IU picks up win No. 5 vs. Princeton, 79-54

With every display of flash by Indiana’s Devonte Green in a 79-54 win over Princeton, there were side effects.

After each successful flip into the paint for a Joey Brunk lay-in, the senior guard’s chest puffed with confidence. When Green buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key, he kept his wrist bent as he backpedaled, kissing his fingers.

Those digits were blessing the Hoosiers (5-0) with an energetic playmaker, brimming with confidence and joy as he tied with Brunk for a game-high 16 points Wednesday. It wasn’t just fun for Green to be starring in his second game back from a hamstring injury, an unwanted delay to his final collegiate season.

It was fun for everyone involved.

“You love it,” Brunk said. “You love having somebody that’s looking for you, wants to reward you, and you want to play hard with him because you know he’s going to get you the ball in the right spots.”

In a game where Princeton played a physical brand of basketball in the post, tightening things up in the first half, the playmaking of Green created a separation.

He found Brunk, who was 7-of-11 from the floor, inside for easy paint buckets. He wasn’t afraid to whip a pass by the Princeton press off an inbounds, either, finding Al Durham as the connector for an alley-oop to junior forward Justin Smith.

Even when things didn’t go right, Green was full of life. It took Brunk two shots to convert one of Green’s dump-downs for a layup. The 6-foot-3 guard, who finished with four assists, skipped his way back to the defensive end, almost like a child riding a pretend horse.

He mourned his lost assist by getting behind Smith, giving him a big ole’ hug.

“He’s the one player on our team, he’s very, very impactful, creative-wise,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “He can do things that other guys don’t see.”

Last time out versus Troy, Green debuted with a 20-minute outing, hitting just 2-of-8 from the field. This time, in 26 minutes, Green was 5-of-8 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, seemingly gaining energy and enthusiasm with every big play.

It was just 35-31, IU, at halftime. Something close to a 25-footer from Green was the Hoosiers’ only 3-point make on six attempts, while the Tigers were able to sink a quartet from deep.

But IU was eventually able to clamp down defensively, holding Princeton (0-4) to 28 percent shooting from the field in the second half, including a 2-of-13 success rate from 3.

“I don’t think we were perfect by any stretch,” Miller said. “But I do think overall, the overall depth of our team, playing a lot of guys maybe had something to do with it, wearing them down a little bit.”

With Green and Rob Phinisee both back, the Hoosiers had their full complement of guards. Only the sophomore point guard, who missed IU’s last game with strep throat, did leave Wednesday’s contest early and didn’t return following an unspecified injury.

IU was also without senior forward De’Ron Davis, who was out with back soreness.

But the Hoosiers had more than enough firepower to turn back the Tigers, a team Miller called a potential “contender” in the Ivy League. Smith finished with 14 points for IU, while freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis added 11 points.

Green and Brunk were by far the most effective statistically, though, logging a pair of plus-29 efforts. Brunk’s presence was just as valuable on the defensive end, helping limit Princeton’s 6-9 big man, Richmond Aririguzoh, to just four points.

“He was a huge help,” Green said. “The other team had a good big man and we needed somebody to answer the call. And Joey stepped up.”

Green’s playmaking from the backcourt added another element. Miller was asked how much Green has “matured” from last season, which brought a smile to the third-year coach’s face.

“Not a ton,” Miller said, acknowledging Green has barely practiced and played at this point.

“I think at the end of the day, Devonte knows that he’s a playmaker for us,” Miller said, “and we want him to be aggressive.”

His teammates love to see it, too.

“He’s hard to guard,” Brunk said. “And, obviously, I’m happy I’m not the one guarding him and he’s on my team and I’m not getting out there on ball screens trying to hedge it. So I’m happy. I’m happy he’s on my side.”

21 comments

  1. OK! Got there 10 minutes prior to game-time and was simply astounded….seemingly there was no one there. Asked Ushers “where IS everybody?” and they said, “We don’t KNOW!!” I’d say the place was 1/2 filled when everybody who was going there finally showed up. Ho hum….we have a dreary team of non-shooters and role players. I wish I could get excited about anyone other than Devonte Green, who was electric on a couple of plays, but I can’t. N.I.T. is my prediction….we are in for a Big Surprise when we start playing in the BIG. Wish I could be more enthusiastic. Our team came out looking like they were wage-earners going to the factory.

