IU Races Past St. Joe's In Exhibition Win

Bloomington – Unlike the Hoosiers' opening exhibition win against Grace, there were no nervous moments Monday against St. Joseph's. Indiana was kind enough to spot its Rensselaer-based Division II foe a 2-0 lead early before burying the visitors 95-67 beneath an avalanche of transition buckets and free throws in IU's final preseason tune-up...

Bloomington – Unlike the Hoosiers' opening exhibition win against Grace, there were no nervous moments Monday against St. Joseph's.

Indiana was kind enough to spot its Rensselaer-based Division II foe a 2-0 lead early before burying the visitors 95-67 beneath an avalanche of transition buckets and free throws in IU's final preseason tune-up.

The Hoosiers rolled behind some torrid first-half shooting – 17-of-26 – as Tom Crean's team attacked from the opening tip. If Jeremiah Rivers or Verdell Jones wasn't getting in the lane for an easy basket, then Maurice Creek or Christian Watford was getting to the free-throw line where Indiana made 11-of-17 free throws in the opening half and 32-of-46 overall.

Indiana never let up in its effort to get up and down the floor and to the free-throw line, and as a result it raced to a 15-point halftime lead and extended it to as many as 31 in the second half.

"That's part of our identity. That's what we're trying to establish – go and push the pace," said Jeremiah Rivers. "We still have a long ways to go, but I think we made a good progression."

Crean admitted to being impressed at how well his team kept its collective foot on the gas pedal for virtually the entire 40 minutes despite undergoing three straight grueling days in practice after last week's 23-point win over Grace.

"I was a bit surprised by how well they ran throughout the game," Crean said. "But when you have people playing at a fast level, and you can go to the bench and those people will continue that pace and they'll continue to work defensively, then you have a chance to do that."

Indiana made good use of its bench, with 11 different players scoring Monday night. Creek led a balanced scoring attack with 16, while Rivers and Jones both had 15 and Christian Watford tossed in 13. Derek Elston had eight points and a team-high eight rebounds off the bench, while Bawa Muniru got in the mix as well and chipped in seven points, two rebounds and three blocked shots in eight minutes.

It was Muniru's first game action since being cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center late last week to play. While there are still plenty of rough edges to his game, Muniru showed signs that he might be able to help Indiana in the post if given the chance.

"I can't describe to you how far he's come in a short period of time," Crean said. "By no stretch is he ready to be a centerpiece of our team, but he's come so far."

Indiana, meanwhile, made some strides of its own as a team Monday night, and the ability to stay in attack mode for the full 40 minutes was an area that had Crean particularly pleased.

"The players are learning the more they push it, the faster they play, the more we'll play that way," Crean said. "If it backs off you can't play as many people."

Indiana's attacking style did more than produce 95 points and 20 fastbreak points -, the Hoosiers were also saddling St. Joseph's with fouls in bunches. Indiana was in the bonus 5 ½ minutes into the first half, and by the time two minutes had elapsed in the second half, two St. Joseph's players were already on the bench with four fouls. St. Joseph's was whistled for 31 fouls in the game, and 11 different Hoosiers attempted at least two free throws.

Afterwards, Crean said that former Hoosier player Pat Graham talked to the team for 20 minutes before the game and made a point of emphasizing how many of the good Indiana teams of the past were known for making more free throws than its opponents attempted. Crean was well aware of that reputation as well from his days as a Michigan State assistant, and he's looking to make that a staple of IU's teams again as he moves the program forward.

"Indiana was always the standard for that," Crean said. "I don't know if we're ready to be that. We're certainly not big enough and physical enough to be that yet. That's why we have to drive it."

Defensively Indiana forced only 14 turnovers, but it was the bevy of contested, off-balance shots that quickly had St. Joseph's immersed in a cavernous hole. St. Joe's shot just 32.5 percent overall (25-of-77), including a dismal 3-of-25 from behind the 3-point arc.

Indiana now has a couple of days to prepare for Friday's season opener against Howard, and Crean's team feels good about what they've shown in their two tune-ups.

"After the first game it was a little suspect, but today we came out and executed the things we wanted to execute and gained a lot of confidence," said Verdell Jones.

INDIANA 95
Watford 3-5 7-8 13, Jobe 0-0 0-0 0, Creek 4-5 7-8 16, Rivers 6-10 3-4 15, Jones 5-9 5-6 15, Barnett 0-1 0-0 0, Hulls 1-2 4-4 7, Finkelmeier 0-0 0-2 0, Moore 1-2 0-2 3, Muniru 2-3 3-4 7, Capobianco 0-2 0-0 0, Pritchard 2-3 0-4 4, Roth 2-3 0-0 6, Elston 3-5 2-2 8, Dumes 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 29-52 32-46 95.

ST. JOSEPH'S 67
Helmer 2-4 0-0 4, Horton 1-4 4-4 6, Hassler 2-5 4-5 8, Peebles 5-12 1-1 12, Collins 3-0 0-0 7, Lake 1-11 0-0 2, Sloan 1-4 1-2 4, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Anthrop 1-1 0-0 2, Lipton 0-1 0-0 0, Chorba 0-5 0-0 0, Smith 1-2 2-2 4, Jackson 6-11 0-0 12, Repay 0-1 0-0 0, Hrynyk 2-4 1-3 5, Stevens 0-0 1-2 1, UYm Kaman 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-77 14-19 67.

3-Pointers: Indiana 5-10 (Roth 2-2, Creek 1-2, Hulls 1-2, Moore 1-1, Capobianco 0-1, Dumes 0-2), St. Joseph's 3-25 (Peebles 1-5, Sloan 1-3, Collins 1-3, Chorba 0-4, Lake 0-4, Helmer 0-1, Horton 0-1, Smith 0-1, Lipton 0-1, Jackson 0-1, Repay 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 45 (Elston 8), St. Joseph's 39 (Helmer 6, Jackson 6). Assists: Indiana 15 (Rivers 5), St. Joseph's 12 (Helmer 3). Turnovers: Indiana 18 (Jones 5, Hullls 5), St. Joseph's 14 (Helmer 2, Horton 2, Hassler 2, Collins 2, Lake 2). Blocks: Indiana 9 (Muniru 3, Jobe, Creek, Rivers, Jones, Pritchard, Elston), St. Joseph's 5 (Peebles, Jackson, Hrynyk, Stevens). Steals: Indiana 5, St. Joseph's 9. Officials: Steve Skiles, Lamont Simpson, Kyle Ingram. Halftime Score: Indiana 48, St. Joseph's 33. Attendance: 15,289.


Peegs.com Top Stories