The Indiana Hoosiers faced their first ranked opponent of the season as the #22 SMU Mustangs came to town. After only two games IU is ranked 2nd overall in field goal percentage (61%) and 3rd overall in points per game (99.5). The Hoosiers entered the game undefeated after winning two home games against Texas Southern on Monday night and Mississippi Valley State University last Friday. They would be facing their toughest test so far this season against the Mustangs
The first half started slowly for IU, trailing 22-10 early on. After coach Tom Crean called a timeout the Hoosiers seemed to get on a roll, cutting into the deficit and eventually taking the lead. Despite only shooting 34% (11-32) in the first half Indiana led 38-33. Indiana’s effort to find the open man was the key factor in keeping them in the game. They shot 7/19 from the three-point line. The Hoosiers also benefited from the turnover battle in the first 20 minutes, only giving the ball up 4 times compared to SMU’s 11.
James Blackmon Jr. continued the terrific start to his freshman year, collecting 14 points and 5 rebounds in the half. Blackmon kept his defender guessing with an array of drives and step-backs. He also proved he is ready for the next step with his great off-the-ball movement. Yogi Ferrell continues to be a leader for this young Hoosier team, scoring 10 points and 3 assists. The physical presence that junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea brought on Monday night was lacking fictional. He failed to score any points or collect a rebound. Troy Williams came back from his suspension and scored 8 points off the bench.
The Mustangs came out hot in the first half, opening it up with a 14-4 run and gained the lead 47-42. The Hoosiers, however, kept the game within reach, and with the help of some small runs they were able to regain the lead with 8 minutes left in the game. SMU came within 3 but couldn’t close the gap, losing 74-68. Blackmon finished the game with 26 points and 7 rebounds. Yogi had 13 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Hanner only scored 3 points by the end of the game.
Looking at the stats, IU was outplayed and outmanned in the post, but they were living by the three, shooting 12-33 from beyond the arc. Whether this was the game plan or not it paid off, and Tom Crean should receive credit for realizing his team was going to be punished physically if they tried to play the game inside. IU only scored 18 total points from inside the arc and was outrebounded 40-27. With the lack of any physicality it could be a long season for the Hoosiers.
For a team that came in ranked so highly in field goal percentage, it was a sloppy night. The Hoosiers wound up shooting only 36% (21-58) for the game. SMU shot 60% in the second half and 54% for the game (29-51). IU made it to the line 25 times and converted 20 of their free throws, while SMU was 5-10. Outside of the turnovers and free throws, IU lost this game in every other facet and should take this win with a grain sack of salt, because if they play like this they will eventually die by the three.