  2. Brunk was recruited to IU for D and boards. Not as a primary scoring option of the 4 post players. Like his positive approach with teammates.

  3. Almost half way through non- conference the Hoosiers now have a SOS ranking of 349, only 4 spots away from the weakest schedule of all Div 1 teams in the country. Their opponents so far are a combined 1-18 (D1). But hey the schedule can only get better right? We won’t know much about this team until Dec 7.

  4. IU returning to elite with 5 wins 0 losses. I don’t understand why IU isn’t rated number 1 in the country?? Oh, I guess they did lose a scrimmage to Marquette. Then, lost another recruiting battle, this time to Marquette. However, regular season 5 and 0. Some teams have lost 1 or 2 games and are ranked in top 20. Shouldn’t IU be ranked at least in top 10? 21st century IU men’s basketball new way of thinking. (not new anymore because it is approaching the 2nd decade of IU men’s basketball way of thinking). IU men’s basketball have as much claim to number 1 as any other team in the country unless or until they have a loss. 10 wins and 1 loss is pretty good to. If or when has its first loss shouldn’t IU still be ranked in the top 5 in the country??

  5. You don’t have to be from West Lafayette to have noticed how quiet the crowd was last night. I thought I was watching a closed scrimmage or a practice there for a while. And who can blame IU fans for not being excited by these first five opponents? I love watching IU play, and I love when IU wins by a comfortable margin, no matter who they play, but these first five opponents have been a joke. Absolutely no one has been inspired by these wins.

    Yes, our depth and superior athletes won the game last night by a comfortable margin, but when Prinecton came back in the first half to tie the score at 21, I thought IU had been exposed. During that first 12 minutes, our guys missed four or five bunnies at the rim, made stupid turnovers and allowed a bunch of three-point shots. Guards sagging too far into the paint leaving Princeton’s shooters wide open beyond the three point line. I don’t think that’s what Archie had in mind.

    Congrats to Brunk and Green, they played very well. But aside from helping some of IU’s players shake the rust off, these first five wins are virtually meaningless, and may actually be detrimental. I worry that these easy wins are giving IU’s players a false sense of accomplishment. I worry that when IU faces some quality competition, especially on the road, they’ll be shocked and their confidence will get hammered. Having a few cupcakes on your schedule in the early part of the season is fine, but IU should have scheduled at least one quality opponent in the first five games of the season.

    1. Po,
      Back up and look at this logically. Yes, these are basically closed scrimmages, and maybe, intentionally so. As astute as Hoosier basketball fans used to be, I find it amazing that so many miss the obvious. You have a team with a lot of moving parts which have not had a chance to build a proper chemistry together. You have to give them a chance to do this before sending them into the real pre-B1G tests in December. With all the injuries last year and bringing in 3 newcomers to the program, you essentially have over half the team with very little in game experience with each other.

      Team practices and scrimmages are great, but they not give you the same feel as live competition against another team. I fully expect IUBB to 11 deep on a regular basis, and you cannot simulate that in practice. IUBB has 2 more games in November in which to all the bugs worked out before the much tougher December schedule. The Pak Line defense is not an easy one to learn, and a inexperienced chemistry-wise team has to have a fair amount of in game reps under their collective belts before hitting serious competition.

      This would not be an issue if Archie and his system had been here 10 years. You would have a constant flow of experienced players to lead the way. Archie’s system thankfully, is a radical departure from what Hoosier Nation has been forced to suffer through for far too many years (H4H that’s your cue) before CAM. Archie’s system is a very good one, but it takes time and specific type players to execute it properly. The most experienced players on the team are just entering their 3rd year in Archie’s system, and they were not specifically recruited to play in Archie’s system. It took Villanova coach Jay Wright 4 years to get them back to the tournament, and another 11 years to win a championship. It took Virginia coach Tony Bennett 4 years to get Virginia back to the tournament and another 6 years to win a championship.

      The reason I cite Villanova and Virginia so often is I believe Archie is patterning the IU program on a combination of those two models. The question I keep asking the critics is do you want sizzle or do you want banners? If the trend over the last 5 years continues, sizzle does not produce banners. I would much rather be hanging banners than contending with an over-hyped program with no banners to show for it. That is kind of what we endured in the years prior to Archie (H4H, that is your second cue, have at it)!

      Stay low Po, H4H will probably come flying in at fence row level over us before long. I feed him too much fodder in this one. Unless I miss my guess H4H won’t be able to resist the setup I just gave, and I would be very disappointing as well if he didn’t. Looking forward to his take.

