Heading into the Hoosiers matchup with the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, the question still persisted on plenty of Hoosier fans minds… will we find our shooting range this year. The season has started better than last season, but with last season’s perimeter shooting being almost absent entirely, it only stood to get better.
Indiana started this one slower than Hoosier fans would have liked for sure, but the Hoosiers rectified that coming out to a 15-0 run at the TV timeout. The best part of it all, THE SHOTS WERE FINALLY FALLING! Jordan, Trey, Tamar! 3 pointers were being taken and 3s were being drained! Miller Kopp was being an absolute sniper from deep.
While I usually write these and highlight the 2 or 3 guys who played pivotal roles in the game. I need to warn you, I am shot gun blasting this one, because each guy showed up tonight and delivered an absolutely inspired performance. This Indiana team tonight shot lights out! 10-24 behind the arc, and 34-58 for the night. What an incredible night for the Hoosiers, who desperately needed a shooting confidence builder like this to kickstart this seasons hunt for Banner #6.
Defensively as a unit the Hoosiers started slower, allowing Bethune-Cookman to hang with them until the first media timeout of the game. Out of that break the Hoosiers put the clamps down and played some appropriately dominant defense. Xavier highlighted it by being an absolute demon guarding the Wildcat backcourt. The Hoosier defense didn’t bend once following that initial run by Bethune. Just a great defensive performance all around. Holding Bethune to 20-51 FG is nothing to scoff at, even if it was Bethune.
It was great to see Trayce be announced as Katz’s top player in the B1G earlier this week. I know it ultimately means nothing, but I love to see the Hoosiers in the national spotlight. Trayce was quick to get his night going against the Wildcats. He was impossible for the Wildcat defense to stop as he made his stat line, 21 pts, 6 rebs, just look easy. He truly looked like an All-American tonight. Just a performance to be expected from our captain. Incredible we still get this guy.
Xavier Johnson didn’t produce many points in this one, but he didn’t have to! He played some nightmarish defense and sank the only 3 pointer he took on the night. The primary ballhandler issue hasn’t seemed to rear its ugly head between him and Jalen. That speaks volumes to both those guys and what Mike Woodson has these guys buying into.
Jalen Hood Schifino was slow in the first half. After taking 4 shots in that first half, he was unable to convert. While his shots weren’t falling. He was still distributing the ball very well and was finding the open man in transition far better than any freshman has any business doing so. He ended the game with his personal best 8 assists.
Malik Reneau immediately came on the floor and pivoted a double team to death to get his night started down low. He had yet another banner day for your big man off the bench. Malik sank his lone three of the night, ending with 4-6FG for 9 pts, 4 rebs, and 2 assists. Just another night showing how lucky we are to have this young man fueling our rotational depth.
As for Jordan Geronimo, this guy is showing that he is bringing a new game to the floor this season. Coming off the bench and draining the long three is Jordan showing off a new layer to his game. The pure athleticism has had Indiana salivating for what his game could become. I think we may get it on full display this season. He ended up with an impressive 4 for 5 from the field with 4 rebounds.
Trey Galloway is a monster on the defensive side of the ball. He is an absolute surgeon in transition. The biggest question in his game was the shooting. But tonight Trey showed off some range and looked to be running the floor better than ever. After shooting IU’s lowest percentage beyond the arc last season, Trey seems to have addressed this a bit. Showing a smoother release with a more focused release point. His shot does look a bit different, good to see his hard work is paying off!
Tamar got in on the 3 point party in what was the greatest shooting night in some time for Hoosier fans. Just phenomenal to see. What was our most glaring weakness from last season, may have been addressed. I know it is one game, but now we know what they are capable of, hopefully this game went a long way in building that shooting confidence.
Love seeing CJ Gunn get in and get his time. Once he got time to hit the floor he immediately had a block, steal, to a cold blooded transition 3. This kid is something special. I can’t wait to see the player he can become in this revitalized Hoosier Program. (Slapping backboards is dope. Get the dump out of your pants NCAA).
It was great to come across a zone defense. A zone defense allows for threes to be taken. This was the Hoosiers’ opportunity to get some shots off and they most certainly did. The Hoosiers found the 3 pointer tonight in a great all business victory over the Wildcats. I’m too excited watching this Indiana team. I cannot wait for our first true test against Xavier next Friday. Feel good about this one Hoosier fans! That was a great win, by a great team.
The depth of this Indiana team is absolutely unreal. It allows them to consistently come out of breaks with fresh legs and a sense of energy I don’t think many teams will be able to match 9 or 10 men deep. It’s defense and depth that make for championship teams. I think we have got that in spades this season.
Thank you for taking the time to read these short thoughts of an Indiana Hoosier fanboy.
Down with Xavier U
LUX ET VERITAS!