Indiana overpowers Creighton, 86-65

What was supposed to be the first challenge in a long line of them wasn’t much of a challenge at all.

No. 14 Indiana overpowered Creighton, 86-65, in the inaugural Gavitt Games on Thursday at Assembly Hall.

Thomas Bryant was outstanding for the Hoosiers (3-0), scoring 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds. James Blackmon Jr. scored a team-high 19 points, while Yogi Ferrell added 15 points.

Indiana created separation with a strong start and hardly looked back. IU begins the long trip to Hawaii on Friday and plays its first game in the Maui Invitational on Monday at 5 p.m. Eastern against Wake Forest.

The Hoosiers used a 12-0 run midway through the first half to take a 26-10 lead at the under-12 timeout, matching stops and Creighton turnovers with baskets on the other end. Bryant began the run with a corner 3-pointer for his first long-range field goal of the season.

The freshman center was key to the early success, both outside and under the basket. He used an arsenal of advanced post moves to score 11 points in 13 minutes, authoring his best first half of IU’s first three games. Some of the credit belongs to his teammates, who showed both the willingness and capacity to feed the post. IU coach Tom Crean has said this part of the offense will be an ongoing development for his Hoosiers as they learn to work with more natural low-post options.

On Thursday, that development looked to be well on track.

The Hoosiers hit five of their first 10 3-pointers, before going 5-for-18 from beyond the arc the rest of the way. In the midst of its hot start from the perimeter, Indiana was shooting over a Creighton 2-3 zone

Indiana led 51-32 at halftime, and the Blue Jays never inched closer than 17 points in the second half.

IU took away second-chance opportunities for Creighton, which didn’t grab its first offensive rebound until early in the second half.

From here, the Hoosiers will face the Demon Deacons in Hawaii, followed by potential matchups against Vanderbilt and Kansas. After returning home to test its legs against Alcorn State on Nov. 30, Indiana travels to Duke on Dec. 2.

This story will be updated.

32 comments

  1. That wasn’t nearly as close as the score made it sound. TB is light years better than any big man we’ve had in a while. I hope we see him for more than one year.

  2. There is a lot to like about Bryant (TB is Tom Brady)… Personally my favorite thing so far is that I trust him to set screens. He is super solid… doesn’t move… allows the ball-handler or runner to do what they are going to do byt he is a solid statue. It’s great because he’s asked to do it so much and we can’t afford the cheapies that Perea, and even Zeller, got.

    I really feel comfortable having Beilfelt on the floor. I’m not sure how many minutes Hanner woulda got this year anyway.

    Best I’ve felt about our bench in a long time. Having Rob, Nicky Buckets, and Colin come in there is no drop off, and in some cases, a noticeable improvement.

    Does anyone wonder if they draw up the first possession for Troy to turn it over? I think he’s 3-for-3… I don’t get why people think he’s a first rounder. I wouldn’t let him play on my men’s league team. I mean he does some neat things, but he’s literally the worst ball-handler i’ve ever seen be that productive. Every time he touches the ball its high-risk, high-reward… I can’t stand that as a coach/fan. Not sure why a GM would be psyched… there are a lot of athletes at that level.

    This is a pretty damn good team.

  3. As long as Bryant stays out of foul trouble, this is a good team. They have shooters that can pile up points quickly. With Bryant out of the game, they are going to get hurt defensively. I hope Morgan can give them some quality minutes this year as they need him and Max to be tough inside. Troy Williams did not improve his ball handling during the offseason. Super athletic kid, but he remains a turnover machine. Yogi looks great and JB looks like he is really trying to be a more complete player. Shaping up to be a fun season!

  4. Just saw the box score… hilarious that they only Troy for 4 TO’s… there were at least 6. And that’s being kind.

  5. I agree with Geoff and HH regarding Williams. he needs to slow it down a notch. he is to herky-jerky! he is not ready for the NBA nor will he be ready after the season is over. Bryant needs at least another year to be ready to CONTRIBUTE in the NBA. if he goes after this year he will ride the bench for 2 years like the last big man we had who went one and out when he was not and is still not NBA ready……just my humble opinion.

  6. Yeah, Bryant walks that line of being a great college player vs NBA potential… I don’t see the GM’s going nuts over him, but there’s a lot of season left to go. If there’s one thing we know, perimeter play wins in the NBA… big men are a second thought… and he isn’t Towns or Okafor. I think we’ll see him for a while, and I’m thrilled!

