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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 9:10 pm

Indiana 87, Arkansas State 70

IU pulls away from Arkansas State

PETE DIPRIMIO | For The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON – Victory doesn’t breed rest.

Not for Indiana.

Not with this hectic basketball tourney run.

The Hoosiers’ 87-70 win over Arkansas State Wednesday night means a Hoosier Tip-off Classic title comes down to one last game, Friday against Eastern Michigan (4-0).

So Thanksgiving will be celebrated in efficiency first, then camaraderie. A couple of morning film sessions (one to review Wednesday, one to study Eastern Michigan), an afternoon workout and then it’s time to eat.

“Thanksgiving will take place with our staff, players and families’” coach Archie Miller said. “You try to enjoy it as much as you can, and then wake up on Friday to be ready to go for an afternoon game and a quick turnaround.”

Forward Juwan Morgan is finding his dominating range. He totaled a career-high 28 points – 10 more than ever before -- and eight rebounds to follow the 15-point, 10-rebound effort he had three nights early against South Florida. He was 8 for 10 from the field, and has made 19 of his last 20 free throws, including all 10 on Wednesday.

Guard Robert Johnson had eight of his 10 points in the second half and added eight rebounds.

The Hoosiers also got 12 points from guard Devonte Green and 10 points and six rebounds from center DeRon Davis.

IU (3-2) looked to build on the second-half momentum from Sunday's win over South Florida. It didn’t happen early. Arkansas State pushed ahead 16-12.

Then Morgan, Green and Josh Newkirk jump-started a 15-5 Hoosiers' surge. Shooting improved from 33 percent to 53 percent. With three minutes left in the first half, IU led by 10. By halftime, the Hoosiers were up 47-33.

Morgan (15 points) and Green (11) were the offensive catalysts. Freddie McSwain had eight rebounds.

That left a key question – could the Hoosiers sustain their level? The early answer was no. IU committed two quick turnovers and gave up a basket in the first minute.

Arkansas State stayed within striking distance at 55-45 with 15:11 left thanks to the solid shooting of senior guard Deven Simms, who finished with a team-best 21 points.

With 14 minutes left, the Red Wolves got within six at 55-49. A less-than-capacity Assembly Hall crowd grew restless. Two minutes later, the score was 57-52. Then it was 59-56.

The Red Wolves continued attacking the basket, and the Hoosiers continued to struggle to stop it.

Davis’ three-point play pushed IU ahead by six. Forward Justin Smith’s fade-away jumper made it 70-62 with 6:29 left.

The Hoosiers ratcheted up their defense, then did their own basket-attacking. They led 71-62 and had three straight possessions to extend the lead back to double digits. 

They couldn’t do it.

Finally, Johnson drove for a layup and a 73-62 advantage with 4:04 left. Thirty seconds later, Johnson hit a 3-pointer after missing his first five.

Arkansas State was finished. 

IU has less than 48 hours to prepare before facing an Eastern Michigan team led by 6-foot-9 forward Elijah Minnie (18 points, 5.3 rebounds).