      1. thinkaboutit- Did notice one correlation: The more you mention ‘H4H,’ the more lengthy and frequent Podunker’s posts become.

        My usual three pages posts/comments used to be bad enough….Now, look at all of you…Dissertations abound and I never even held up cue cards. t used to go with merely a sentence or two…Now he’s going with short novels as well.
        – thinkaboutit dissertations have moved from seasons destroyed by injuries to explaining how Archie is turning us into Milan. Improvement will be slow as sap from a Maple..but when we’re all dead it will have been well worth it.
        – t dissertations giving us the 20 year mean average drop and widening spread in Hoosier Basketball star ranking standard deviations.
        – Podunker going Tolstoy in his latest version of ‘The Great Apology’ (a.k.a. I still love Tom Crean).

        There’s simply no room for H4H. I will go on my way today with only this: BRUNK, BRUNK, BRUNK……AND MORE JOEY BRUNK. Give ma A HUNK, A HUNK OF BURNIN’ BRUNK ! (Go to 1:38 mark…only because I adore the backup singers in this version)
        Reason we’ll slay some teams looking stronger on paper and go deep in the tournament: The Butler did it!

        1. But more succinctly….I really like this team. Like the freshman, Franklin as he fills in for Phinisee. Pleasantly surprised with Thompson and Hunter. Like the body and inside blue collar work of Brunk…Durham shooting the ball much better. Green finally buying into Archie’s demands to take care of possessions.
          And Jackson-Davis is a stud who could start for any team in the country.
          And love the fact we are heavily weighted with homegrown Indiana kids…Got a big kick out of the Indiana walk-on”s getting some PT..and the kid from Zionsville(?) draining a three.

          What the hell is not to be hopeful about…?

  6. Things could be worse….imagine Richard Pitino at Minnesota explaining to Media and Fans:::Gophers tackle losing: On the court and in recruiting Minnesota’s best prep basketball players
    Gophers drop three in a row, miss out on state’s best big man. There’s nothing the Gophers have done, though, to change the perception locally in recruiting.
    Garcia, who picked Marquette over Minnesota, Indiana and Memphis, decided not to stay at home despite a strong effort by Pitino and his staff ….Fans and media are getting concerned why Pitino CANT RECRUIT in state. Its time for fans to back up to 30,000 ft and see the BIG PICTURE…..much better here than in many other Big Ten programs.

  7. And there lies one ☝️ of the major problems. Since when should IU men’s basketball program be compared to Minnesota men’s basketball program, other big ten programs and other programs for that matter???? UNELITE and INSIGNIFICANT.

  8. IU men’s basketball should always schedule 2 or 3 quality opponents and at least 1 or 2 elite opponents period. That leaves room for several cupcakes. Getting fat on cupcakes leads to obesity. It leads to player and team boredom, false hopes and low team self esteem. It also leads to IU falsely peaking in pre season, low program self image and boredom for recruits. Future higher level opponents lick their chops and are not even intimidated at all of IU defense or offense looking to destroy them in the future happily and joyfully submitting this once elite basketball program to the middle of the pack in big ten conference.

  9. “Since when should IU men’s basketball program be compared to Minnesota men’s basketball program”. GREAT point, t! You hit the nail right on the head.

    I get concerned when IU fans start saying things like, “it could be worse.” Well of course it could be worse; it could always be worse. But we expect IU BB to get better, and I’m not comfortable with the argument that these first five games of the season are going to help IU BB get better. Another 19-win season is not going to help Archie recruit better talent!

    A good number of Hoosier fans these days seem to have significantly lower expectations than in times past. It’s as if a portion of Hoosier fans have begun to “settle” for less, as if they no longer believe IU BB can return to elite status. I guess that’s because for so many Hoosier fans, IU BB has not been amongst the elite BB programs since they were born. But if you’re my age, you remember just how prominent IU BB was back in the mid-70’s. I feel bad that today’s IU students don’t get to experience the hyper-excitement and that I experienced while attending IU back in the 70’s.

  10. And just one final note…(side of fries with the Whopper above): Don’t know what we finished with, but I think I heard we had only 9 turnovers very late in the game. I know it’s just against Princeton, but with a young team and parts still being experimental parts/lineups, that’s a decent number. All these guys are looking very disciplined with the ball….And for as little they’ve played together, that’s a great sign.

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