PARADISE ISLAND, The Bahamas – IU impressed in the initial of two exhibition online games here in The Bahamas on Friday night, defeating Serbian aspect BC Mega 79-66.
Trayce Jackson-Davis led all gamers with 21 factors and nine rebounds, but he was hardly the only standout on an encouraging 1st glimpse at Mike Woodson’s crew. Here are three motives why:
Hoosiers combat it out
These types of points are intangible, of course, and for that reason difficult to quantify. But among the the most fundamental questions we could’ve questioned about Indiana likely into Friday’s match was how organized the Hoosiers would be to harmony their hustle with their comfort in Mike Woodson’s technique.
By their own admission, Woodson’s ideas have taken some time to absorb, unsurprising offered he’s probably released some rather innovative concepts this summertime. Was IU going to be in a position — against a qualified outfit with a potential lottery select and a lot of knowledge in opposition to school opposition — to enjoy tricky and clever at the exact time.
That question acquired an early and emphatic solution.
The Hoosiers outworked Mega at the two ends of the flooring. On protection, they battled a dimension drawback with challenging close-outs and very good function on the boards. When they rebounded, they ran, as promised, and the Serbian aspect struggled to continue to keep up in changeover.
That the recreation was performed according to college regulations, with Large Ten referees, most likely benefited the Hoosiers. It clearly took Mega time to adjust to a tighter whistle and much less permitted get hold of. But none of that had to do with get the job done ethic. Indiana executed that quick-paced offense with out as well many faults (only 6 to start with-fifty percent turnovers), and the predicted faces paced the Hoosiers early on. Freshman guard Tamar Bates was particularly spectacular, never ever wanting out of spot on a court docket crowded by expert higher education gamers and latest execs.
A late-50 % dip aside, Indiana’s 41-32 halftime direct was comprehensively deserved.
Protection on point
It was apparent Woodson experienced new directions in mind defensively when, in the course of a Zoom news conference in the early months of his tenure, he replied to a problem about Indiana’s chosen pack-line protection below Archie Miller by inquiring what it was.
On early evidence, Woodson is likely rather straight guy-to-gentleman. It looked fantastic in its to start with examination Friday night time.
Experiencing a crew with a resolved size benefit, IU countered with terrific action. Mega tried to engage in heavy on the ball, pressuring each individual display and handoff. But Indiana had far more success in outcomes, forcing 27 turnovers and scoring 34 factors from them.
There could possibly not have been a extra suitable statistic by the end of the game, equally for the real gap in points and also what it signified. Indiana punished Mega’s laziness in transition, stayed lively in half-court docket defense and created a lot of prospects to operate at the tempo Woodson envisions. Only when BC was ready to restrict giveaways and pressure the Hoosiers into additional fifty percent-court offense did the website visitors have sustained accomplishment defending Indiana.
As with so much, we’re dealing with an great sample dimensions difficulty below. But on first proof, Indiana is responding to Woodson’s obstacle — and his solutions — on protection.
New-glance backcourt acquits by itself effectively
Woodson put in the spring and summer season overhauling his guard rotation in the wake of Armaan Franklin’s departure.
Parker Stewart settled in right after expending the back again 50 percent of final season on the sideline. Xavier Johnson transferred in from Pitt. Tamar Bates, a a person-time Texas signee, reopened his recruitment when Shaka Wise remaining for Marquette and wound up joining IU.
Blending them with returners Rob Phinisee, Khristian Lander, Trey Galloway and Anthony Leal was amongst Woodson’s finest summer months worries, given the worth of guard perform to his scheme. And that designed Mega an best early opponent — the Serbian side would be bodily, athletic and professional enough to obstacle these guards at each finishes of the ground.
Leal sat out owing to damage, but the rest of Woodson’s initial backcourt seemed very good.
Phinisee, who struggled nearly throughout the board previous winter, looked as assertive on the travel and as bodily on defense as he ever has. Johnson provided the exact same innovative spark that made him a standout at Pitt, despite foul hassle. Stewart hit hard pictures. Galloway and Lander gave reliable minutes off the bench.
Bates was probably the star, scoring 14 points and looking each individual inch the borderline 5-star recruit he was billed coming to Bloomington from IMG Academy. He got IU admirers out of their seats far more than at the time.
There will be harder times to occur, of program. Which is real of all observations just after an exhibition. But that new-look backcourt was a lot more than ample to the undertaking Friday night time, a deeply encouraging sign for Woodson forward of the season to occur.
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter for updates from The Bahamas: @ZachOsterman.