Indiana opened the 2022-23 season with a comfortable 88-53 win over Morehead State on Monday at Assembly Hall.
Here are five takeaways from the exhibition win over the Eagles:
Indiana’s frontcourt dominates
Indiana has one of the best frontcourts in the Big Ten and had no trouble dominating in the paint on Monday night.
The Hoosiers outshot Morehead State 52-18 in the paint and shot 66.7 percent over 2s. It was also a well-balanced effort.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, who continues to wear a shawl on her right wrist, had 15 points in 23 minutes. Freshman Malik Reneau, who is not playing like a newcomer, also added 15 points. Jordan Geronimo was third in double-digit frontcourt with 10 points while Race Thompson added nine points.
Indiana’s frontcourt won’t be contested for a week from Friday at Xavier, but the Hoosiers are looking to have the depth to compete with any opponent on the schedule.
3-point volume remains low in the door opener
Last season, Indiana ranked just 324th nationally in point distribution from 3-pointers.
Monday’s season opener saw Indiana go for just 11 3-pointers, which was brought to Mike Woodson’s attention in his postgame press conference.
“Make no mistake, our strength – and it’s not a blow against them – we were a bigger team,” Woodson explained after the game. “Our strength is playing backwards. I mean, it’s no secret. I’m not trying to hide it.”
Indiana is unlikely to turn into a team that hoists a lot of 3-pointers, but the Hoosiers need to be able to do the clean look they get more regularly than a season ago.
On Monday, Indiana connected on four of its 11 looks from range with three different players making a triple. Miller Kopp made both of his attempts, Race Thompson went 1 of 3 and Tamar Bates went 1 of 3.
Free throw shooting worries Woodson
While Woodson said he wasn’t bothered by Indiana taking just 11 3-pointers, porous free throw shooting was another story for Indiana’s second-year head coach. .
The Hoosiers shot just 12 of 21 from the line in Monday’s win, a mark of 57.1%. Last season, Indiana ranked 233rd nationally in free throw percentage.
There’s plenty of time for Indiana to improve from the boards, but Woodson repeated that it “bothers him” that his team is missing free throws.
The numbers from both shows and the regular season opener suggest Woodson has reason to be concerned. In its first 120 minutes of basketball this season, Indiana is just 29 of 48 from the free throw line (60.4%).
Indiana dominates defensively in the final 31 minutes
Morehead State followed Indiana’s pace for the first 10:43, but the Hoosiers put down defensively in the final 31 minutes of the game.
Indiana allowed just 53 points in its lopsided victory and Morehead State scored just 0.74 points per possession.
The Hoosiers defended flawlessly, didn’t allow many runs in the paint and forced a high volume of turnovers.
Indiana only committed 12 fouls including four on Reneau. Morehead State took just 24 2-point attempts to 30 3-point attempts. It showed how uncomfortable the Eagles were trying to get into the paint against Indiana’s length and athleticism. And 21 turnovers at Morehead State turned into 29 points for Indiana.
Big trouble limits Xavier Johnson’s minutes
It was mostly a night to forget for Xavier Johnson on Monday.
Johnson picked up his second foul at 9:17 of the first half, which forced him to sit on the bench. With Johnson at fault, Jalen Hood-Schifino led the second unit point guard for much of the night and recorded 27 minutes.
“A lot of it was because X had some foul trouble,” Woodson said. “In the St. Francis and Marion game, X wore the second unit blunt. I kind of want X with the second unit because he’s been around a lot longer than Fino.
“I think he can lead our ball club, so the fact that he had some foul trouble early on, you know, it gave Fino a chance to play more minutes with the second unit, which he can play with any unit. Both can.
Johnson finished with four points, three assists, two turnovers, a rebound and a steal in 20 minutes.
Filed to: Malik Reneau, Morehead State Eagles, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Xavier Johnson
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