57
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