Hoosiers dispatch Greyhounds, 74-53, in exhibition finale

Indiana has spent approximately 75 percent of its preseason practice allotment working on its defense.

Through two exhibitions, it shows.

The Hoosiers turned in another fine defensive demonstration in Sunday’s 74-53 exhibition win over the University of Indianapolis, looking the part of a program that is buying into new coach Archie Miller’s demand for more team toughness.

The Hoosiers pressured and stuffed the Greyhounds, while attacking the boards in impressive fashion. Sure, it’s merely a Division II opponent, but the mentality and want-to is there with these Hoosiers so far.

That bodes well for Friday’s fast-approaching season opener against Indiana State.

“I still think we’re far away from where we need to be,” senior guard Robert Johnson said, “but I think for where we’re at right now, I think we definitely have a good base — a good base to start at.”

During Miller’s six seasons guiding Dayton, the Flyers were known as a tough, detail-oriented defensive team. In implementing his pack-line principles at IU, Miller is pushing the Hoosiers to adopt those same characteristics found in his best Dayton squads.

One branch of Miller’s coaching philosophy calls for relentless man-to-man defense. That means no switching.

The Hoosiers hardly switched against UIndy, committing to playing through screens and sticking with their men.

“We’re not a big switch (team) at all,” Miller said. “Predominantly try to stay away from switching as much as possible unless it’s obviously a special situation or a special cover, a certain guy that you don’t want to get open or something. But for the most part I think we’re just trying to play our base defense right now and our players react off it.”

On Sunday, IU held UIndy to 41 percent shooting from the field, 27 percent shooting from 3-point range and zero transition points.

Indiana grabbed 47 rebounds, with De’ron Davis posting 11 points and seven boards. Johnson scored a game-high 18 points, while adding three assists and five rebounds. Freddie McSwain attacked the boards and came a rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds

It was an encouraging performance from McSwain, who will be needed to back up Davis at center. One of IU’s most effective offensive rebounders last season, McSwain was tough on the glass on Sunday. He recorded six offensive rebounds, leading to a few easy tip-ins on that end of the floor.

“He gets up and goes and gets balls,” Miller said. “There’s a value of six offensive rebounds in the game. There’s a value to whatever he played —13 minutes, nine rebounds. There’s a value to that.”

Indeed, McSwain helped provide a boost as the Hoosiers created permanent separation early in the second half. He had six points around the second media timeout, sinking a jumper that put the Hoosiers ahead by 17 points with 10 minutes remaining in regulation.

Although Indiana’s offense resembles a work in progress entering the season, the Hoosiers once again demonstrated encouraging ball security. After turning the ball over 10 times in the exhibition opener against Marian, the Hoosiers committed only eight against UIndy.

“Anything under 10 is always what we’re gunning for,” Miller said. “But if you add in six to eight bad shots in later-down-the-line games against good competition is going to turn into offense on the other side of the ball. So we have to be a little bit more mindful in shot selection. I thought the turnovers in the first half were related to guards just keeping it too long, not hitting the first open man on the break.”

Fifth-year senior forward Collin Hartman (ankle) and freshman guard Al Durham (hamstring) each made their preseason debuts Sunday after sitting out last weekend’s exhibition with injuries.

Hartman entered to a warm round of applause midway through the first half. For the veteran, it was a sweet moment after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

“It felt good,” Hartman said. “It’s been over a year since I’ve been able to put this jersey on and play against somebody else with these guys. And it really felt good to get the first one under our belt and get the ball rolling.”

One comment

  1. It is good to see Robert Johnson conveying and projecting what A.M. is teaching: “far away from where we need to be but for right now we have a good base.” The coach is being projected into players which translates on the floor. It just all seems better and makes sense.

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