    Btw, Brady is not only the best QB ever but also a bastion of human decency.

  7. Lets not kid ourselves. After tonight’s game, some site will update their NBA 1st round projections to indicate that Bryant is in the top 25 picks.

    We all know that he is going to be a solid NBA player some day based on the ability he has shown.

    It all comes down to how wise is he; how good is his judgment. If he stays two years AND he improves over that time and works on his weaknesses, he could be a top 5 pick and an impact player as a rookie.

    Glad to have him for a year. I continue to believe that he will show flashes of brilliance (as tonight) but he will struggle just as often. Year two (if we get it), total domination.

  8. Chet – most people only care about headlines and not facts. Any informed person knows Brady is beyond reproach. btw, love ya man.

    Spanky – what skill does, talent, athletic absurdity, does Bryant have that makes him a top-25 pick?

    He is athletic, but not superbly athletic. He is big, but not massive. He can shoot, but he isn’t Dirk. He’s 6’10” not 7’2″… Tough to be a energy, low-post guy if you’re his size. He needs to improve significantly before it’s a first round attraction.

  9. Just saw the game on replay. Nice win. This isn’t a great Creighton team, but last year we would have played them with kid gloves. They went after them hard tonight and the game was under control.

    BTW, two cheers for the shortened shot clock. Watching a bunch of games this year, I like the pace of play a lot. For IU, I’ve notice we don’t throw it around the perimeter endlessly in that lame weave in the half court until 9 ticks anymore. Our offense attacks much more and TB is so key to making that work.

    Unlike you fellas, I am concerned about our bench. The talent is there, but when Bryant comes out, we get really small. MSU, Wisc, Purdue are just going to throw Redwood Tree Trunks at us all night in league play. I think we match up well against OSU and Maryland.

    It is going to be an interesting season. Great win and fun game to watch tonight.

  10. DD – I always respect your opinion, but I’m confused by this last post… MSU and UW do not have tree trunks this year. In fact, neither has an upper classman bigger than 6’8″… Neither has more than one player over 6’9″… Zach is wiley enough to play some C.

    Ask the GS Warriors how important it is to have a lot of really talented bigs… we have a model to work from.

  11. MSU has Costello and Davis at 6’9″ and 6’10”.

    Re: UW, starters Hayes, Brown & Happ are all 6’9″ (first two listed at 6’8″ or 6’9″ in different places).

    I watch a lot of Warriors hoops here in the Bay Area and they have a good rotation of big fellas. Bogut, Ezeli and Speights are clocking over 20 min/game each. But, tonight all those guys sucked. Warriors looked great when they went small.

    The Warriors can make it work, but last year, the Hoosiers really struggled when we went small. I’m dubious until proven otherwise.

  12. Sure glad TB chose IU. If the new S&C Coach is worth anything this time next year Bryant will have lost that 7-8 lb. of baby fat and add 10-11 lb. more muscle, more speed and inches to his vertical. Not only does he have the BB talent but he has upperclassman awareness on the O and D. I’m with Geoff he makes good decisions away from the post.

    I don’t know what you do about Troy. If you try to slow him up offensively it may dull his explosiveness. But I am sure about 1 thing his TO’s will cost us some games.

    I kinda like the bench players and the chemistry of experience and youth. I think when we get in the tough games not having Holt’s versatility may be a challenge.

    PUke has bigs but they are going to have to show me they have the support on the perimeter and PG play to make the post performance as effective as it could be. Still we would not want to get into an attrition with bigs. POTMFB!!!

  13. I like seeing Bryant take his game outside from time to time. Even though he made only one 3, that helps to make him and the offense more versatile. I never understood why CTC didn’t do that with Cody when he was here. I’m not 100 percent positive, but I believe Cody shot a lot of 3s in high school. They coulda run some sets with him on the perimeter and Vic inside — just to mix things up. Who knows — if Cody steps out and pops a couple 3s, that could’ve helped bust that Syracuse zone that we were so scared of.

  14. Ever since the days of Danny Ferry at Duke I’ve been of the opinion that taking your singular dominant big man and putting him on the arc was an incredible waste. Does he shoot the three better than your perimeter players? No. Does he handle the ball well outside? No. Can your guards rebound as well as your big man? No.

    What’s the point of being 6’10” if you’re 22 feet from the rim?

    If your center is 6’6″ or 6’7″ and struggling to match up, sure, send him outside (if you’re facing man D). If your big man is the best on the floor keep him near the rim.

    As for Cody, I wouldn’t want him shooting threes but I would have liked to see him face up from the free trow line in. He passed up so many 12 footers against Syracuse it was crazy.

  15. BREAKING NEWS: Tom Crean just took “19 F’s” and made ?.

    Carry on….

    Dear Gary Parrish,
    When you’re living in a car, the last thing you care about is someone telling you that your daddy “sucks” at something. Get real, apologist.

  16. Yes, letting guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, Channing Frye, etc., play away from the basket is foolish.

  17. IU, mostly Thomas Bryant, played defense against Creighton. Very pleasing to the eye.

    Thomas Bryant was fun to watch. He was a spark plug and a cheerleader. Loved seeing him trying to get the crowd into it. He is going to be the difference maker for this group.

  18. does anyone else find it interesting how (even at this young point) Bryant has changed the culture of the team… He is clearly a very talented player, but I find him slightly less talented and versatile than Zeller… YET in 3 games he has already attempted 5 3-pointers… That’s 3 more than Cody (winner of his freshman Hoosier Hysteria 3-pt contest) attempted in his career… His energy is infectious and he is a literal force of nature that not even Crean can contain. It will be interesting to see how far HE brings this team.

  19. He doesn’t appear to lunge like Zeller…Plays more upright and it brings some quickness unexpected. And his fast decision-making with the ball is somewhat mesmerizing for a kid that looks rather awkward. I think his shot form from the outside looks superior to Zeller’s as well…The results may be less in a shoot-around contest, but I believe his form moves better with a body in transition during game action.
    Hope he develops a nice turn-around jumper/kiss off the glass shot. I was also impressed by his up and under move in the last game…I don’t believe I can remember Zeller even proving that minimal amount of craftiness. You are right, Geoff. He completely transforms this team into something far more dangerous ….His attitude and motor are unbelievable. This team may be special enough to live on the instincts and the coaching our new assistants. They may rise above Tom Crean’s ceiling.
    Then again, if it’s turnover madness and last in the conference at the defensive end again, the transformation is merely more of the same; talent unrealized.

  20. And contrary to some posts I recently read on Scoop, I have no problem with him jacking up outside shots when available in transition. If they begin to fall, it may be a wonderful weapon to pull out opposing bigs and allow for numerous open lanes a slashing Troy or our many athletic guards to quickly get to the rim and convert.

  21. I wonder if UCLA’s participation in the Maui Invitational will include a ScoopTalk reunion with Kartje?

    A possible championship game including Alford and Crean with respective follicle coverage from Kartje and Miller. ? Hair meets prayer meets a ton of faux flair!

  22. The game will also include a ceremonial first lei up from Luau Cinder……Wooden that be cool?

  23. To my untrained eye TB brings more to the game than Cody ever did and Noah is not even in the discussion. At times our collection of talented players seemed to sleepwalk through games. Cody was frequently praised for his dispassionate demeanor. No thanks.

    I’ll take TB all day long. He brings the emotion that this collection of players desperately needed and yet he stays in control. He’s fun to watch. I’m sure he’s fun to be on the court with.

    It’s still early but, to me, he’s the best big man we’ve had in a long, long time.

  24. I was at the Creighton game and totally agree with Chet and others’ assessments. It appears that we have a TEAM this year, not a group of talented individuals (though we ARE talented). And I think Bryant is the reason for this. I also think Yogi has improved tremendously in this regard. Yogi looked to be part of a TEAM and my favorite play was at the end of the first half when the play was called for Yogi to go one on one. Blackmon had the ball and had been hot but gave up the ball and ran to the corner as an outlet. He clearly accepted Yogi to score, and Yogi did, with ease. The way our TEAM ran off the court, including how evidently proud Crean was…that was really great to see and a difference from the past.

    Getting back to Thomas Bryant, the thing I like best about his is that he shoots to score. Zeller would at times throw the ball up hoping for the call, but Thomas Bryant puts the ball in the bucket.

    I’m getting pumped because there are some great games coming up and I think our TEAM can shoot its way out of any problems, including Thomas Bryant learning from Dirk and others that it’s OK to shoot from distance…with our team it’s not bad as we’ve got others to rebound if there is a miss.

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